Neil deGrasse Tyson addresses sexual misconduct allegations

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is breaking his silence.

On Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, the Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey host addressed the multiple sexual misconduct claims made against him, which span over three decades, in a lengthy Facebook post titled "On Being Accused."

"I've recently been publicly accused of sexual misconduct," Tyson wrote in part in his statement. "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."

Readers may already be aware that musician Tchiya Amet previously accused Tyson of drugging and raping her at his apartment in 1984 in a blog post shared back in October 2014. She later opened up about the alleged incident, which reportedly took place while the two were grad students at the University of Texas at Austin, during an interview with Patheos in early November 2018. 

Two other women have since come forward with allegations against Tyson in another Patheos report, which was published on Thursday, Nov. 29. Dr. Katelyn N. Allers, who's an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Bucknell University, accused Tyson of groping her at a party in 2009, which followed an American Astronomical Society meeting. Meanwhile, Ashley Watson claimed that she quit her job as the television personality's assistant this past summer after he allegedly made unwanted sexual advances toward her at his home.

Throughout his recent statement, Tyson denied Amet's claims while outlining different accounts of the other two alleged incidents. "I'm the accused, so why believe anything I say? Why believe me at all?" he concluded the post, before adding, "Accusations can damage a reputation and a marriage. Sometimes irreversibly. I see myself as 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."

Fox and National Geographic, the networks which air Tyson's Cosmos revival, have since announced an independent investigation into the reported claims. As the series' producers released in a statement to Deadline, "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."

For his part, Tyson, 60, noted that he welcomes this investigation in his recent remarks.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, Tyson is just the latest powerful figure in the entertainment industry to be accused of sexual misconduct after disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein's ongoing scandal first broke last fall. Given the initiative's effect on exposing abuses of power over the last year, he most likely won't be the last.