The AT&T Performing Arts Center announced the lineup for its next season of #hearhere lectures a few weeks ago, but there's already a major change to the schedule. Tavis Smiley's "Death of a King" multimedia presentation, scheduled for Feb. 25, has been removed from the lineup amid claims of sexual misconduct.
"The project's producer Mills Entertainment said due to the allegations concerning Mr. Smiley, the national tour would not be moving forward at this time," reads a statement released by ATTPAC.
Tavis Smiley, an author, talk show host and radio personality, has worked for BET, NPR, PBS and others since the early '90s. In 2014, he published Death of a King, which documents the last year of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life.
Earlier this year, Smiley announced a multimedia stage adaptation of the book that would tour 40 cities in 2018 and feature narration by Smiley, music by pianist Marcus Roberts and footage of King. The tour was intended to mark the 50th anniversary of King's assassination in 1968.
But now the tour, which was to begin in Brooklyn in just a few weeks, has been shelved because of allegations that emerged against Smiley last week. PBS said it had received a complaint, conducted an investigation and decided to cease distribution of The Tavis Smiley Show.
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"The totality of the investigation, which included Mr. Smiley, revealed a pattern of multiple relationships with subordinates over many years, and other conduct inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS," the company's statement read.
Smiley has publicly denied wrongdoing, making an appearance on Good Morning America to say that he is guilty of nothing more than "having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago."
Tickets to AT&T Performing Arts Center's #hearhere series are only available in season passes. ATTPAC has determined an individual ticket price for the Death of a King event and will refund season ticket holders that amount.
Six other #hearhere lectures, by Steve Wozniak, Rita Moreno, Rob Lowe, Bill Murray & Friends, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ira Glass, will take place as planned.