UPDATED: Fox and the producers of the television series “Cosmos” have opened an investigation into multiple sexual misconduct claims against the show’s host, Neil deGrasse Tyson. The move follows a report on the website Patheos in which two women accused Tyson of inappropriate sexual behavior.
“The credo at the heart of ‘Cosmos’ is to follow the evidence wherever it leads,” the producers said in a joint statement. “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.”
Fox Broadcasting also issued a statement, saying, “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.”
In the Patheos article, Dr. Katelyn N. Allers of Bucknell University claimed deGrasse Tyson groped her at an event in 2009. Another woman, Ashley Watson, claimed in the article that she quit her former job as Tyson’s assistant in response to repeated inappropriate sexual advances he made toward her.
Both allegations came to light roughly a year after musician Tchiya Amet claimed that Tyson raped her when they were both graduate students.
On Sunday, Tyson issued a response via a lengthy Facebook post. In the post, titled “On Being Accused,” Tyson offered his account of the incidents that resulted in Allers, Watson, and Amet’s allegations.
He stated that his alleged groping of Allers was an attempt to see whether a planetary tattoo on her arm that extended to her shoulder included Pluto. Of Watson, Tyson wrote that her departure as his production assistant was over an evening of wine and cheese at his home, during which he said he did not touch her except to give her a handshake at the end of the night. He added that when she informed him of her discomfort over the meeting, he apologized, and she accepted his apology. While he admitted to having a brief relationship with Amet during graduate school, he denied ever assaulting her.
“I’m the accused, so why believe anything I say? Why believe me at all?” he wrote. “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.”
Tyson hosted 2014’s “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” a science anthology in the vein of author Carl Sagan’s 1980 series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.” A sequel, with Tyson again set to host, is set to premiere next year on Fox and sister cable channel National Geographic. The revival series is produced by Cosmos Studios, Fuzzy Door Productions, and Santa Fe Studios.