A woman who attended grad school with Neil deGrasse Tyson says the now-famous astrophysicist drugged and raped her at the University of Texas back in 1984.
Tchiya Amet tweeted her allegations as part of the "#MeToo" campaign — a social media-based effort to help women reveal incidents of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and rape in their past. Amet made the same claims in 2014 and again in 2016, and resurfaced a blog post from 2014 as part of the effort.
In the post, Amet claims Tyson slipped her a "mickie" — a slang-term for the date rape drug GhB — and then took her back to a room where he had sexual intercourse with her against her will. The essay, written as an open letter to Tyson, asks the scientist what he would say to his family and hers, given his past impropriety.
What would you say to my parents if I had told them when it had happened that you had slipped me a mickey and that you raped me while I was unconscious? What would you say to them now if they were still alive? What will you say to your wife, the woman that was on the phone as you handed me the water to drink, in a cup made out of account shell? Do you have any idea how your act of violence affected my life, the lives of my parents, my ex-husband, my daughters, and anyone and veryone that has anything to do with me?
Tyson hasn't commented on the allegations, though it appears that some in the media were asking him for a response as far back as last year. Amet says that when she confronted Tyson, he was "totally confused" and said nothing.
David McAfee, an outspoken atheist and author — and fan of Tyson — has been trying to get Tyson to answer the allegations, ostensibly to clear his name, but so far Tyson has refused to comment. McAfee has been chronicling the incident at Patheos, having followed the story for some time, and confirming that Amet and Tyson were classmates.
Typically, Tyson's silence might just be taken as a refusal to acknowledge unsupported allegations. After all, these same allegations have resurfaced several times, and the media seems to have avoided the story. But given the recent outpouring of support for victims of sexual violence — and the shocking allegations that have poured forth against people like Harvey Weinstein — Tyson may not get the same free pass this time as he has when these accusations surfaced previously.