Tavis Smiley Announces New TV Deal and 5-City Tour on ‘What Is Acceptable’ in the Workplace

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

After being unceremoniously canceled by PBS in December amid sexual-misconduct allegations, author and talk show host Tavis Smiley announced in a video and press release on Facebook Monday that he is going to debut a new inspirational show online and on the Word Network, which also features programs by Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer and others.


The show, a weekly online series called The Upside With Tavis Smiley, will celebrate “the resilience and the power to overcome” and debut later in 2018. It will also air on the Word Network, “one of the world’s largest non-secular television networks, available in over 200 countries and reaching nearly 93 million homes in the U.S. alone,” according to his Facebook post. In addition, Smiley announced an international distribution deal; a new book, Leading by Listening, set to drop later in the year; and a five-city tour to facilitate a “national conversation” on appropriate workplace behavior.

“I know I said weeks ago that we needed to have a national conversation about these issues of men and women in the workplace, and where the lines are, and what is acceptable office protocol,” Smiley said. “The polling is everywhere about what men think and what women think about what is acceptable in the workplace. We’re going to Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and L.A. to open up a democratic space where we can have this free and open to the public conversation about where the lines are with men and women in the workplace.”

Smiley added that these public conversations will be posted to his Facebook page “to continue the conversation online.”

Smiley has been, in a word, defiant about what he believes is PBS’ mistaken decision to terminate The Tavis Smiley Show, which ran for 14 seasons on the network.

As reported earlier by The Root, Smiley spoke to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson shortly after the incident and said in so many words that since so many of us work inordinate hours, work is as good a place as any to meet folks (never mind that the issue PBS reportedly had was that he had sexual relationships with his subordinates, some of whom apparently felt like if they refused, they would no longer have a job—which is the textbook definition of coercion).


He also parsed the words of the employee handbook:

In my employee handbook we do not encourage interoffice relationships, but we don’t forbid it, either, because I don’t know how things are going to turn out in your life, and you start hanging out with our company, I don’t know who you’re going to meet. And let’s face it—nobody’s working 40-hour weeks anymore. We are working 40-, 50-, 70-, 80-hour weeks. Where else are you going to meet people in this business?


Right—so one can only assume that this World What-Exactly-Constitutes-Harassment-in-the-Workplace Tour will certainly be from Smiley’s perspective.

Regardless, it looks like we’ll be seeing lots more of this guy, if not on the Word Network, then on his Facebook page.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.



and a five city tour, to facilitate a “national conversation” on appropriate workplace behavior.

This dude got an equal helping of balls and gall. They should really just rename the tour the “What Had Happen Was.../Bitches Be Trippin’” tour.