Fox and other producers of the science documentary television show “Cosmos” are investigating series host Neil deGrasse Tyson following multiple claims of sexual misconduct against the celebrity astrophysicist.
The move follows reports from Patheos in which two women claimed that Tyson was guilty of inappropriate sexual behavior.
“The credo at the heart of ‘Cosmos’ is to follow the evidence wherever it leads,” the producers of the show said in a joint statement, according to Variety.
“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.”
Outside of physics, Tyson has made headlines for his criticisms of President Donald Trump. As reported by The Hill, Tyson has said in response to Trump that he wants to “make America smart again,” and that if he met Trump he would first “grab his crotch to get his attention.”
The two latest allegations come after musician Tchiya Amet has made public claims for years that Tyson raped her when they were both graduate students.
The recent allegations, brought to light by journalist David G. McAfee, involve a fellow astronomer who met Tyson at a party, and Tyson’s former assistant.
Dr. Katelyn Allers claims that Tyson “felt her up” after a conference in 2009.
“He noticed my tattoo and kind of grabbed me to look at it, and was really obsessed about whether I had Pluto on this tattoo or not … and then he looked for Pluto, and followed the tattoo into my dress,” Allers told Patheos.
She said she didn’t consider the experience assault, but that it showed Tyson wasn’t above “creepy behavior.”
“My experience with him is he’s not someone who has great respect for female bodily autonomy,” she said.
Tyson’s former assistant Ashley Watson says she quit her job after Tyson allegedly made sexual overtures to her after inviting her for a bottle of wine at his apartment.
Watson alleges that while at his apartment after 10 p.m. at night, Tyson walked around in a tank top and put on romantic music.
She claims that while he was in the kitchen preparing food, he made a stabbing gesture at her with his knife, which Watson took as a “bad joke.”
“It was definitely a very weird power move,” she said.
She left after Tyson continued making sexual innuendos, allegedly talking about human beings needing certain “releases.”
Watson says that when he asked her if she needed “releases,” she told him about her experience being sexually harassed, but says Tyson was uninterested in her story. She also claims that Tyson told her she wouldn’t succeed professionally because she was too “distracting.”
Watson says that after she quit she shared her experience with a supervisor in the hopes that Tyson wouldn’t be given any more female assistants.
As reported by Deadline, Tyson issued a public response on Saturday, although he said, “I’m the accused, so why believe anything I say?”
In a lengthy statement, Tyson claims that the incident with Allers was his trying to be “a friendly and accessible guy.”
As for his former assistant’s recollection of the experience in Tyson’s apartment, Tyson wrote that “all conversation had been in the same vein as all other conversations we ever had.”
In the statement, Tyson appeals to the public to seek evidence instead of choosing sides.
“For a variety of reasons, most justified, some unjustified, men accused of sexual impropriety in today’s “me-too” climate are presumed to be guilty by the court of public opinion,” Tyson wrote. “Emotions bypass due-process, people choose sides, and the social media wars begin.”
Tyson’s request that the public reserve judgment echo statements made by many recently who object to the left’s “believe all women” philosophy, which doesn’t rely on evidence or believability before passing judgment.
In this case, many of the same liberals quick to condemn public figures like Brett Kavanaugh have idolized Tyson in the past. It will be interesting to note how he fares in the court of liberal public opinion.
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