There are now three women who have come forward to accuse Neil deGrasse Tyson of sexual assault allegations. The astrophysicist and author is speaking out.
On a post via Facebook, Tyson wrote, “I’ve recently been publicly accused of sexual misconduct. 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.”
Tyson challenged each accusation against him. Katelyn N. Allers, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, claimed that in 2009 Tyson reached into her dress while looking at a tattoo of the solar system on her arm. She told Patheos, “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.”
She added,”He’s not someone who has great respect for female bodily autonomy.”
Tyson explained, “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. 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. 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.”
Ashley Watson, a former assistant, said Tyson made inappropriate sexual advances in 2016. Tyson claimed he respectfully asked her out for wine and cheese, which she agreed, but she later said she felt it was an “attempt to seduce” her. He said he profusely apologized and she offered a hug.
Tchiya Amet claims Tyson drugged and raped her in 1984 while at the University of Texas at Austin. Tyson said they briefly dated in high school but denied all allegations.
Tyson finished the blog entry with, “Accusations can damage a reputation and a marriage. Sometimes irreversibly. I see myself as a 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.”