PBS: It"s the favorite network of grandmas, toddlers, and smart people. Because the "60s, the constantly curious and commercial-free (unless you counting pledge drives) company has brought high-quality entertainment and informational programming into millions that homes. Also if you"re among the three people who didn"t catch Downton Abbey fever, there"s something for everyone on PBS: The oldsters love the literature adaptations, generations grew up with Sesame Street and also Mister Rogers" Neighborhood, and science teachers throughout the land have taped numerous Nova illustration to present in course the following day. PBS is a vital TV institution, even earlier when the medium was taken into consideration a "vast wasteland." 

The staid and respectable broadcaster is also a scandal magnet. Perhaps it"s due to the fact that it receives its capital not from advertisers however from government programs and also viewer donations, for this reason it"s subject to much more scrutiny, or perhaps it"s because it"s so associated with children"s TV that culture wants and needs to keep it pure. Regardless of why, PBS has found itself deep in controversial region on numerous occasions.

You are watching: Did one of the keno brothers die

Emma Mcintyre/Getty Images
In the wake of the ancestry boom the made spitting DNA right into a mail-order tube a significant fad, PBS debuted Finding her Roots. Guided by Harvard history professor Henry louis Gates, the series helped celebrities learn about their ancestors. That"s specifically what the show"s research team did for unique guest Ben Affleck in 2014, yet the big-screen Batman didn"t treatment for what they found. 

As revealed in a enormous hack that Sony emails published by WikiLeaks, Affleck successfully encouraged Finding her Roots producers to edit out some potentially embarrassing material. "Here"s mine dilemma," gates wrote come Sony executive, management Michael Lynton, "Confidentially, for the an initial time, one of our guests has actually asked united state to modify our something about one that his ancestors—the fact that he own slaves." Uh-oh. Gateways goes on come say the excising content "would it is in a violation the PBS rules." as soon as the episode did air, there to be no point out of Affleck"s slaveholding relatives. 

After the email leaked, a PBS internal investigation figured out that Finding her Roots producers had permitted Affleck to use "improper influence" over them. Entrances later spoke v the Los angles Times and also expressed "regret not discussing editing and enhancing rationale with our partner at PBS" and for putting the broadcaster "and its member train station in the position of having actually to defend the verity of their programming." PBS delayed the debut of Finding your Roots" 3rd season and also pulled the Affleck episode from circulation.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Starting in 2017, the "Me Too" and "Time"s Up" movements rocked every sectors of the media. Women (and some men) began speaking the end en masse out around the sexual assault, sex-related harassment, and egregiously sexist behavior they"ve competent in the rectal at the hand of powerful men. One by one, dozens of powerful men were ousted from Hollywood (and/or faced legal action), including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Louis C.K. 

This social revolution in the making also brought under journalists, including CBS This Morning host and also veteran PBS talk present personality Charlie Rose. In November 2017, the Washington Post published the accounts of eight women who accused increased of sex-related harassment and also worse, alleging groping, explicit phone call calls, and walking about nude. The following day, CBS fired Rose and also PBS adhered to suit, mirroring the host the door and cancelling The Charlie rose Show, a network staple due to the fact that 1991.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Sometime in 2017, PBS released an interior investigation into allegations that received regarding sexual misconduct by Tavis Smiley, host of the eponymous late-night talk show Tavis Smiley. After recognize those cases "credible," the broadcaster "indefinitely suspended distribution" of Tavis Smiley, it claimed in a December 2017 statement. In other words, they cancelled it, and also in January 2018, Smiley sued PBS, alleging breach of contract and also damage caused to his production company, and also that his firing was racially motivated. According to his suit, he stated the misconduct charges stood for "a pretext to finally rid themselves" that the host, since he "was not the "team player" type of African-American personality PBS wanted to have hosting a nightly nationwide news and public work program." two months later, PBS filed a countersuit against Smiley, spilling the details of allegations versus Smiley while also seeking $1.9 million in changed salary since the hold violated PBS"s ethical clause.


The sweet and gentle PBS Kids series Arthur, based upon Marc Brown"s books, pertains to the life of one 8-year-old aardvark, his family, and his pet friends, teaching young viewers to navigate life v respect for themselves and other people. It was to that finish in 2019 the Arthur aired the episode "Mr. Ratburn and the special Someone." 

The plot: Arthur and also his friends uncover that their teacher, Mr. Ratburn, gained engaged. Weirded out by the id of your teacher having a private, an individual life exterior of school, lock spy on him and see him have actually lunch through a woman who picks on him. The youngsters assume this average lady is the fiancée, and they collection out to prevent the wedding. Document scratch—that mrs is Mr. Ratburn"s sister, and he"s in reality marrying a sweet male named Patrick. 

The news the Mr. Ratburn is gay doesn"t faze the children one bit, but it did uncomfortable the operators of PBS affiliate Alabama windy Television—the channel refuse to waiting "Mr. Ratburn and also the one-of-a-kind Someone." follow to programming manager Mike Mckenzie, the illustration didn"t match up v the organization"s target to "provide children"s programs the entertain, educate, and also inspire." This isn"t the first time APT take it umbrage through the ArthurVerse"s message of inclusivity. Ago in 2005, that wouldn"t wait an episode of spin-off Postcards from Buster, since it illustrated a child with 2 moms.


Katy Perry"s lyrical contents is an extremely of the now, frequently humorous, sex-positive, and feminist. Yet the singer"s look, because that the bulk of she career, came right out the the 1940s. Perry favored brightly-colored outfits the were simply a small bit provocative, flirty but not trashy, showing off a little leg or cleavage yet not too much. She showed up because that a 2010 appearance on Sesame Street in a typical Katy Perry ensemble: a eco-friendly dress the went down to her knees. Apparently some viewers believed the outfit was an ext fit for streetwalking 보다 Sesame Street. 

Perry shoot a video for a reworked version of she hit "Hot N Cold," around how she can"t number out how Elmo periodically wants to play with her (like dress-up, i m sorry she points out is why she"s wearing her environment-friendly dress, along with a bridal veil) and sometimes he flakes out. The segment leaked to YouTube in September 2010, 3 months ahead of its booked TV debut, wherein in just a couple of days that racked up practically a million hits and also 6,000 comments. A the majority of those messages were extremely not-positive. "Thank girlfriend for speeding up the puberty process," wrote one unhappy customer. "You can practically see she ," said another. Sesame Street"s producers chose to leave the clip online, however to no air that on TV.

In between starring in Roots in the so late "70s and also Star Trek: The next Generation in the late "80s, LeVar Burton starred in one more important show: PBS"s Reading Rainbow. Burton organized the show, filming interstitial segments where he"d visit cool places and interview world with exciting jobs, throwing to real children reviewing books and also narrators reading books aloud come viewers. The really placed the "fun" in fundamental, and also showed that reading was cool, just to earn an unceremonious cancellation in 2009. Neither PBS, nor the show"s allude of origin, affiliate WNED in Buffalo, would certainly or can pony up the money come renew Reading Rainbow"s transfer rights. 

According to an NPR interview v WNED"s contents chief john Grant, the instance was complex by No kid Left Behind, the educational act signed right into law in 2002. That aimed come create brand-new educational benchmarks because that American students, a noble aim for sure, however it wound increase with colleges "teaching to the test" and also focusing ~ above measurable subjects, like math skills. It"s not straightforward to test youngsters on how much they choose to read, and also so the room of Education decided to placed its funding into projects that taught children how come read, while "Reading Rainbow taught children why come read," give said.

Kevin Clash joined Jim Henson"s storied company in the early 1980s, and also made waves when he join the Sesame Street cast operating Elmo, a familiar toddler monster. The character concerned dominate the show, through a prolonged "Elmo"s World" segment acquisition up a huge share that airtime and also even earning a big-screen spin-off called The Adventures the Elmo in Grouchland. Clash ended up being a lover guy, particularly after the release of Being Elmo, the acclaimed 2011 documentary around his climb to Muppet royalty. 

However, in late 2012, a guy named Sheldon Stephens came forward with claims he"d had actually a physical partnership with Clash when he was a teenager and also the Muppet man was 24. Clash immediately took a leaving of lack from Sesame Street, yet Stephens later on took back his story. Prior to Clash might return to work, an additional man, Cecil Singleton, announced the he"d had a similar relationship with Clash in the 1990s, and that he was suing for $5 million, citing "adverse psychological and emotional effects." days later, a 3rd man accused Clash the the exact same behavior. 

In July 2013, a new York judge dismissed all legal actions versus Clash, judgment that claims had been made previous the state of limitations. An appellate court upheld the referee in 2014, and also while Clash never returned to make brand-new episodes of Sesame Street, he quietly re-emerged in 2018 as a puppeteer top top the Henson Alternative-produced movie The Happytime Murders.

In his 2012 campaign for the presidency, Mitt Romney promised to reduced government spending, balance the commonwealth budget, and also lower taxes. Throughout a conflict moderated through Jim Lehrer—a veteran PBS newsman—Romney questioned the special, of how he"d perform all that. For one, he"d cut off federal resources to PBS. "I"m sorry, Jim. I"m going to protect against the subsidy come PBS," Romney said, adding, "I favor PBS, i love huge Bird. I actually choose you, too." 

While Romney uncomfortable plenty of PBS viewers—Big Bird is a beloved cultural touchstone and de facto PBS mascot—Sesame Street and its production agency stayed over the fray. "Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization," the company said in a statement. "We execute not comment on campaigns, but we"re happy we can all agree the everyone likes huge Bird." 

Romney"s comment may have lost him votes in the election, conveniently won by enemy Barack Obama. Additionally, his idea wouldn"t also be the effective. In ~ the time, just 15 percent of PBS"s spending plan came native public funds; the rest came native "viewers choose you." If Romney had won, and tossed PBS"s $444 million ago to the American people, every citizen would"ve obtained a small over a dollar.

Fred Willard is a real comedy symbol thanks come his job-related in projects favor Fernwood Tonight, Anchorman, wait for Guffman, modern Family, and especially Best in Show, where he played an enthusiastic but stupid dog show commentator. He"s a gifted improvisational performer, however one night in 2012, he more than likely should have thought a little bit more before he acted. 

On July 18, 2019, Willard paid to clock a triple function at the Tiki theater Xymposium in Hollywood...an "adult" movie house. simply 23 minutes into the first movie, a Los Angeles Police room anti-prostitution task pressure raided the Tiki, trying to find anyone law anything untoward. Lock spotted Willard, sitting quiet in the ago row, then handcuffed him and also took that outside. The 72-year-old gibbs promised that he hadn"t excellent anything wrong, but after a brief "evidence check" approximately Willard"s seat, police arrested and also booked that on uncertainty of engaging in a misdemeanor lewd act. He posted his $500 bail and also was never officially fee with any type of offense, so long as he completed a diversion program.

Nevertheless, the whole incident shed Willard a job. PBS had just rental him to narrate one Antiques Roadshow-complementing series called Market Warriors. ~ his arrest, the broadcaster cut him loose, instead of him with Antiques Roadshow host Mark Walberg.

Michael Nesmith will likely be finest remembered for his stint with the Monkees, but a years-spanning lawsuit entailing PBS and his video distribution company, Pacific Arts, just might be the 2nd thing discussed in Nesmith"s eventual obituary. 

In 1990, PBS contracted Pacific Arts come make and also distribute VHS tapes that its shows. In ~ a year, Pacific Arts had actually moved $30 million precious of cassettes, but PBS wasn"t happy because Pacific Arts, facing financial difficulties, failed to pay the hefty licensing fees fan to the shows" producers. ~ Nesmith hadn"t payment up by 1993, PBS formed an advisory board to manage its Pacific arts problem and also looked into legal strategies have to Pacific Arts record for bankruptcy, which seemed choose a genuine possibility. In court filings, Nesmith alleged if PBS was proactively working towards severing that is ties to his company, they do no clues of that intent. 

In April 1994, PBS ignored that is six-year commitment with Pacific Arts and signed a distribution attend to Turner residence Entertainment. The following day, PBS and producers Children"s television Workshop (Sesame Street), WGBH (Masterpiece Theatre), WNET (Nature), and also American Documentaries (The polite War) sued Pacific Arts for monies owed. Nesmith countersued PBS over his grievances, and also all was cleared up by a federal court in 1999. Nesmith to be ordered come pay more than $1.5 million in license fees... Deducted native the $46.8 million a jury stated PBS fan Pacific Arts, finding the broadcaster liable because that intentional misrepresentation and other charges. 

Homosexual characters, and plots focused on problems that face the LGBT community are reasonably common ~ above TV today—not so lot in the early on 1990s, when cast members top top a present as unauthorized as Will & Grace reportedly received death threats for daring come portray happy people. It was a watershed moment for depiction then in January 1994 as soon as PBS aired a British-produced miniseries adaptation of Armistead Maupin"s Tales that the City, a saga around life in mountain Francisco in the 1970s, i m sorry necessarily included a the majority of material about gay culture. It additionally featured some nudity and drug use, and some PBS affiliates aired an edited version of Tales, while Chattanooga"s PBS terminal pulled that an hour prior to its airtime and also the Georgia legislature pass a resolution asking its state"s affiliates to not display it. 

PBS had actually plans because that a follow-up called More story of the City, up until it announced in may 1994 that it wouldn"t carry out the funding. The broadcaster"s higher-ups declared controversy had actually nothing to do with the decision. "The totality notion that we"re fear of reaction to Tales is unfair," said PBS spokesman bother Forbes. In solution San Francisco PBS affiliate KQED vowed come finance More Tales. Ultimately, More Tales did waiting in 1998 ... Top top Showtime.

Along with organize Mark Walberg and also elderly people saying "Oh my!" as soon as they uncover out your candy dish days to the Ming Dynasty and is worth $12,000, a common element of PBS"s Antiques Roadshow is the presence of appraisers Leslie and Leigh Keno. Not mere TV personalities, this brothers recognize their stuff—Leslie Keno once served together director of American furniture in ~ the deluxe auction residence Sotheby"s, when Leigh was a respect specialist end at challenger Christie"s. Once they"d make somebody"s year v a potentially lucrative appraisal throughout their two years on Antiques Roadshow, lock knew what they were talking about, having spent year buying and also selling treasures for substantial sums the money.

See more: Success Is The Sum Of Small Efforts, Day, Robert Collier

In 2016, that all endangered to come crashing down, as the Keno brothers faced massive financial and legal problems after a collection of vast purchases. Follow to court filings, lock strangely bid against each other—50 times—in a new Orleans Auction Galleries revenue of a Turkish Angora carpet. If the item held a worth of $800, Leslie Keno winner the auction v a bid of $14,500 ... And the house sued once payment never ever arrived. The auction firm actually sue both Keno brothers when they didn"t salary the $400,000 invoice for the 244 items they"d acquired. The suit was privately settled outside the a courtroom in early 2017.