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Neil deGrasse Tyson responds to sexual misconduct allegations; Fox, Nat Geo investigate

Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, author and host of Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey and StarTalk, responded Saturday to accusations of sexual misconduct reported by spirituality-focused site Patheos via a lengthy Facebook post. Patheos reported ...
December 3, 2018

Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, author and host of Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey and StarTalk, responded Saturday to accusations of sexual misconduct reported by spirituality-focused site Patheos via a lengthy Facebook post.

Patheos reported on two women who have come forward a year after musician Tchiya Amet alleged that degrasse Tyson raped her when they were both graduate students. The latest allegations come from Katelyn N. Allers, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Bucknell University, who alleged that deGrasse Tyson groped her at an event in 2009, and from Ashley Watson, who claimed that she quit her job as his assistant in 2018 after he made several unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances toward her.

DeGrasse Tyson has thus far declined to comment directly to the media about the allegations, and, in his Facebook response, stated that this is because of his belief that such serious accusations should not be “adjudicated in the press.”

In his note, deGrasse Tyson did not name any of the three women, but described his recollection of the three events in question. He denied the grad school rape allegations, and regarding Allers, offered her an apology, saying he had no “creepy” intent during the encounter in which he claimed he was trying to see more of a tattoo featuring the solar system on the scientist, “and I’m deeply sorry to have made her feel that way.” He also addressed the situation with Watson, claiming to have already offered an apology when they parted ways.

In addition to offering his account of each of the three accusations reported, Tyson expressed support for “an impartial investigation,” stating that an investigation “would have [his] full cooperation.”

Some form of investigation is evidently underway, as the Fox Broadcasting Company and National Geographic, home to the Tyson-hosted Cosmos and StarTalk, have issued a joint statement: “We have only just become aware of the recent allegations regarding Neil deGrasse Tyson. We take these matters very seriously and we are reviewing the recent reports.”

The producers of Cosmos have also released a statement: “The credo at the heart of Cosmos is to follow the evidence wherever it leads. The producers of Cosmos can do no less in this situation. We are committed to a thorough investigation of this matter and to act accordingly as soon as it is concluded.”

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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