Author Topic: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Addresses Sexual Misconduct Accusations  (Read 1169 times)

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Addresses Sexual Misconduct Accusations
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2018, 04:18:56 am »
ah geez.  Well, I guess we'll see what happens.  Whatever truths end up being revealed (more or less), this is a gut-punch to black science geek pride.  Also for the anti-science right-wingers out there, it's more ammo to "prove" that "coastal elites" are morally bankrupt about, well, everything.


For a variety of reasons, most justified, some unjustified, men accused of sexual impropriety in today’s “me-too” climate are presumed to be guilty by the court of public opinion. Emotions bypass due-process, people choose sides, and the social media wars begin.
In any claim, evidence matters.  Evidence always matters.  But what happens when it’s just one person’s word against another’s, and the stories don’t agree?  That’s when people tend to pass judgment on who is more credible than whom.  And that’s when an impartial investigation can best serve the truth – and would have my full cooperation to do so.
I’ve recently been publically accused of sexual misconduct. These accusations have received a fair amount of press in the past forty-eight hours, unaccompanied by my reactions. In many cases, it’s not the media’s fault.  I declined comment on the grounds that serious accusations should not be adjudicated in the press.  But clearly I cannot continue to stay silent.  So below I offer my account of each accusation.
The 2009 Incident
I am asked by thousands of people per year to take pictures with them.  A flattering, time consuming, but delightful chore.  As many in my fan-base can attest, I get almost giddy if I notice you’re wearing cosmic bling – clothing or jewelry or tattoos that portray the universe, either scientifically or artistically.  And I make it a priority to point out these adornments for the photograph.
A colleague at a well attended, after-conference, social gathering came up to me to ask for a photograph. She was wearing a sleeveless dress with a tattooed solar system extending up her arm.  And while I don’t explicitly remember searching for Pluto at the top of her shoulder, it is surely something I would have done in that situation. As we all know, I have professional history with the demotion of Pluto, which had occurred officially just three years earlier.  So whether people include it or not in their tattoos is of great interest to me.  I was reported to have “groped” her by searching “up her dress”, when this was simply a search under the covered part of her shoulder of the sleeveless dress.
I only just learned (nine years after) that she thought this behavior creepy.  That was never my intent and I’m deeply sorry to have made her feel that way. Had I been told of her discomfort in the moment, I would have offered this same apology eagerly, and on the spot.  In my mind’s eye, I’m a friendly and accessible guy, but going forward, I can surely be more sensitive to people’s personal space, even in the midst of my planetary enthusiasm.
Summer 2018 Incident
While filming this past summer, I had a (female) Production Assistant assigned to me, to ensure, among her countless tasks, that every ounce of my energy was efficiently allocated to the production needs of the show.  As part of this, she was also my driver, to and from the studio, ensuring that I arrive on time. In the car we would review details of the shoot and she would help me anticipate parts of the shoot to come. Across the many weeks of shooting she and I spent upwards of a hundred hours in one-on-one conversation.  We became so friendly that we talked about all manner of subjects, even social-personal ones, like the care of aging parents, sibling relationships, life in high school and college, hometown hobbies, race, gender, and so forth.  We also discussed less-personal topics in abundance, like rock lyrics, favorite songs in various musical genres, concert experiences, etc.  And we also talked about food – I’m kind of a foodie, and her fiancé was a chef. In short, we had a fun, talkative friendship.
She is a talented, warm and friendly person -- excellent traits for morale on a high pressure production. Practically everyone she knows on set gets a daily welcome-hug from her. I expressly rejected each hug offered frequently during the Production. But in its place I offered a handshake, and on a few occasions, clumsily declared, “If I hug you I might just want more.”  My intent was to express restrained but genuine affection.
In the final week of shooting, with just a few days left, as a capstone of our friendship, I invited her to wine & cheese at my place upon dropping me off from work.  No pressure. I serve wine & cheese often to visitors. And I even alerted her that others from the production were gathering elsewhere that evening, so she could just drop me off and head straight there or anywhere elsewhere. She freely chose to come by for wine & cheese and I was delighted.  In the car, we had started a long conversation that could continue unabated.  Production days are long. We arrived late, but she was on her way home two hours later.
Afterwards, she came into my office to told me she was creeped out by the wine & cheese evening.  She viewed the invite as an attempt to seduce her, even though she sat across the wine & cheese table from me, and all conversation had been in the same vein as all other conversations we ever had.
Further, I never touched her until I shook her hand upon departure.  On that occasion, I had offered a special handshake, one I learned from a Native elder on reservation land at the edge of the Grand Canyon.  You extend your thumb forward during the handshake to feel the other person’s vital spirit energy -- the pulse.  I’ve never forgotten that handshake, and I save it in appreciation of people with whom I’ve developed new friendships.
At that last meeting in my office, I apologized profusely. She accepted the apology.  And I assured her that had I known she was uncomfortable, I would have apologized on the spot, ended the evening, and possibly reminded her of the other social gathering that she could attend. She nonetheless declared it her last day, with only a few days left of production.
I note that her final gesture to me was the offer of a hug, which I accepted as a parting friend.
Early 1980s
I entered astrophysics graduate school directly out of college in 1980.  It’s a grueling adventure-marathon, and many people do not finish the PhD.  In fact, it was not uncommon for half the admitted students to leave after two or three years, finding some other kind of work in their lives.  While in graduate school I had several girlfriends, one of whom would become my wife of thirty years, a mathematical physicist -- we met in Relativity class.  Over this time I had a brief relationship with a fellow astro-graduate student, from a more recent entering class. I remember being intimate only a few times, all at her apartment, but the chemistry wasn’t there. So the relationship faded quickly. There was nothing otherwise odd or unusual about this friendship.
I didn't see much of her after that time.  Our student offices were on different floors of the building and we were not in the same classes.  A few years later, I ran into her, pregnant, with who I think was the father by her side. That’s when I had learned that she dropped out of graduate school.  Again, this is not itself an unusual fact, but I nonetheless wished her well in motherhood and in whatever career path would follow.
More than thirty years later, as my visibility-level took another jump, I read a freshly posted blog accusing me of drugging and raping a woman I did not recognize by either photo or name.  Turned out to be the same person who I dated briefly in graduate school.  She had changed her name and lived an entire life, married with children, before this accusation.
For me, what was most significant, was that in this new life, long after dropping out of astrophysics graduate school, she was posting videos of colored tuning forks endowed with vibrational therapeutic energy that she channels from the orbiting planets.  As a scientist, I found this odd. Meanwhile, according to her blog posts, the drug and rape allegation comes from an assumption of what happened to her during a night that she cannot remember.  It is as though a false memory had been implanted, which, because it never actually happened, had to be remembered as an evening she doesn’t remember. Nor does she remember waking up the next morning and going to the office. I kept a record of everything she posted, in case her stories morphed over time.  So this is sad, which, for me, defies explanation.
I note that this allegation was used as a kind of solicitation-bait by at least one journalist to bring out of the woodwork anybody who had any encounter with me that left them uncomfortable.
I’m the accused, so why believe anything I say? Why believe me at all?
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.
Accusations can damage a reputation and a marriage. 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.  I am grateful for the support I’ve received from those who continue to respect and value me and my work.
Respectfully submitted,  Neil deGrasse Tyson, New York City
Be Kind to Someone Today.

Offline Battle

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Re: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Addresses Sexual Misconduct Accusations
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2018, 04:34:28 am »
Let's see...   the tally now stands at 4 women making the same claim.

According to writer Reid Nakamura:

"Yeah, but, ummm-m-m-m...  Well, I..., Well, I..., Well, I..."

Neil DeGrasse Tyson has been accused of sexual misconduct by a fourth woman, who says the star scientist sexually harassed her at a party in 2010.

The woman, who remains anonymous, described the incident in a Buzzfeed News report published on Wednesday, that also includes accounts by Tyson's three previous accusers.

According to Buzzfeed, the unnamed woman said Tyson drunkenly approached her at a holiday part for the American Museum of Natural History and made sexually charged jokes, asking her to join him alone in his office.

Buzzfeed reports that the woman also shared a 2014 email she wrote to her employer describing the incident in order to discourage the employer from inviting Tyson to speak at an event.

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Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Re: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Addresses Sexual Misconduct Accusations
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2018, 12:50:50 pm »
Did these Black fools really think Cosby would fall alone?

Offline Battle

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Re: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Addresses Sexual Misconduct Accusations
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2019, 02:45:25 pm »
Wednesday, 22nd May 2019
Four More Women Have Accused Tony Robbins Of Sexual Misconduct
by Katie J.M. Baker  and Jane Bradley

"Yeah, but, ummm-m-m-m...  Well, I..., Well, I..., Well, I..."

Four more women have come forward to accuse the self-help guru Tony Robbins of sexual misconduct in the wake of a BuzzFeed News investigation.

The women — three former followers and a personal assistant — said Robbins groped them, exposed himself, or made unwanted advances during the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s.

BuzzFeed News revealed on Friday that Robbins has used his fame to berate victims of rape and violence, while former staffers and fans have accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior.

A total of nine former staffers and followers have now recounted incidents in which Robbins made sexual advances or was naked in front of them — and eight of them said they were upset by his actions.

In new exclusive interviews, Kimberly Stokes, who worked as a live-in personal assistant for Robbins when she was 22 years old, told BuzzFeed News that he once walked into her bathroom while she was showering and “dropped his towel,” exposing himself. Stokes said that she had already rebuffed his advances once before.

Sophiah Koikas said that Robbins pulled her hand onto his crotch to feel his penis and groped her breast at a Hawaii seminar. Another woman, Mary Lantz, said that Robbins sexually harassed her at an event she attended in Ohio — telling her she was “driving him crazy,” kissing her, hugging her, and touching her breast.

A fourth woman, Lucie Galvez, said that Robbins asked her “How do you feel about nudity?” during an interview for a personal assistant job around 2001, when she was in her early twenties. She said that Robbins told her that the role would involve working in close quarters with him and his then-girlfriend, and that the couple might be naked. Galvez said that she found the interview “sexually inappropriate, almost predatory.”
“It felt like I was getting interviewed for sexual threesomes as opposed to an assistant’s job,” she told BuzzFeed News.

Robbins said in a statement through his lawyers that he “absolutely denies” each of the allegations and “specifically denies that he engaged in any of the alleged conduct” with the four women. The lawyers said there were no records of any of the women lodging “any type of verbal or written complaint” with his company.

In a letter from his lawyers before the publication of Friday’s story, Robbins vehemently denied “engaging in any alleged ‘inappropriate sexual behavior’” and said he was “never intentionally naked” in front of staff. “To the extent that he may have been unclothed at various times in his home or in hotels when working while either dressing or showering, and whether a personal assistant may have been present for some reason at that time, Mr. Robbins has no recollection,” his lawyers said in a letter.

BuzzFeed News reported Friday that one former assistant to Robbins, Kate Rittase, said she considered seeing him naked to be part of her job and viewed his teachings as “life-transforming.” Robbins’ lawyers have since produced screenshots of messages in which Rittase claimed her statements to BuzzFeed News were taken out of context and reiterated that the life coach had always been “respectful, professional and appropriate” toward her.

Robbins is the world’s most famous self-help coach, and he claims to have helped millions of fans overcome their darkest difficulties, while building a multibillion-dollar business and working with celebrities including Oprah, Serena Williams, the Kardashians, Donald Trump, and Bill Clinton.
But he now faces mounting scrutiny, after more women have come forward with stories of inappropriate behavior.

Kimberly Stokes started working for Robbins in 1988. She said she had been abused as a child and was homeless after she left her family at the age of 14, and the new role meant living with the life coach and his first wife in San Diego.

Stokes said she got her job with Robbins after selling family heirloom jewellery to buy a plane ticket to one of his events. “I was using it to save my life,” she told BuzzFeed News. “Tony knew my whole background, so when he was taking advantage or when he was being inappropriate, he understood the scope of what was going on.”

Stokes said that the guru first hit on her after he took her to a mountain in his helicopter. When they landed, he told her that he found her “really attractive” and was interested in her romantic life, she said. Stokes said they briefly kissed but she refused to go any further, telling him she didn’t get involved with married men behind their wives’ backs. She worried that she “may have got hired for the wrong reasons” but carried on working at his house, she said.

Around a month later, when she was showering in her bathroom at Robbins’ home, Stokes said, she pulled back the shower curtain and saw him standing there in a towel. Stokes said Robbins then dropped his towel and exposed himself. She remembered “freaking out” and shouting at him to leave.
“I was furious, because it broke trust,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I don’t bullsh*t. If I said no, I meant no.”

BuzzFeed News spoke with two other former Robbins staffers who confirmed that Stokes had told them about the incident shortly after it occurred. The men asked not to be named.

Stokes said that she felt “caught” afterward because she was in California alone, with no family, no savings, and no connections outside of Robbins’ world. She said she was fired eight months later for throwing a “wild party,” something she denies she did. “I felt retraumatized,” she said. “I did all of this to save myself and here I was in the middle of nowhere.”

Stokes said she decided to speak out about Robbins because “I just want him to stop his behavior towards women and I don’t want anybody else to be hurt.”

Robbins’ lawyers denied Stokes’ allegations and pointed out that she referred to her time working for him in a positive light on her website.

Sophiah Koikas attended a Robbins multiweek seminar in Hawaii in the early 1990s. She recalled standing with a group of people when Robbins walked by and started shaking his fans’ hands. “When he took mine he pushed it against his penis,” she told BuzzFeed News. “It freaked me out ... I tried to pull my hand away as fast as I could, but he had a grip on my hand so tight and he wouldn't let go.”

At a firewalk during that same event, Robbins groped Koikas’s breast instead of touching her shoulder like he did with other participants, she said. “He cupped my whole left breast, grabbed it, and then shook it.”
A man from Robbins’ circle also approached Koikas with a message during the event, she said. “Tony thinks you’re cute. Would you like to know him and meet him?” she recalled him saying. She said she declined, saying she thought Robbins was married. The man “just shrugged off what I said,” she said.

Koikas added that she was upset by Robbins’ behavior but attended another event a few years later. “At the time, we didn’t talk about these issues,” she said. “We just thought he was a weird creep.”
She kept her experience to herself for years. “I didn't tell my family because I didn't want them to worry about me,” she said. A friend of Koikas’s confirmed to BuzzFeed News that she had confided about two years ago that Robbins had groped her breast and pressed her hand to his penis, and that a Robbins associate had asked Koikas if she wanted to “come back and meet him” but that she had declined.
While Koikas said she could not be absolutely certain of the exact dates, she said her memories of Robbins’ behavior were unwavering. She provided BuzzFeed News with event photos and a letter from a fellow attendee dated September 9, 1991.

Robbins’ lawyers denied her allegations and pointed to a video she posted on YouTube to raise doubts about her “reliability” as a source of information. The video shows Koikas posing by a tree in a long summer dress.

Mary Lantz said she attended her first Robbins seminar in Cleveland, Ohio. Her then-boyfriend bought her the ticket because she was going through a tough time. She had read Robbins’ books and considered herself a fan.
(Lantz recalled that she attended the event around 1990. Robbins led seminars in Cleveland around that time, according to newspaper reports.)

Lantz said that Robbins singled her out for special attention from the start. When he spoke about the importance of body language in communication, she said, he jumped off the stage and walked over to her, picking her up and swinging her around. At that point, she said, she didn’t think too much of the attention.
But when the seminar paused for the first break, Lantz said that Robbins left the stage and beckoned her over to him. “He put his arm around me and he said — and I will never forget it — ‘Will you come and sit in the front row of my seminar every time? Because you’re driving me crazy.’” She remembered him pulling her towards him in a hug, kissing her on the cheek, and wrapping his arm around her so that it was cupping the side of her breast.

“The whole thing was creepy, I was in amazement that he would do that in front of thousands of people,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I felt like it was sexual harassment. We didn’t have that word back then but I felt he was hitting on me.”

He told her to wait for him when he called for a lunch break, but she said she went for lunch alone. When she returned, she said he asked her where she had gone.

“Where was I supposed to be?” she recalled asking him.

“With me,” she said he replied.

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