Updated 3/17: National Geographic and the parent company for Tyson’s show “Cosmos” have released the following statement:
“The investigation is complete, and we are moving forward with both ‘StarTalk’ and ‘Cosmos,’” Fox Broadcasting and National Geographic 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.”
Previous article follows:
The Scientific community is not exempt from problems of predatory behavior, or out of the reach of the #MeToo movement; something that anyone not living under a rock would be aware of now. And for those of you in Geology who do live under rocks, someone in your field has probably been groped as well. We’ll find out about it as soon as the public remembers you exist.
In the past several years, accusations have been leveled at notable men including the founder of Skeptic magazine, Michael Shermer, and noted atheism and science spokesman, Professor Lawrence Krauss. Krauss was forced to retire after an investigation into the claims. But while both are notable, Tyson has effectively been the face of modern Science in the United States, filling the role left in the wake of Carl Sagan almost directly, by hosting the revival of Cosmos: A Spacetime Oddessy. Tyson’s presence as a science communicator is so ubiquitous that he was even parodied in an episode of Key and Peele (which we used above, to troll some of you into angrily clicking this article—we have to eat too, you know).
The Atheist website Patheos has been detailing the ongoing, emerging accusations since 2017. So far it seems three accusers have come forward, one of which as accused Tyson of raping her when they were both grad students. And while the impulse to dismiss accusations seems to be strong in many in the community, given posts on social media when this story broke, Fox, the network producing Cosmos is taking them seriously and investigating.
This is a remarkably poor write up. You can always tell when something is written purposely poorly you provoke comment. Fuck it, I’ll bite.
First, I don’t think it’s clear people are dismissing this on social media. Second, the people who are, aren’t just doing it solely because tyson is charismatic. It’s because of problems with the claims.
Anything’s possible, but these accusations don’t seem to have much legs to them.
I heard the drugging & raping allegation a while back but the story sounded outlandish, didn’t have any evidence, was not supported by a pattern of behavior, and the accuser seemed both not very credible and a bit unhinged.
The current accusations are remarkably weak. Both appear to be exaggerating fairly innocuous behavior. I mean really he looked up a lady’s sleeve while taking a photo? What is this the 1800s? That lady just seems pathologically fragile. A photo of the incident circulating online appears to support Tyson’ s description of the incident.
The second accusation is not as clear cut but also falls well within the realm of acceptable (if inadvisable) behavior. I also didn’t like how the lady mentioned he pointed a knife at her during the meal, without actually committing to accusing him of using a knife to intimidate her. This feels dishonest. A lot of her accusation consisted of her implying his intentions without actually accusing him of anything. She doesn’t even say she felt threatened or coerced. She just describes some pretty softball ambiguous behavior. Maybe cheesy flirtation, but also maybe nothing.
The fact that both current accusers say they hope their accounts lend support to the original drug & rape accuser make this whole thing feel like a smear campaign. Considering the weakness of the old accusation and how radically different it is from both these women’s experiences with Tyson, it seems kinda crazy for them to decide to lobby for it so uncritically.
There’s also of course the issue of the biased and questionable nature of the site that broke these latest accusations.
I’m pretty sure all this stuff isn’t going anywhere.
*purposely poorly to provoke comment.