The allegations against Neil Degrasse Tyson are disturbing enough to warrant an investigation. This article seems to lay the groundwork for assessing the credibility of the women who have accused him:
“Hi there. I just wanted to reach out [to] say that I BELIEVE YOU about Neil deGrasse Tyson,” Watson wrote on Aug. 23.
On Thursday, Watson’s allegations were made public on a blog called Patheos, which had previously published Amet’s claims, twice. The new story also described a third woman, Katelyn Allers, an astronomy and physics professor at Bucknell University, who said Tyson had grabbed her and reached down the front of her dress to look at her tattoo at a scientific meeting in 2009.
With three women now making allegations on the record, the Patheos article spread far and wide, prompting Fox Broadcasting Company, which produces the show, and National Geographic, which airs it, to announce an official investigation. A spokesperson for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where Tyson has led the Hayden Planetarium for over 20 years, said that it has never received a complaint about him, but was also looking into the allegations. On Saturday, Tyson released a 1,600-word statement on Facebook, confirming many of the details of Watson’s and Allers’ allegations, and apologizing for what he deemed clumsy displays of affection that had been misunderstood.
It’s a powerful article, and this issues deserves the attention it is getting. No one should be excused for their behavior, and celebrity status does not mean you can just wave away accusations like this. So far, Tyson has appeared to be forthcoming and welcoming of scrutiny. What happens next is something that should be carefully appraised and handled like any other case.
I can’t help but feel like there are no heroes anymore, just a lot of flawed people who behaved badly years ago.