Tavis Smiley fought the battle and lost the war. A jury found the former PBS host did indeed violate the morals clause of his contract with multiple instances of sexual misconduct.
You may recall, Tavis sued PBS claiming they trumped-up allegations of sexual misconduct as a means to cancel his show.
PBS, in turn, countersued Tavis claiming his multiple affairs with subordinates violated constituted a breach of contract.
The jury began deliberating on Monday, and issued its verdict in favor of PBS on Wednesday morning. PBS will be awarded at least $1.5 million. The D.C. Superior Court judge will have to determine the total amount of damages.
“We are pleased with the jury’s decision,” a PBS spokesperson said in a statement. “PBS expects our producing partners to provide a workplace where people feel safe and are treated with dignity and respect. It was important for us to ensure that the courageous women who came forward were able to share their stories and that we continue to uphold the values and standards of our organization.”
The jurors heard evidence over the last three weeks, including deposition videos of six women who accused Smiley of misconduct. One woman who accused Smiley of sexual harassment left the show and received a $325,000 settlement.
PBS alleged that Smiley’s conduct posed a clear breach of his morals clause. After receiving a complaint in November 2017, the network hired an investigation firm. The network suspended the show in December 2017.
After his affairs were made public, Tavis Smiley appeared on “Good Morning America” and said nothing in his contract forbade him from getting busy with his staff.
He has not commented on today’s ruling.
The D.C. Superior Court judge will ultimately determine the total amount of damages.