Yesterday, allegations of sexual misconduct against scientist and celebrity Neil deGrasse Tyson came to light. Two women have accused him of inappropriate behavior towards them, including touching them without their consent and trying to seduce them. This comes on the heels of an accusation that Tyson raped a woman while they were both grad students, which had widely flown under the radar.
One of the accusers details how Tyson grabbed her arm to study her body-wide tattoo of the solar system, and then tried to “find Pluto” by following the tattoo into her dress. The other speaks about how, when she was working for Tyson, he invited her to his apartment and allegedly made advances on her. When she confronted him about it the following day, she says that he told her she would never advance through the ranks because she was too “distracting.” The second accuser did report the event to a sexual harassment hotline.
His first accuser, a woman named Tchiya Amet, says that he drugged and raped her while they were both studying astronomy at the University of Texas in Austin. She publicly accused him during a speaking event in 2010, and was met with dismissal from his fans and supporters, which is detailed in an interview with her that you can read here.
Despite speaking out on this on multiple occasions and even filing a police report, Amet’s story has gone mostly unknown. One of the articles on her, cited in the linked interview piece above, uses her spirituality to dismiss her claims.
The founder of the People of Reason and Progress, David McAfee, published both a story on Amet and the story detailing two other accusations of misconduct. In an article released on their blog, PORP states that
“Robust data clearly show that more often than not, accusers who come forward are telling the truth. As such, we believe that the allegations submitted by both women should be seriously and thoroughly investigated. We also believe that Dr. Tyson should be treated as innocent until proven guilty. We at PORP also pledge to keep our followers and the public well-informed on this matter as more information comes to light.
“The hyper-endemic incidence of sexual assault and misconduct in American society must be addressed with data and evidence, and those who have committed such acts must be held accountable. We believe that survivors will not receive the justice they deserve as long as we choose to turn a blind eye to accusations against those whom we support.”
We’ll continue to follow this story as more information is released.
(via Patheos, image: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
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