By Phill  |  10-28-2017   News
Photo credit: patheos.com

Neil Degrasse Tyson has been accused of rape. To be fair, this isn't a new accusation either. The alleged rape itself would have occured in 1983 when Neil Degrasse Tyson was working as a teaching assistant at the University of Texas Austin. Tyson is accused by Tchiya Amet who alleges that she was drugged by Tyson in 1983 when he was a teaching assistant at the University of Texas-Austin. Hontas Farmer wrote about Tchiya's account in the midst of multiple cases of sexual abuse and assault in the field of Astrophysics, represented with the hashtag #astroSH.

<blockquote>I went to his apartment to visit like I did almost every day. He was like my big brother, or so I thought. He offered me a glass of water. I accepted a liquid in a cup made out of a coconut shell. I recall coming back to consciousness briefly, then next thing I remember is seeing him in the hallway the next day. I have lived in this nightmare for 30 years, and it stops today.- Tchiya Amet October 2014</blockquote>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Tchiya Amet wrote in 2014 how Neil deGrasse Tyson drugged and raped her while she was in college. <a href="https://t.co/xkwI05BS21">https://t.co/xkwI05BS21</a></p>&mdash; Captain Gay AF ️ (@ncanarchist) <a href="https://twitter.com/ncanarchist/status/923961061610545152?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 27, 2017</a></blockquote>

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For those who are quick to cry of "witchhunt," she's not alleging "inappropriate behavior" such as leers or innuendo. This is not a case of "flirting gone wrong." Despite other women having come forward and their claims believed, Tchiya has been called a loon or profiteer. Definitely an atypical situation in comparison to the outpouring of respect and compassion for survivors of abuse since the Weinstein scandal opened the floodgates.

Neil Degrasse Tyson, from the time he hosted Cosmos, has been a de facto replacement for Carl Sagan. Like Sagan, he is widely loved by many. As a result, there is already a chorus warning that she is just riding the trend of the #MeToo campaign. However, her initial revelation in 2014 came a full year before the rest of the Astrophysics sexual harassment cases rocked the science community. Rather than jumping on the bandwagon, her accusations that Neil Degrasse Tyson drugged and raped her came before Bill Cosby was accused of similar. It came before other sex scandals rocked the Astrophysics scientific community. The difference between those and hers primaily is that it has to this day fallen primarily on deaf ears.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Was molested more than once by a Physics Professor. Guess it runs in the Sciences, huh? I posted a blog about Oberlin Fucking College.</p>&mdash; tchiya amet (@tchiya) <a href="https://twitter.com/tchiya/status/923499930777350145?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 26, 2017</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote>A very dim and distant second to that is that her very detailed post “End the silence” was met with over a year of silence. That is until she tweeted it out under #astroSH, then it was retweeted by myself and a few others. The to add insult to injury it was said that we were “weaponising” her accusation by tweeting it out then pointing out the lack of response after waiting most of a day.</blockquote>

According to CCNY Professor Hontas Farmer, a police report was filed but nothing was done about it. Others have attempted to besmirch her name by pointing out she was institutionalized in 1986. If her memories are to be believed (and if Honta is correct, her memories may be corroborated by more palpable evidence) then she was a virgin when she was first raped in college. At least from then on, her personal boundaries had been so grossly defiled she became more likely to be subject to other serial abusers. Those who haven't experienced any sort of serious and traumatic abuse most likely can't fully appreciate what it's like to have your boundaries violently violated time and again. This is a reason victims of abuse find themselves in patterns of similar circumstances or relationships.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you. It is still disturbng. At least I no longer go into fetal posture when his face appears on tv or social media.</p>&mdash; tchiya amet (@tchiya) <a href="https://twitter.com/tchiya/status/922734533971034112?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 24, 2017</a></blockquote>

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Honta has another point as well. Since Bill Cosby, nearly without exception, when a high profile man is accused of rape the press and the people get on the bandwagon to revile them. Not so for Tchiya. Sadly, the radio silence on this reminds me of <a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/9984-Quinn-Norton-Reveals-Silicon-Valley-Sexual-Abuse-from-Robert-Scoble">Robert Scoble's Silicon Valley sexual abuse scandal</a> and the ensuing radio silence. The Goldwater broke this story several hours ahead of Buzzfeed, NY mag, USA Today and others. Nearly a full 24 hours before TechCrunch, which was one of the first to report it. Seems to be some reticence in certain odd cases for these types of affairs to be taken seriously.

Professor Hontas Farmer:

<quote>For the sake of this post and to hilite the disturbing aspects of this whole affair I accepted this accusation at face value. It sounds plausible. It was written a full year ago, before even most of the accusations against Bill Cosby came about… and describes the same kind of MO as Bill Cosby is accused of using. All I can say for certain is this sounds plausible that Neil D. Tyson raped Tchiya Amet and That the SJW's of #astroSH ignored it, for a year, and continue to ignore it, or brand those who write about it as somehow anti-woman. (At this point being called such for standing up for Tchiya Amet … I officially no longer care about such labels they are empty and without substance when used by that lot.)</quote>

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">So who else had never heard the Neil deGrasse Tyson rape allegations from his time at UT in the ‘80s? <a href="https://t.co/73wFMcvdUq">https://t.co/73wFMcvdUq</a></p>&mdash; George A. Hickman (@popmortem) <a href="https://twitter.com/popmortem/status/917812156481069056?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 10, 2017</a></blockquote>

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It's interesting to note that <a href="http://alcalde.texasexes.org/2012/02/star-power/">the reason for Tyson leaving University of Texas is murky at best</a>. His advisors dissolved his dissertation committee. Generally this only happens in the case of plagiarism or cheating. Could he have been given a bye? A slap on the wrist for assaulting students but no specific mark for the what or why? He mentions "racism" as a cause and being questioned by the police. Could one of these times he was questioned be what Professor Farmer was talking about? It's now been 4 years since Tchiya first made her story public, a year since the second time she aired this painful portion of her past. So far Tyson has said nothing. Sadly, as Professor Farmer points out, one of the most plausible ways for Ms. Amet to get justice may be to draw Neil out. If he attempted to sue for libel or defamation and she has any evidence, then maybe, just maybe she can get her day in court.

UPDATE:

Tchiya Amet also stated:

<blockquote>I was a college student at Oberlin and grad student at UT Austin. He was never my teacher; I was never in his class or anything. We just knew each other as friends in the dept. I looked up to him as my big brother: were were the only Black people in the department.</blockquote>

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4 Comment/s


Anonymous No. 10501 1509219753

Sadly, this doesn't suprise me a great deal.

Anonymous No. 10507 1509225445

wow, amazing that this story has come up time and again, but nobody is willing to touch it. I notice Tyson isn't responding to comments about it on Twitter. Pretty suspicious.

Scorned No. 10650 1509360497

I highly believe that this someone using the severity of rape and/or harassment to attempt some sort of retribution or haranguing.

Until she presents evidence or reliable witnesses im not gonna believe it.

Unbeliever No. 10919 1509595837

This stuff is getting out of hand! Why wouldn’t she have said something back then? Why wait until the Bill Cosby revelations? It makes no sense. Good for Neil for not taking part in a witch hunt.

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