Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-12-01 03:27pm

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/ ... 172432002/
Fox, National Geographic and the producers of "Cosmos" say they will review a report of sexual misconduct allegations made against "Cosmos" host and famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Two women, identified as working with Tyson or in his scientific field, accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior in a story posted Thursday on Patheos.com, which describes itself as the "premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality."

One of the women told Patheos she was "felt up" by Tyson at a 2009 astronomy event. Another woman, who had worked as an assistant to Tyson, said she quit her job because of Tyson's inappropriate sexual advances, the Patheos story says.

Tyson hosted "Cosmos" in 2014 and a second edition, "Cosmos: Possible Worlds," is scheduled to premiere March 3 and will run on Fox and the National Geographic channel.

Fox and National Geographic issued a joint statement Friday that says: “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.”

The producers of "Cosmos" also put out a statement: “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.”

USA TODAY has contacted a representative for Tyson seeking comment on the allegations.

In addition to his TV duties, Tyson serves as head of the Hayden Planetarium in New York.
God damn it. Looks like another once respected man's career is going down in flames because he couldn't keep it in his pants and act like a professional. Or, you know, a decent human being.

With how often this happens I have to wonder- is this something that virtually every man does, and most of the cases just didn't get high profile exposure? Are we really no better collectively, even now, than our caveman ancestors? Or is this sort of entitled behaviour more common among famous, powerful, and ambitious men? Or is it just that it's getting more media attention now, so it seems like it happens more often than it really does?
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Re: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

Post by Jub » 2018-12-01 03:50pm

Power corrupts especially in places where men haven't been publicly accused often or effectively. It'll take a while for that culture to change.

It will also take time for that culture to adjust to what is allowed and what is assault. I have a feeling that at least some of these cases are situations where the man involved didn't think it was crossing the line, people were afraid to tell them, and now that people are coming forward they're being told that they crossed the line. It's no excuse, but I could see that being the case where no drugs or outright physical assault were involved.

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Re: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-12-01 04:30pm

Probably that's a lot of it, yeah. It's still incredibly depressing, how deeply-rooted this sort of shit is in our society.
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Re: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

Post by Broomstick » 2018-12-01 08:46pm

Let me say as a woman who's been around for awhile - none of this surprises me. Harassment and inappropriate behavior is extremely common. Yes, it is depressing how pervasive this is.

I think a lot of men are only just now realizing HOW common this shit is.

That does not mean every man does it - in my experience many do not - and among men who have done it a fair percentage, if the other person speaks up, will say something like "sorry, my bad, I misread the situation" and stop. But that generally only works between equals - when there is a power disparity the party with less power is less likely to speak up and more likely to put up with misbehavior.
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Re: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-12-01 09:17pm

Unfortunately in Tyson's case this goes a bit beyond "inappropriate behaviour", as one of the allegations is that he raped a woman:

https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/video/3 ... estigated/

Apparently a rape allegation was actually made years ago, but is getting renewed focus now.

I am a little suspicious in that the site that broke the story, Patheos, appears to be a religious news site, and Tyson is (depending on who you ask) either atheist or agnostic, and there's definitely a bit of a "look how sinful the atheist is" vibe here that I'm getting. But the multiple accusers, the fact that one of the allegations was made previously, and that there is no actual evidence of a set-up (unlike in the Avenatti and Mueller cases) makes me think that this is probably mostly true.

Well, one more person I can't admire any more.

Edit: I wonder if Colbert will cover it. Tyson has been one of his favourite guests.
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Re: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-12-01 10:12pm

Nope, but you can bet that misogynistic asshole TJ Kirk, the so-called Amazing Atheist, will have plenty to say on his next Boob Tube video.

And, his rape-apologist defenders will be quick to play the race card, at the same time they either try linking his victims to various hate groups, or simply dredge up racist stories involving women to discredit his victims.
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Re: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

Post by Elfdart » 2018-12-02 07:29am

Maybe he just invited them to join him in the observatory "while I look at Uranus" and they took it the wrong way...

Seriously though, making advances is one thing -especially if the man doing it realizes he totally misinterpreted things like Broomstick said. Groping is something entirely different and there's no excuse for it.
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Re: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.

Post by Rogue 9 » 2018-12-02 08:38am

NPR
Neil deGrasse Tyson Responds To Claims Of Sexual Harassment

December 2, 20187:05 AM ET

Nell Greenfieldboyce

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has responded to recent allegations of sexual misconduct by posting a lengthy statement online, in which he denies wrongdoing and says he welcomes an impartial investigation by the producers of his show Cosmos.

"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 judgment on who is more credible than whom," wrote Tyson, head of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

Three separate woman have come forward with accounts of experiences with Tyson that disturbed them, according to the website Patheos.

The most recent episode was earlier this year. Ashley Watson worked briefly as an assistant and driver for Tyson, while the show Cosmos was filmed in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She says on May 16, as the show was just about to wrap up production, Tyson invited her to join him in his apartment for wine in the evening after work.

Watson tells NPR she went because she thought he wanted to talk about her continuing to work as his assistant when the show moved on to filming in Europe.

Instead, she says, he put on music by Nina Simone, opened wine, and began pulling cheese from the fridge. She recalls that he had taken off his shoes and was wearing a tank top. "I remember thinking, 'This is a lot of skin for me to be seeing on my boss,' " Watson says. "The vibe was just kind of weird." She says Tyson spoke of the stresses of his job, and how he needed a "release."

Later, as she was leaving, she says Tyson said he wanted to show her a Native American handshake that involved feeling each other's pulses and staring into each other's eyes to make a spiritual connection. Watson says she did this for about ten seconds, but was extremely uncomfortable and says she thought to herself, "You're supposed to be very smart, why can't you pick up that I don't want to touch you right now?"

She also says he put both hands on her shoulders and told her that he wanted to hug her badly, but if he did, then he would just want more. Watson says she was shaken by the interaction, but felt like she needed references and recommendations so she planned on just working the last few days of the Cosmos filming.

The next night, however, in the car, she says that Tyson told her that she was too "distracting" to work as a producer. She was so angered by this that the next day she quit, and told one of the show's producers why. He asked her if she wanted to file a formal complaint. "I just didn't want to make a fuss," Watson says. Instead, they agreed that she would explain her abrupt departure by saying she had a family emergency.

In his statement, Tyson said he invited her to his place as a "capstone" to their friendship, and said he had no idea she was uncomfortable. He remembers offering the Native American handshake, as it is something he saves for new friends. He said that Watson frequently hugged people on the set and that he declined those hugs, and "on a few occasions, clumsily declared, 'If I hug you I might just want more.' My intent was to express restrained but genuine affection."

Tyson also said in his statement he did not mean to make a fellow scientist uncomfortable when he examined her solar system tattoo, looking for Pluto. "I only just learned (nine years after) that she thought this behavior creepy," he wrote. " That was never my intent and I'm deeply sorry to have made her feel that way."

The most serious allegation against Tyson is from someone who says that he drugged and raped her back in the 1980s, when they were both in graduate school. In his statement, Tyson said that they dated briefly but that the alleged rape never happened.
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Post by Broomstick » 2018-12-02 12:34pm

OK, this has elements of unequal power, misinterpretation of power, and failure to speak up - it's a situation where both parties may be seeing the same situation very differently and may not involve malice on the part of either. I'm going assume that is the case when commenting although of course if some additional corroboration comes to light my opinion may be revised.
Rogue 9 wrote:
2018-12-02 08:38am
She says on May 16, as the show was just about to wrap up production, Tyson invited her to join him in his apartment for wine in the evening after work.
OK, while a woman SHOULD be able to accept an invitation like this without an expectation of sex women should know that this is a potentially difficult situation. One possible solution is to say "you know, I'm not comfortable with going to your apartment what with you being my boss - could we meet elsewhere? I don't want either of our reputations to suffer because people are gossips." That probably won't help with a Harvey Weinstein, but it will help with a decent man. And frankly, men really do need to pay more attention to how things look to others in our changing social climate. It's no longer just the woman's reputation that can suffer.
Instead, she says, he put on music by Nina Simone, opened wine, and began pulling cheese from the fridge. She recalls that he had taken off his shoes and was wearing a tank top. "I remember thinking, 'This is a lot of skin for me to be seeing on my boss,' " Watson says. "The vibe was just kind of weird." She says Tyson spoke of the stresses of his job, and how he needed a "release."

Later, as she was leaving, she says Tyson said he wanted to show her a Native American handshake that involved feeling each other's pulses and staring into each other's eyes to make a spiritual connection. Watson says she did this for about ten seconds, but was extremely uncomfortable and says she thought to herself, "You're supposed to be very smart, why can't you pick up that I don't want to touch you right now?"
And I'm thinking, lady, why don't you tell him that you're uncomfortable with this? In plain words. You know "Look, Mr. Tyson, we've had a professional relationship up to now and I just don't feel comfortable with touching." Does that carry a risk of losing your job? Um.. yeah, it does. Not doing it also carries risks.

I've worked and played in predominantly male areas quite a bit over the years. In general most men have been OK when I said "hey, this is getting a bit too close, I'm not comfortable". Men are not mind readers (neither are women, for that matter). Men need to act less creepy and women need to speak up.
She also says he put both hands on her shoulders and told her that he wanted to hug her badly, but if he did, then he would just want more. Watson says she was shaken by the interaction, but felt like she needed references and recommendations so she planned on just working the last few days of the Cosmos filming.
And this is why a boss should never put himself in possibly compromising position in regards to staff - because the levels of power aren't equal. It might be that Tyson had no nefarious intentions, that he misinterpreted the situation, that if she had said "no, I'm not comfortable with this, I don't want to be touched" he would have still given her glowing recommendations but because he had potential power over her and her future she was afraid to speak up. Even if a boss doesn't use it, he or she always has more power than the underling and that makes such situations fraught with potential pitfalls, even more than interactions between equals.

The more powerful and more famous the man the more intimidating he is and the harder it is for women to speak up, for fear of consequences. I think some of these men know this and exploit it (Weinstein, for example) and some are unaware of just how much of an impact this has in their interactions with people.
In his statement, Tyson said he invited her to his place as a "capstone" to their friendship, and said he had no idea she was uncomfortable.
The sad thing - this may even be true. The problem is that he should have expressed such things AFTER her employment with him ended and references had been sent/solidified. Then the power imbalance wouldn't exist and the accusations less likely to happen.

Part of the problem is that in the past it would be the woman's reputation that would suffer and not the man's. Now, both of them can get dragged through the mud. Yeah, the rules changed. They probably should have changed decades ago.
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