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jimmy m
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02 Dec 2018, 3:53 pm

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist, author and television celibrity. He appears on shows "Cosmos" and "Star Talk". He is now being accused of sexual misconduct. Neil deGrasse Tyson addresses sexual misconduct allegations

Now I do not want to discuss guilt or innocence. That should be left to the court system.

But rather the possibility that Neil Tyson has Asperger's Syndrome. He is being accused by three women. His responses sounds like an Aspie mindset.

Katelyn Allers, an associate professor at Bucknell University, recalled a 2009 meeting with Tyson. She reports he groped her. She must have had tattoos of planets and Neil became obsesses to find out if she had a tattoo of the planet Pluto. From an astrophysicist perspective, Pluto was reclassified in 2006 from a planet to a dwarf planet, there was widespread outrage on behalf of the demoted planet. So it is quite understandable from an Aspie point of view to be obsessed with everything about his special interest planets, even a Pluto tattoo.

His response to this allegation was “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,” he said. “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. [How many times has the words or actions of an Aspie been misinterpreted by NTs.]

A second woman, Ashley Watson, told Patheos she was forced to quit her job as Tyson’s assistant after he made inappropriate sexual advances toward her. The former assistant said he invited her to his apartment. She indicated the meeting was uncomfortable and ended with an “awkward and incredibly intimate handshake.”

Tyson wrote in his Facebook post that he never touched Watson aside from the special handshake he had learned from a Native American elder on reservation land. “I’ve never forgotten that handshake, and I save it in appreciation of people with whom I’ve developed new friendships”

So who else would respond in this manner except for an Aspie.

The third woman, Tchiya Amet, accused Tyson of drugging and raping her when they were grad students at University of Texas in 1984. Amet, who previously went by Staci Hambric, told Patheos that the alleged sexual encounter caused her to drop out of the astronomy program and seek therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. “I woke up in his bed; I was naked… When he saw that I had woken up, he got on top of me and mounted me, and I passed out again,” Amet recalled. Now on a scale from 1 to 10 this is a very serious allegation.

Tyson denied the drug and rape allegation and said it has been 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 watched a YouTube video by Tyson. Neil deGrasse Tyson on dyslexia And he seems to have a clear understanding of Asperger's

So I guess from my perspective I would like for this to be resolved in a court of law and not the court of public opinion. I hope that the networks don't automatically convict him without a fair trial and that his career be left intact until proven guilty in a court of law. Too much of the time in today's world, one is considered guilty unless proven innocent. That is unfair.



Last edited by jimmy m on 02 Dec 2018, 4:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

blazingstar
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02 Dec 2018, 4:01 pm

^^^^ especially when a disability is involved.


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02 Dec 2018, 11:07 pm

I've watched several Tyson interviews in the past and it never crossed my mind that he is autistic.



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02 Dec 2018, 11:30 pm

I agree with Ezra. To my mind Charlie Rose seems more autistic than Tyson. Not that being autistic is any excuse for criminal behavior.


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jimmy m
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03 Dec 2018, 12:48 am

In reviewing internet searches on Neil, I don't see any evidence of official diagnosis.

His interest in astronomy began at the age of nine after visiting the sky theater of the Hayden Planetarium. He recalled that "so strong was that imprint [of the night sky] that I'm certain that I had no choice in the matter, that in fact, the universe called me." Tyson obsessively studied astronomy in his teen years, and eventually even gained some fame in the astronomy community by giving lectures on the subject at the age of fifteen.

So he developed a special interest at an early age and wove that interest into his life.

I came across this video where he is discussing Autism. Dispelling Stereotypes about Autism - Neil deGrasse Tyson, Dr. Paul Wang, Chuck Nice

Now I am an extreme introvert and find it very difficult to give a presentation. But I am able to present well because I prepare meticulously whenever I give a talk. Tyson does not seem to display any Aspie characteristics in this video, except one - He seems to have a typed out script right in front of him.

Anyways it is an interesting theory. Probably never know for sure.



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03 Dec 2018, 11:42 am

I used to teach and lead groups on nature walks, etc. I was the enthusiastic and encouraging teacher and lecturer that Tyson now is. If there were youtube videos of me teaching, you would not believe I was autistic either. As I have gotten older, it has been harder to put on, but it is what you put on for specific situations. I do believe there are people who absolutely flubb interpersonal relationships that cause huge misunderstandings. I agree with Jimmy that in general, it would be better to see the results of an investigation, evidence and/or trial before condemning anyone as guilty.

No one should get a free pass for criminal activity. On the other hand, a disability could and has resulted in actions that while criminal, are not understood to be criminal by the offender. I am not saying this is the case in Tyson's case, just that it does happen, especially for people with ID and autism.


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03 Dec 2018, 2:25 pm

I really enjoyed his version of "Cosmos", so I hope it's not true. It does tend to be though, when accusations by several different people come out. But until there is more information I will hold out hope that it's not true, because I like him and I appreciate his efforts to make science more fun to learn about and more accessible to the curious layman public.



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03 Dec 2018, 2:30 pm

One beneficial result of the #metoo movement may turn out to be that "victims" (or "survivors" if you prefer) give feedback much faster to the perp, whether directly or by prompt police report, so that the opportunity of serial mishaps is greatly lessened.

This doesn't apply to Bill Cosby, who I am sad to say acted much more like a sexual psychopath, but possibly does to Neil deGrasse Tyson, who probably was just socially awkward and should have learned from his mistakes. (Though that one activity described above sounds more like actual rape.) Charlie Rose's behavior was known and talked about at his network and excused as "just Charlie being Charlie," and I hold all his colleagues who knew about it as enablers; but I have to say, if you have read the accounts, he really comes across as a guy who just doesn't understand women.

Of course, we don't know yet whether more reports will soon come out of the woodwork about Tyson.


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03 Dec 2018, 3:45 pm

Why do these women wait so long if there was anything to what they say?


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03 Dec 2018, 4:16 pm

envirozentinel wrote:
Why do these women wait so long if there was anything to what they say?
Fear of reprisal? Fear of ridicule? Fear of disbelief?

I wonder why anyone would wait until their alleged attacker had become rich and famous before going to the police.



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03 Dec 2018, 5:22 pm

jimmy m wrote:
She indicated the meeting was uncomfortable and ended with an “awkward and incredibly intimate handshake.”

Let that be a lesson to all of us: never shake hands with anyone.


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03 Dec 2018, 5:29 pm

Fnord wrote:
envirozentinel wrote:
Why do these women wait so long if there was anything to what they say?
Fear of reprisal? Fear of ridicule? Fear of disbelief?

I wonder why anyone would wait until their alleged attacker had become rich and famous before going to the police.

Embarrassment, shame... the thing about #MeToo is, it made it easier to admit the ugly truth. Just like the priest sex abuse in the Catholic church, I'm sure went on for centuries, but only recently it's much easier to come forward and report it because victims are finally being believed.


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03 Dec 2018, 6:10 pm

Fnord wrote:
envirozentinel wrote:
Why do these women wait so long if there was anything to what they say?
Fear of reprisal? Fear of ridicule? Fear of disbelief?

I wonder why anyone would wait until their alleged attacker had become rich and famous before going to the police.



when I was in high school, I did not recognize sexual abuse or sexual aggression or any of the things that are now accepted as wrong and illegal and are discussed in public. There was no sex education. Girls had to wear skirts to school. There was no internet, there was no youtube, no computers! No one wrote about it and no one talked about it. I probably did not understand what sexual abuse was until the 1980s? I wasn't in social sciences at that time, I was in the biological sciences.

So they did not report it when it happened because,

1) They did not recognize it was something to be reported.
2) They did not think they would be believed.
3) The people who did report rape, were treated badly by police and the courts. It used to be that all sexual activity by the complaining woman was open for the courts to pick apart and judge in public.
4) If it was a boyfriend or husband, no one recognized that as rape.
5) The only reason people are reporting now, is because it has become more or less acceptable. We only hear about the rich, wealthy ones because they are the ones who get the news coverage. If John Smith assaulted me in 1968, I would never hear about it if he did it again because there would be no news coverage. Also the rich can buy more protection and buy their way out of their troubles. If John Smith offered me a million dollars today to be quiet, I would take it. :D


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03 Dec 2018, 7:08 pm

blazingstar wrote:
Fnord wrote:
envirozentinel wrote:
Why do these women wait so long if there was anything to what they say?
Fear of reprisal? Fear of ridicule? Fear of disbelief?

I wonder why anyone would wait until their alleged attacker had become rich and famous before going to the police.



when I was in high school, I did not recognize sexual abuse or sexual aggression or any of the things that are now accepted as wrong and illegal and are discussed in public. There was no sex education. Girls had to wear skirts to school. There was no internet, there was no youtube, no computers! No one wrote about it and no one talked about it. I probably did not understand what sexual abuse was until the 1980s? I wasn't in social sciences at that time, I was in the biological sciences.

So they did not report it when it happened because,

1) They did not recognize it was something to be reported.
2) They did not think they would be believed.
3) The people who did report rape, were treated badly by police and the courts. It used to be that all sexual activity by the complaining woman was open for the courts to pick apart and judge in public.
4) If it was a boyfriend or husband, no one recognized that as rape.
5) The only reason people are reporting now, is because it has become more or less acceptable. We only hear about the rich, wealthy ones because they are the ones who get the news coverage. If John Smith assaulted me in 1968, I would never hear about it if he did it again because there would be no news coverage. Also the rich can buy more protection and buy their way out of their troubles. If John Smith offered me a million dollars today to be quiet, I would take it. :D


The concepts of aquantence rape sexual harrassment was not widely understood until the 90’s. Rape was thought of as a stranger attacking you in a dark alley or breaking into your house when your husband was away. If something happened at a party well too bad but s**t happens when the alchohol flows and since you dressed that way it was your fault anyway. This was far from a men only attitude as the remarks by Chrissie Hynde a few years ago demonstrate.


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04 Dec 2018, 3:34 am

envirozentinel wrote:
Why do these women wait so long if there was anything to what they say?
Fear, as stated above, can be one reason.

I think another very important reason is that there is still a lot of shame in it. Just having to say it is so hard, and it's not uncommon that it can take time before a victim can talk about it. Having something like that done to you can make you feel so worthless and dirty. Talking about it can be extremely hard.

'And it's no secret that the process involves invasive questions and examination, and a court case will be even worse if it even gets to that point (far too often these cases are dismissed), so it can seem pointless to even attempt to press charges.
Assuming their accusations are true (these cases in general, not this one in particular), it would very likely be easier to add your voice to someone else's report, because then you didn't have to initiate the process and you're not alone.


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