Sunday, December 02, 2018

et tu, Neil?

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the nerdy astrophysicist who took over Carl Sagan's role as the host of a TV show called "Cosmos," has been accused by three women (three so far) of sexual harassment and outright assault. Two of the complaints involve inappropriate groping; the third complaint involves pulling a Cosby, i.e., drugging and raping the victim. As was true with "America's dad" Bill Cosby, I find the accusations against Tyson hard to believe—and even harder to believe after the nonsense we just saw with Brett Kavanaugh. At the same time, I'm seeing bitter comments online about how, now that it's a prominent liberal in the hot seat, due process is suddenly a concern, and how Tyson's race may ultimately act as a protective shield: accusing a black man, these days, is tantamount to racism—and besides, with Cosby having already been sacrificed at the altar of public opprobrium, Tyson should now be safe from that sort of attack. I suppose we'll find out more, in the coming days and weeks. Tyson has already written a lengthy denial on Facebook; you can read it here.

While I'm no fan of Tyson's politics, I've long found him to be an affable, scholarly, humorous, and authoritative presence on TV. These accusations take me aback, and to be honest, I dearly hope they aren't true. But as Tyson himself indicates in his written denial, we have to go where the evidence leads, and if these women turn out to possess evidence substantiating their claims, then I hope due process is followed, and that Tyson answers for his crimes.

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