Fox television network has pushed back Neil deGrasse Tyson’s new show, “Cosmos: Possible Worlds,” indefinitely while the scientist and sometimes-political commentator is investigated for incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, both Fox and National Geographic are investigating deGrasse Tyson after learning of several sexual harassment complaints leveled against the astrophysicist in a blockbuster report by cultural site Patheos.
DeGrasse Tyson was scheduled to host “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” as a follow up to a similar 2014 special he did for the Fox network called, “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” — a reboot of the classic Carl Sagan-hosted show from the 1980s. Fox and National Geographic both produce and air the deGrasse Tyson version of “Cosmos.”
The Hollywood Reporter says Fox will air an episode of “Family Guy” in place of “Cosmos.”
Patheos reported the allegations against deGrasse Tyson back in November. According to the extensive report, at least three women claim deGrasse Tyson harassed or assaulted them. Two of those women, Dr. Katelyn Allers and Ashley Watson, accused deGrasse Tyson of making “inappropriate sexual advances” toward them in the late 2000s.
Allers says deGrasse Tyson approached her at a conference of the American Astronomical Society in 2009 and leered down her dress, and asked to see a partially obscured tattoo Allers had of the solar system.
“After we had taken [a] picture,” Allers told Patheos, “[DeGrasse Tyson] noticed my tattoo and kind of grabbed me to look at it, and was really obsessed about whether I had Pluto on this tattoo or not… and then he looked for Pluto, and followed the tattoo into my dress.”
Allers says she reported the incident to a colleague at the time.
Ashley Watson, a former assistant to DeGrasse Tyson, says she was forced to quit her job several years ago because she felt deGrasse Tyson was making “inappropriate sexual advances.”
“Watson worked directly with Tyson for several months,” Patheos reported. “She says that, during that time, he put her in an uncomfortable situation by attempting to persuade her into sex, and demonstrated his ‘predatory tendencies.'”
Watson also says she reported the incident immediately to her human resources department.
A third woman, a former girlfriend of deGrasse Tyson from his college years, accused deGrasse Tyson of “raping her while they were both graduate students in astronomy at UT Austin,” according to Scientific American. The woman made her allegations in 2014, but says the incident happened in the early 1980s.
DeGrasse Tyson has lost more than his “Cosmos” job while waiting for both Fox and Nat Geo to complete their investigation into his history. “Nat Geo pulled Tyson’s science-focused talk show Star Talk,” the Hollywood Reporter says. “In early January, the cable network said it was holding new episodes of Star Talk ‘until the investigation is complete. We expect that to happen in the next few weeks, at which time we’ll make a final decision.'”
Tyson denies the allegations, and says he welcomes the investigation.