"I’ve recently been publically (sic) accused of sexual misconduct," Tyson wrote 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. So below I offer my account of each accusation."
On Thursday, Patheos published accounts from two women who accused Tyson of sexually inappropriate behavior and making inappropriate comments. The first allegation came from Dr. Katelyn N. Allers, a Bucknell University professor who claimed she was "felt up" by Tyson during a party after an Asmerican Astronomical Society meeting in 2009, when he noticed her solar system tattoo. She described Tyson's behavior as "creepy" during the incident.
Ashley Watson, a former assistant for Tyson, told Patheos she quit her job this year after the famous astrophysicist made "inappropriate sexual advances" and showed "predatory tendencies."
A third woman, musician Tychia Amet, accused Tyson of drugging her and rape while they were students at the University of Texas in Austin in a 2014 blog post. Amet also spoke with Patheos earlier this month, and claimed she publicly accused him at a 2010 event in California.
In the Facebook post, Tyson gave his side of the story in all three cases. In the case of Allers' allegations, Tyson admitted to getting "almost giddy" when he notices someone with astronomy-themed clothing and tattoos. However, he said he was looking at Allers' tattoo to see if she included Pluto in her tattoo.
"I only just learned (nine years after) that she thought this behavior creepy," Tyson wrote. "That was never my intent and I’m deeply sorry to have made her feel that way. Had I been told of her discomfort in the moment, I would have offered this same apology eagerly, and on the spot. In my mind’s eye, I’m a friendly and accessible guy, but going forward, I can surely be more sensitive to people’s personal space, even in the midst of my planetary enthusiasm."
Tyson said Amet was a person he briefly dated while a graduate student, who had since changed her name and began leading a different life. Tyson noted that Amet wrote on her blog that she no longer remembers being raped after she was drugged.
"According to her blog posts, the drug and rape allegation comes from an assumption of what happened to her during a night that she cannot remember," Tyson wrote. "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. Nor does she remember waking up the next morning and going to the office. I kept a record of everything she posted, in case her stories morphed over time. So this is sad, which, for me, defies explanation."
In conclusion, Tyson said he welcomes the investigation by Fox and National Geographic into the allegations he faces.
He added, "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."0comments
Tyson hosted the 2014 iteration of Cosmos for PBS, and a second season is planned to air on Fox in 2019. He also hosts StarTalk for NatGeo.
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