#MeToo + race + PBS = circular firing squad on the left
Pillars of the left are tearing themselves apart before our eyes, locked in what looks like a steel cage death match. Charlie Rose, Garrison Keillor, and other taxpayer-subsidized lefties have slunk away, but they didn't have a race card to play, being rich old white guys – the least politically correct demographic slice of America. Former PBS nighttime fixture Tavis Smiley, on the other hand, is accustomed to playing the race card and is not taking his "indefinite suspension" on sexual harassment claims last December lying down – after an investigation by an outside law firm. He is challenging it in court and blaming racism at PBS.
Smiley at a Center for American Progress Action Fund event in 2017.
Anita Bennett of Entertainment Daily writes:
Tavis Smiley is taking PBS to court for showing him the door.
The talk show host slapped the Public Broadcasting Service with a lawsuit Tuesday in Washington, D.C. for pulling the plug on his show last year over sexual harassment allegations.
In court papers obtained by The Wrap, Tavis – who is African American – suggested race played a role in his firing.
"PBS harassed Mr. Smiley about inviting controversial African American figures on to his show. However, when Mr. Smiley brought equally controversial (if not more so) white figures, PBS remained silent," the lawsuit stated. "This was not an isolated incident but happened multiple times during the fourteen years PBS and [TS Media] were in business together."
Smiley is contending that PBS wanted to get rid of him because of racism and conducted an inadequate investigation, using the harassment claims as an excuse.
"With the relationship already having deteriorated, this allegation gave PBS executives a pretext to finally rid themselves of Mr. Smiley who was not the 'team player' type of African American personality PBS preferred to have hosting a nightly national news and public affairs program," the suit states.
The lawsuit also alleges that PBS failed to give Tavis time to respond to the accusations before yanking his show.
"In fact, PBS had no intention of providing Mr. Smiley with an opportunity to defend himself because it had already decided that this allegation provided a perfect opportunity to rid itself of its tense relationship with TSM and Mr. Smiley," the court papers said.
Discovery will be the key, assuming that the suit is not settled or thrown out of court. Smiley's legal team will have the opportunity to comb through emails, text messages, and other media in which people frequently express themselves with little caution.
For obsessive political junkies like me, few quiet pleasures exceed the satisfaction generated by watching one's political enemies destroy each other in internecine war. Sure, the thrill of an unexpected triumph like President Trump's election night in 2016 or the 1994 GOP capture of a House majority amps up the adrenaline more and can provide enduring advantage. Nevertheless, there is a distinctive and almost equal validation to be had when the obvious flaws and fault lines of the opposition manifest themselves and refuse to go away.
Right now, the wave of firings and suspensions rocking public broadcasting in both its radio and television incarnations is troubling the left and empowering President Trump's move to defund PBS and NPR, leftist bastions that should not receive a dime of our money.