190316 Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson Image Credit: AP

The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson will return to television after the broadcasters of his shows announced on Friday that they had completed their investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him.

“The investigation is complete, and we are moving forward with both ‘StarTalk’ and ‘Cosmos,’” Fox Broadcasting and National Geographic said of his two shows. “‘StarTalk’ will return to the air with the remaining 13 episodes in April on National Geographic, and both Fox and National Geographic are committed to finding an air date for ‘Cosmos.’ There will be no further comment.”

The statement did not say what investigators concluded about the complaints. Tyson was accused in December of behaving inappropriately with two women, in an article published by the website Patheos.

One accusation came from Ashley Watson, his assistant on ‘Cosmos’, who said that during a visit to his apartment, which she took to be a work visit, he made her feel uncomfortable by holding her hands and looking into her eyes in what he called a Native American handshake. As she was leaving, she said, he told her, “I want you to know that I want to hug you so bad right now, but I know that if I do I’ll just want more.” She quit the show.

The other account came from Katelyn N Allers, a physics and astronomy professor, who said that while examining her tattoo of the solar system, Tyson had followed it into her dress. The article also revisited an earlier accusation against Tyson levelled by Tchiya Amet El Maat, who has accused him of raping her in 1984 when they were graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin.

In a lengthy Facebook post written at the time, Tyson described the first two instances as harmless gestures. He denied the allegation of rape.

“Accusations can damage a reputation and a marriage,” he wrote. “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.”

A spokesman for National Geographic said Tyson would not comment beyond the statement sent by National Geographic and Fox.

Amet said she was interviewed by a representative from Fox as part of its investigation, as well as someone from the American Museum of Natural History, where Tyson directs the Hayden Planetarium. A spokeswoman for the museum said its investigation was not complete.

“I feel ignored,” Amet said on Friday. She said she planned to become “more vocal, more active” in response.

Watson said that this case was “always the word of a low-level assistant and a perceived eccentric woman of colour against an extremely powerful and wealthy TV personality,” so she was not at all surprised by the news.

“I spoke up for Tchiya and wish her nothing but peace,” Watson said. “She has my support and I believe her.”

Allers did not respond to a request for comment.