Astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson is the latest in a slew of celebrity men to be accused of sexual misconduct.
Speaking with the religious and spirituality site, patheos.com, three women—Tchiya Amet, Ashley Watson and Katelyn Allers—detailed accounts of sexual misconduct at the hands of Tyson.
Amet, who was a student at the University of Texas at the same time as Tyson, claimed that the astrophysicist drugged and raped her while the two were at college. Watson accused him of making unwanted sexual advances when she worked as his assistant, causing her to quit her job. Allers has claimed he groped her at a part in 2009.
Tyson has since refuted the very serious accusations. In a Facebook statement published on Saturday, the TV host said that he welcomes an impartial investigation into the sexual misconduct claims made against him.
Tyson wrote: “For a variety of reasons, most justified, some unjustified, men accused of sexual impropriety in today’s ‘me-too’ climate are presumed to be guilty by the court of public opinion. Emotions bypass due process, people choose sides, and the social media wars begin.
“In any claim, evidence matters. Evidence always matters. But what happens when it’s just one person’s word against another’s, and the stories don’t agree? That’s when people tend to pass judgement on who is more credible than whom. And that’s when an impartial investigation can best serve the truth—and would have my full cooperation to do so.”
He continued: “I’ve recently been publically accused of sexual misconduct. These accusations have received a fair amount of press in the past 48 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 stay silent.”
Fox and National Geographic, the producers of Tyson’s upcoming television program Cosmos, due to premiere in 2019, have responded to the claims. In a statement, they said: “We have only just become aware of the recent allegations regarding Neil deGrasse Tyson. We take these matters very seriously and we are reviewing the recent reports.”
They added: “The credo at the heart of Cosmos is to follow the evidence wherever it leads. 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.”
These allegations of sexual misconduct come as a shock to the science community, who previously held Tyson in high esteem. The author of several popular science books including Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (2017) and Welcome to the Universe (2016), Tyson is also the first black person to hold the role of director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.