Tavis Smiley defiantly rejected charges of sexual misconduct Wednesday, after PBS announced that he had been investigated and terminated his show.
Smiley not only denied mistreating any of the women with whom he worked, but also claimed PBS never informed him he was being investigated until he threatened the network with a lawsuit; never told him who his accusers were; and never interviewed his current colleagues to testify to his character.
Worse, he said, “Almost immediately following the meeting [with PBS investigators], this story broke in Variety as an ‘exclusive.’ Indeed, I learned more about these allegations reading the Variety story than the PBS investigator shared with me, the accused, in our 3 hour face to face meeting.”
What Smiley experienced is exactly the sort of kangaroo court process that students have been experiencing on college campuses for the last few years.
President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos ended that policy in September, outlining new rules that grant due process to students accused of sexual misconduct while still protecting the safety and dignity of victims. But the Obama-era rules persist in several states, where they were codified into law by overzealous Democrats.
It is impossible to dismiss the accusations against Smiley without knowing the facts. Regardless, he has likely been a victim of an unfair process. He warns that in the rush to protect women (and men) from abusers, we risk criminalizing legitimate relationships between consenting adults.
The media ridiculed conservatives for that argument, but might have to pay attention to a respected voice on the left. The #metoo movement may finally have reached a reckoning.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.