Former PBS star Tavis Smiley, who had his show dropped by the broadcaster amid allegations of sexual misconduct by Smiley, lost a round in court as he pursues a lawsuit against PBS.
Smiley “can’t force PBS to turn over documents related to every romantic relationship a network supervisor has had with a subordinate since the early aughts, a judge has ruled,” The Hollywood Reporter’s THR, Esq., reports.
After Smiley sued PBS in February, PBS countersued claiming Smiley had violated the morals clause in his contract, THR notes. PBS is seeking to reclaim close to $2 million it paid him.
“A D.C. judge on Thursday denied Smiley’s request for a motion to compel PBS to hand over certain documents as part of a discovery request the network challenged as overbroad,” THR reports. “In its opposition, PBS argued that he was requesting documents that dated back more than a decade and weren’t relevant to the contract issues at hand, including the network’s sexual harassment policies since 2000 and any records of PBS managers having a relationship with a subordinate and the resulting disciplinary actions, if there were any.”
In his ruling, Judge Anthony Epstein wrote: “TSM is not entitled to conduct a fishing expedition concerning all romantic or personal relationships between superiors and subordinates within PBS or within companies with which PBS did business. However, if TSM has information that PBS tolerated behavior inside PBS or within one or more of its partners that is comparable to the behavior in which Mr. Smiley is alleged to have engaged, or if other discovery in this case shows that PBS compared Mr. Smiley’s conduct with conduct of other people with whom it did business, targeted discovery may be appropriate.”