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Neil deGrasse Tyson's Facebook Statement is Some Rape Apologist Horsesh*t

By Mike Redmond | Celebrity | December 3, 2018 |

By Mike Redmond | Celebrity | December 3, 2018 |


neil-degrasse-tyson.jpg

This weekend, Neil deGrasse Tyson made headlines as the media caught wind of a report accusing the astronomer of acting sexually gross as hell with two separate women. On top of that, the accusations have resurfaced reports that Tyson drugged and raped a woman in college named Tchiya Amet, and this is where things get messed up. Amet’s accusation can be tracked back to a 2014 blog post that received very little attention. The post includes an old photo of Tyson in his apartment in 1984 when he allegedly slipped Amet a Mickey and raped her while she was slipping in and out of consciousness.

However, Amet’s claim was picked up by Patheos in October 2017 as #MeToo started taking down celebrities left and right following the long overdue downfall of Harvey Weinstein. This time around, Amet’s accusations made some waves, but the whole thing vanished almost as quickly as it appeared after many in the scientific community backed Tyson. Shit, I was doing freelance work covering #MeToo at the time, and the accusation never even made it on my radar. It just flitted right out.

Not anymore!

According to Patheos, Tyson is accused of groping fellow astronomer Dr. Katelyn N. Allers during a photo shoot and making inappropriate sexual advances toward a former production assistant, Ashley Watson. Both women have also expressed their support of Tchiya Amet’s rape allegation against Tyson.

Not to downplay the severity of what went down with Allers, but Watson’s accusation is especially damning, and the base details of which are confirmed by Tyson himself in a public statement. Namely, that in the summer of 2018 — well into the #MeToo movement where this type of behavior is clearly being spelled out as wrong and super f**king creepy — Tyson invited a young female employee to a private wine and cheese party in his apartment.

Here’s what allegedly occurred, according to Watson:

Upon entering his apartment, Tyson allegedly took off his shoes and shirt, remaining in a tank top undershirt. Unfortunately, the night only got more awkward as Tyson, who is married, reportedly put on romantic music and replayed the most graphic parts.

She says Tyson soon brought out a cutting board and a knife to cut blocks of cheese that he decided they would share. But before slicing the snack, he allegedly gestured toward her with the knife and made a comment about stabbing.

Watson says she took the comment as a bad joke.

Jesus Christ. At least he didn’t start talking about how important it is for humans to have relea-

Ohgoddammit.

Watson says Tyson started talking about how every human being needs certain “releases” in life, including physical releases. He reportedly mentioned how difficult it had been for him to be away from home for several months.

Watson says Tyson asked her if she needed any releases, and she responded with a story about sexual harassment she endured in the past. It was a smart way to diffuse a tense situation, but she says he was unfazed.

“It was like talking to a wall,” Watson said.

She was getting up to leave when Neil allegedly stopped her, saying he wanted to show her a “Native American handshake” he knew. That involved holding hands tightly, making eye contact, and feeling for each other’s pulse, Watson told me.

When she broke off the awkward and incredibly intimate handshake, which he allegedly said represented a “spirit connection,” she attempted to just get up and leave.

Gross, right? Well, here’s the thing. In a lengthy statement on Facebook, Tyson confirms a lot of Watson’s details including the incredibly weird Native American handshake, and also again, inviting a young female employee to his apartment. Alone.

In the final week of shooting, with just a few days left, as a capstone of our friendship, I invited her to wine & cheese at my place upon dropping me off from work. No pressure. I serve wine & cheese often to visitors. And I even alerted her that others from the production were gathering elsewhere that evening, so she could just drop me off and head straight there or anywhere elsewhere. She freely chose to come by for wine & cheese and I was delighted. In the car, we had started a long conversation that could continue unabated. Production days are long. We arrived late, but she was on her way home two hours later. Afterwards, she came into my office to told [sic] me she was creeped out by the wine & cheese evening. She viewed the invite as an attempt to seduce her, even though she sat across the wine & cheese table from me, and all conversation had been in the same vein as all other conversations we ever had.

Further, I never touched her until I shook her hand upon departure. On that occasion, I had offered a special handshake, one I learned from a Native elder on reservation land at the edge of the Grand Canyon. You extend your thumb forward during the handshake to feel the other person’s vital spirit energy — the pulse. I’ve never forgotten that handshake, and I save it in appreciation of people with whom I’ve developed new friendships.

So let’s talk about Tyson’s Facebook statement, which is being lauded by his supporters because he pays lip service to the reality of how these accusations often go and openly invites an “impartial investigation.” Keep in mind, this is in a final section literally labeled “Overview,” because even while addressing three accusations of sexual misconduct, Neil deGrasse Tyson still views himself as the authority figure here.

I’m the accused, so why believe anything I say? Why believe me at all?

That brings us back to the value of an independent investigation, which FOX/NatGeo (the networks on which Cosmos and StarTalk air) announced that they will conduct. I welcome this.

Right off the bat, Tyson is playing a very specious game here. While he’s scoring points by calling for an investigation, he’s also simultaneously acknowledging that he knows this is a he said/she said situation where the only evidence is conflicting statements. He f**cking comes right out and says it in the second paragraph right after — you’ll never believe this — shitting on #MeToo. What are the odds?

Seriously, here’s exactly how Tyson opened this thing, word-for-word:

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 judgment 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.

But that’s not the worst thing that Tyson pulls. While he offers an apology to Dr. Allers for what he claims was an innocent interaction where he placed his hand up a covered part of her dress to search for a Pluto tattoo on her shoulder — which is a creepy-ass thing to do — Tyson pulls some underhanded bullshit when it comes to Watson and Amet.

In the case of Watson, Tyson makes it a point to mention she often gave daily welcome-hugs to production members, which he claims he rejected every time “to express restrained but genuine affection.” However, after being confronted the day after the private party and apologizing “profusely” for making her feel uncomfortable, this is how Tyson ended his remarks on Watson (emphasis mine):

I note that her final gesture to me was the offer of a hug, which I accepted as a parting friend.

Someone should educate Neil on the myth of the perfect victim. And sooner rather than later because it gets even worse with his remarks on Amet’s rape accusations.

Over this time I had a brief relationship with a fellow astro-graduate student, from a more recent entering class. I remember being intimate only a few times, all at her apartment, but the chemistry wasn’t there. So the relationship faded quickly. There was nothing otherwise odd or unusual about this friendship.

I didn’t see much of her after that time. Our student offices were on different floors of the building and we were not in the same classes. A few years later, I ran into her, pregnant, with who I think was the father by her side. That’s when I had learned that she dropped out of graduate school. Again, this is not itself an unusual fact, but I nonetheless wished her well in motherhood and in whatever career path would follow.

It’s not an “unusual fact” that Tyson’s accuser allegedly got pregnant and dropped out of grad school, but he still felt the need to mention it in the context of a statement designed to boost his credibility in the eyes of the public.

What’s he going to do next? Bring up the fact that she’s not even a real scientist?

For me, what was most significant, was that in this new life, long after dropping out of astrophysics graduate school, she was posting videos of colored tuning forks endowed with vibrational therapeutic energy that she channels from the orbiting planets. As a scientist, I found this odd.

Also, isn’t it weird how she can’t remember events that allegedly would’ve occurred while she was drugged? Obviously suspicious, right?

Meanwhile, according to her blog posts, the drug and rape allegation comes from an assumption of what happened to her during a night that she cannot remember. It is as though a false memory had been implanted, which, because it never actually happened, had to be remembered as an evening she doesn’t remember. Nor does she remember waking up the next morning and going to the office. I kept a record of everything she posted, in case her stories morphed over time. So this is sad, which, for me, defies explanation.

And then, finally, this horseshit:

I note that this allegation was used as a kind of solicitation-bait by at least one journalist to bring out of the woodwork anybody who had any encounter with me that left them uncomfortable.

I want you folks to do me a favor. The next time you see someone say “This is how you handle a #MeToo accusation intelligently,” tell that person to punch themselves in Uranus. — Er, their anus.

Make them punch themselves in the butt. There we go.



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