DeGrasse Tyson: 'Clearly I Cannot Continue to Stay Silent'

Astrophysicist responds to allegations of sexual misconduct
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2018 11:11 AM CST
DeGrasse Tyson Responds to Allegations
Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks at the 60th annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in New York.   (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Faced with three accusations that span three decades and range from "creepy behavior" to rape, Neil deGrasse Tyson offered up a lengthy defense via Facebook post on Saturday, saying "clearly I cannot continue to stay silent." As CNN frames it, the astrophysicist "disputed or offered a different version" of each, often going into great detail. The allegations, and deGrasse Tyson's account:

  • 1984: Tchiya Amet accuses deGrasse Tyson of rape while in grad school; she says gave her a drink and she passed out and woke up naked in his bed. DeGrasse Tyson admits that the two briefly dated, were intimate a few times at her apartment, and "the relationship faded quickly." "It is as though a false memory had been implanted, which, because it never actually happened, had to be remembered as an evening she doesn't remember."

  • 2009: Astronomy professor Katelyn Allers says that deGrasse Tyson reached under her dress to see her tattoo of the solar system, calling him "not someone who has great respect for female bodily autonomy." DeGrasse Tyson says it was "was simply a search (for the tattoo) under the covered part of her shoulder of the sleeveless dress." "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."
  • 2018: Ashley Watson says she quit her job as his assistant this summer after he invited her for wine and cheese and attempted to coerce her into sex. Per deGrasse Tyson, "Afterwards, she came into my office to told me she was creeped out... She viewed the invite as an attempt to seduce her... At that last meeting in my office, I apologized profusely. She accepted the apology. ...
    I note that her final gesture to me was the offer of a hug, which I accepted as a parting friend."
  • In conclusion: "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."
DeGrasse Tyson's whole post is here. (More Neil deGrasse Tyson stories.)

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