Neil deGrasse Tyson Responds To Sexual Misconduct Allegations With Support For Investigation

Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has released a statement in response to the sexual misconduct allegations that have been made against him. Tyson posted the statement on his Facebook page and titled it “On Being Accused.” In it, he explains his version of the events that relate to the accusations and voices support for the investigation into them.

“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. Emotions bypass due-process, people choose sides, and the social media wars begin. In any claim, evidence matters.”

As the Inquisitr previously reported, three women have made allegations against him. One of them was his former fellow graduate students, Tchiya Amet, who accused him of rape. Amet claims that Tyson drugged her before he engaged in sexual intercourse without her consent in 1984 while they were at grad school at UT Austin. Amet, whose name was originally Staci Hambric, says that she dropped out of grad school after the incident.

In his statement on Facebook, Tyson describes Amet as a woman that he dated for a brief period of time with whom he was also sexually intimate. He claims that after they broke up, he saw her once more and she was pregnant with another man’s baby.

He adds that he learned about her accusation when he came across her blog post about the alleged assault. He adds additional “context” by describing her new-age spiritual practices.

“For me, what was most significant, was that in this new life, long after dropping out of astrophysics graduate school, she was posting videos of colored tuning forks endowed with vibrational therapeutic energy that she channels from the orbiting planets,” he writes. “As a scientist, I found this odd.”

He then calls her memory of the night into question by likening it to the implantation of a false memory.

One of the other accusers, Dr. Katelyn N. Allers, claims that Neil deGrasse Tyson touched her inappropriately at a party. In his response, Tyson claims that he noticed a tattoo of the solar system on her shoulder. While he states that he doesn’t “explicitly” remember searching the tattoo for Pluto, he says that it sounds like something he would have done because of his “professional history with the demotion of Pluto.” Despite his previous claim of not remembering the tattoo search, he later says that it was “simply a search under the covered part of her shoulder of the sleeveless dress.”

The third accuser is a former production assistant on one of his shows named Ashley Watson. She claims that he made unwanted sexual advances over wine and cheese at his apartment. Tyson denies that their conversation was sexual but admitted that he gave her a special “Native American” handshake at the end of their time together. He went on to add that he apologized to her when she brought up her concerns about his behavior at a subsequent meeting.

At the end of his statement, Tyson says that he welcomes the investigation into the accusations by FOX and National Geographic, the networks which air his TV shows Cosmos and Star Talk air. He also thanked his supporters for their continued respect for his work.