Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson took to Facebook on Saturday, December 1, to respond to sexual misconduct allegations made against him.
“I’ve recently been publicly accused of sexual misconduct,” the astrophysicist, 60, wrote in a lengthy post shared on Facebook. “These accusations have received a fair amount of press in the past forty-eight hours, unaccompanied by my reactions. In many cases, it’s not the media’s fault. I declined comment on the grounds that serious accusations should not be adjudicated in the press. But clearly I cannot continue to stay silent.”
He then addressed the accusations, beginning with one in 2009, where he was accused of “groping” a colleague. Explaining that he gets “almost giddy” when he sees clothing, jewelry or tattoos that portray the universe, deGrasse Tyson wrote that the woman was wearing a sleeveless dress with a tattooed solar system extending up her arm, “and while I don’t explicitly remember searching for Pluto at the top of her shoulder, it is surely something I would have done in that situation.”
“I was reported to have ‘groped’ her by searching ‘up her dress’, when this was simply a search under the covered part of her shoulder of the sleeveless dress,” he wrote. “I only just learned (nine years after) that she thought this behavior creepy. That was never my intent and I’m deeply sorry to have made her feel that way.”
He then addressed an alleged incident from this past summer, in which he invited a female production assistant to his home for wine and cheese after “clumsily” telling her that he didn’t want a hug from her because, “If I hug you I might just want more.”
The assistant later came to his office to tell him that she was “creeped out” by the invitation to his home, prompting him to apologize profusely before she informed him that it would be their last day working together. “I note that her final gesture to me was the offer of a hug, which I accepted as a parting friend,” he wrote.
The TV personality also detailed an incident in the early 1980s when he had a brief relationship with a fellow astrophysics graduate. The woman, Tchiya Amet, alleges that deGrasse Tyson drugged and raped her in 1984, as detailed in an interview with Patheos published on November 8.
“I’m the accused, so why believe anything I say?” he asks. “Why believe me at all?”
Noting that Fox and the National Geographic network, which air his shows Cosmos and StarTalk, will be conducting investigations into the allegations, deGrasse Tyson wrote that he welcomes the independent review and concluded, “Accusations can damage a reputation and a marriage. Sometimes irreversibly. I see myself as 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.”
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