According to Deadline, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is being investigated for claims of sexual misconduct.
This is an awkward thing for me to even mention because 1) I don’t want to believe it (not that my feelings matters), 2) my colleague on Patheos and this very site, David McAfee, is the person who’s been reporting this story from the very beginning and all of the articles coming out now stem from his posts, and 3) I’ve been reading his posts about the topic and still haven’t figured out what to make of it all.
My hesitation mostly stems from the fact that it’s a fellow blogger doing the investigation, rather than some media outlet with experienced editors overseeing the journalism, a track record for covering these topics, and reporters who know how to corroborate all the information. I say that even though David writes for this site (and I edit those pieces) and I know he always does his due diligence to the best of his abilities. He has experience as a reporter and some of the allegations have previously been reported (in one case, to a school). When the stakes are this high, though, and with all due respect to my friend, I just know I would be more likely to accept an investigation that comes with the heft of a larger and more experienced news outlet. As Seth Andrews said well, none of that suggests we should not take these accusations seriously. We should weigh whatever evidence is in front of us.
With the premiere of the new season of Cosmos just months away, an investigation of sorts will now be taking place by the networks that are airing the program.
“The credo at the heart of Cosmos is to follow the evidence wherever it leads,” the producers of the show said in a statement to Deadline. “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.”
“We have only just become aware of the recent allegations regarding Neil deGrasse Tyson,” the two networks [Fox and National Geographic] said in a statement to Deadline. “We take these matters very seriously and we are reviewing the recent reports.”
It’s hard to imagine that the people behind Tyson’s TV show — the people who make money from this project — will eventually say, “Yep, we confirmed the allegations and will be pulling the show from our networks.” But my hope is that reporters who have covered these kinds of stories in the past will do the same here and give the alleged victims the kind of additional scrutiny their stories deserve.
For what it’s worth, Tyson hasn’t publicly commented yet on any of David’s stories.