Neil deGrasse Tyson’s TV show “StarTalk” was placed on hiatus late last year after sexual misconduct allegations against him were made public, National Geographic, the network that airs the program, said Thursday.
The most recent accusation was made by Ashley Watson, who worked as Dr. Tyson’s assistant on another show, “Cosmos.” Dr. Tyson behaved inappropriately with her, making comments “infused with sexual innuendoes,” she said Thursday. She said she had quit her job as a result.
That accusation was published on the website Patheos in November, in an article that quoted another accuser, Katelyn N. Allers, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Bucknell University. She used the phrase “uncomfortable and creepy” to describe his behavior toward her at a party after an American Astronomical Society event in 2009. The article went on to detail a more serious allegation that had been made before by Tchiya Amet El Maat, who accused Dr. Tyson of having raped her when they were graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin.
In a 1,600-word Facebook post last month, Dr. Tyson described the first two incidents as benign and denied the third.
“Accusations can damage a reputation and a marriage,” he wrote. “Sometimes irreversibly. I see myself as loving husband and as a public servant — a scientist and educator who serves at the will of the public.”
Fox Broadcasting and National Geographic, which broadcast “Cosmos,” said in November that they were launching an investigation. At the same time, National Geographic quietly placed “StarTalk” on hiatus until the investigation was completed. Season 5 began in November, according to the show’s website, but only three episodes have aired. “Cosmos” is scheduled to begin its new season in March. A spokeswoman for the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where Dr. Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium, said it was conducting an investigation as well.
The suspension was first reported by Variety.
“We stopped airing new episodes of ‘StarTalk’ at the same time so it would not impede the investigation,” said Christopher Albert, a spokesman for National Geographic. He said a decision would be made about the future of the show “once the investigation is complete.”
In an email on Thursday in response to a request for comment, Dr. Tyson said, “This is old news. Nothing has aired since the beginning of December.”
Ms. Watson said Thursday that she has spoken with two people as part of the investigation. On the Fox lot in Los Angeles, she met Anna Druker, vice president of employee relations at Fox. Ms. Watson said she met with Michael A. Robbins, the founder of Extti, a company that conducts workplace investigations, in Hollywood.
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