Neil deGrasse Tyson responds to sexual misconduct allegations: 'I cannot continue to stay silent'

Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • After Fox announced it was launching an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist posted a statement Saturday addressing the allegations and describing his memories of the incidents.
  • In a lengthy Facebook post, deGrasse Tyson denied any wrongdoing in incidents described by three separate women that took place in the early 1980s, 2009, and Summer 2018.
  • In describing his memory of the incidents, deGrasse Tyson said he wanted to add some balance to the investigation.

Neil deGrasse Tyson posted a lengthy statement Saturday that addressed and denied multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

In a Facebook post entitled “On Being Accused,” deGrasse Tyson described his memories of the incidents described as varying cases of sexual misconduct by three separate women and welcomed the investigation that was launched last week by Fox and the producers of the television series “Cosmos.”

“In any claim, evidence matters,” the astrophysicist wrote. “Evidence always matters. But what happens when it’s just one person’s word against another’s, and the stories don’t agree? That’s when people tend to pass judgment on who is more credible than whom.”

Read more: Neil deGrasse Tyson under investigation at Fox after 3 women accuse him of sexual misconduct

The most recent allegation came from Ashley Watson, who said Tyson made repeated sexual advances toward her while she was working as his assistant on the show “Cosmos.”

Watson singled out one night when deGrasse Tyson invited her over to his house for wine and cheese as the height of his inappropriate and suggestive behaviour, as she described to NPR him taking off his shirt and forcing her to do a “Native American handshake” that involved extensive physical contact and eye contact.

DeGrasse Tyson said in his statement that after Watson told him how uncomfortable that night made her, he apologised profusely, and even though she cited it as her reason for quitting, he believed they parted ways in a friendly fashion.

Dr. Katelyn N. Allers of Bucknell University claimed deGrasse Tyson groped her at an event in 2009 – observing a space tattoo on her arm and following it into her dress. DeGrasse Tyson wrote in his statement he did not mean to make Allers uncomfortable when searching for Pluto in a solar system tattoo on her arm.

“I only just learned (nine years after) that she thought this behaviour creepy,” he wrote on Facebook. “That was never my intent and I’m deeply sorry to have made her feel that way.”

The third and most alarming allegation comes from a former graduate school classmate, who said deGrasse Tyson drugged and raped her. In his statement, deGrasse Tyson acknowledges he once dated the woman while in school, but denied the assault allegation.

“Accusations can damage a reputation and a marriage,” deGrasse Tyson wrote. “Sometimes irreversibly. I see myself as [a] loving husband and as a public servant – a scientist and educator who serves at the will of the public. I am grateful for the support I’ve received from those who continue to respect and value me and my work.”

Read deGrasse Tyson’s full statement here ยป

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