Update, July 27, 2019: The American Museum of Natural History has closed an investigation on the misconduct allegations against Neil DeGrasse Tyson and determined he will keep his job at the Hayden Planetarium, the New York Times reports.
“The museum’s investigation into allegations concerning Neil deGrasse Tyson is complete,” a museum representative said in a statement. “Based on the results of the investigation, Dr. Tyson remains an employee and director of the Hayden Planetarium."
Update, March 16, 2019: Neil DeGrasse Tyson has been cleared of allegations of inappropriate conduct by FOX and NatGeo, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter. His respective shows on the two networks, Cosmos and Star Talk, will return to the air.
"The investigation is complete, and we are moving forward with both StarTalk and Cosmos," FOX and Nat Geo said in a statement. " StarTalk will return to the air with the remaining 13 episodes in April on National Geographic, and both FOX and National Geographic are committed to finding an air date for Cosmos. There will be no further comment."
This story was originally published on December 2, 2018.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson, famed astrophysicist and host of the award-winning docuseries Cosmos, is facing increased scrutiny after a string of sexual misconduct allegations against him were made public over the last year.
Fox and National Geographic, the networks behind Cosmos, are launching an investigation into the allegations against Tyson, reports Deadline. The show’s producers are also looking into the claims.
Three women have recently come forward with claims that Tyson engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with them. Tyson addressed the accusations on Facebook on Saturday in a lengthy statement with his account of each incident. "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 wrote.
Just over a year ago, musician Tchiya Amet accused Tyson of rape. Patheos reported Amet’s claims and released a follow-up interview with Amet this month, where she said the incident happened when she and Tyson were both astronomy students at the University of Texas at Austin.
Tyson cast doubt on Amet's claims in his written statement. He confirmed they were together at one point, saying, "I remember being intimate only a few times, all at her apartment, but the chemistry wasn’t there," but questioned her credibility since she does not remember all the details of the incident. "It is as though a false memory had been implanted," he said.
Earlier this week, Dr. Katelyn N. Allers, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Bucknell University, came forward with a claim that she was “felt up” by Tyson in 2009 after an American Astronomical Society meeting. Patheos reports that Tyson allegedly touched Allers inappropriately while looking at her tattoo of a solar system that spans her arm and back.
“[He] noticed my tattoo and kind of grabbed me to look at it, and was really obsessed about whether I had Pluto on this tattoo or not...and then he looked for Pluto, and followed the tattoo into my dress,” Allers told Patheos.
In his statement, Tyson said while he doesn't "explicitly remember" searching for Pluto within her tattoo, "it is surely something I would have done in that situation." He further defended his actions, saying, "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."
Tyson’s former assistant, Ashley Watson, also accused Tyson of sexual harassment. Watson told Patheos that she was forced to quit her job due to inappropriate sexual advances, including an incident where she says Tyson invited her to to his apartment for wine and cheese and attempted to pressure her into having sex.
Tyson called his relationship with Watson a "fun, talkative friendship" in his statement. He described the night as "no pressure," saying that she sat across the table all evening and that the only time he touched her was at the end of the evening to conduct a Native handshake he saves "in appreciation of people with whom I’ve developed new friendships."
Both Fox and National Geographic told Deadline they have only just become aware of the claims. The producers of Cosmos addressed the issue in a statement: “The credo at the heart of Cosmos is to follow the evidence wherever it leads,” it read. “The producers of Cosmos can do no less in this situation. We are committed to a thorough investigation of this matter and to act accordingly as soon as it is concluded.”
The second season of Tyson’s Cosmos — a follow-up to its critically-acclaimed 2014 debut — is slated to premiere March 3, 2019.
This story was originally published on December 1, 2018. It has been updated throughout.
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