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Nat Geo continues to put Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk on hold amid sexual misconduct allegations
Nat Geo is keeping Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk off the air after allegations of sexual misconduct were leveled against the scientist and media personality in late November, Variety has confirmed. However, it seems that this may only be a temporary precaution.
“In order to allow the investigation to occur unimpeded we chose to hold new episodes of StarTalk until it is complete,” a rep for Nat Geo told Variety. “We expect that to happen in the next few weeks, at which time we’ll make a final decision.”
Among the accusers are Bucknell University professor Dr. Katelyn N. Allers, who claimed she was groped by Tyson in 2009, and Tyson's former assistant, Ashley Watson, who alleged multiple and unwanted sexual advances were made by her boss. In 2016, musician Tchiya Amet posted about how Tyson purportedly drugged her with the intention of making sexual advantages while both of them were graduate students at the University of Texas — Austin in the '80s.
After the claims of Dr. Allers and Ms. Watson were made public, Tyson addressed the growing controversy by saying he would "welcome" an investigation into what he characterized as false accusations.
"I’m the accused, so why believe anything I say? Why believe me at all?" he wrote in a lengthy post on Facebook. "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."
Based on Tyson's podcast of the same name, StarTalk follows a talk-show format, during which Tyson sits down with celebrities to discuss science. Currently in its fifth season, the show has played host to high-profile guests like George Takei, Christopher Nolan, Bill Clinton, Seth MacFarlane, Buzz Aldrin, and even Stephen Hawking.
Season 5 only aired three of its episodes — beginning in November — before the allegations began to make headlines and an investigation was opened. This halted all other episodes that were meant to debut between December and now. That being said, it looks like Cosmos: Possible Worlds (in which Tyson narrates and appears on-camera) will still premiere on Fox March 3 before hitting Nat Geo the very next day.