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Television

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s ‘StarTalk’ season on hold amid investigations into misconduct allegations

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“StarTalk” host Neil deGrasse Tyson.
(National Geographic Channels)

The current season of the science-based talk show “StarTalk” is on hold following recent sexual misconduct allegations made against host Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The National Geographic channel will not air any new episodes of “StarTalk” until the investigation into the astrophysicist is completed, the Times has confirmed.

“In order to allow the investigation to occur unimpeded we chose to hold new episodes of ‘Star Talk’ until it is complete,” the network told Variety on Thursday. “We expect that to happen in the next few weeks at which time we’ll make a final decision.”

In November, two women accused Tyson of sexual misconduct in a story published on Patheos. Katelyn N. Allers, a physics and astronomy professor at Bucknell University, claimed she was “felt up” by Tyson at a 2009 party in an encounter she described as “uncomfortable and creepy.”

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In the same story Tyson’s former assistant Ashley Watson accused him of “inappropriate sexual advances” that forced her to quit her job.

Allers and Watson’s allegations followed those made several years ago by Tchiya Amet, who accused Tyson of rape while the two were graduate students at University of Texas at Austin in the 1980s.

Tyson addressed the three women’s claims in a Facebook post offering his versions of the accounts, and said he welcomed “an independent investigation” by NatGeo and 21st Century Fox, which owns a majority stake in National Geographic media.

“In any claim, evidence matters,” Tyson said in his post. “But what happens when it’s just one person’s word against another’s, and the stories don’t agree? … That’s when an impartial investigation can best serve the truth.”

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The fifth season of “StarTalk” kicked off in November and had aired only a handful of episodes before it was put on hold. Previously announced guests for the season include author George R.R. Martin, former Vice President Al Gore and “Science Guy” Bill Nye.

In addition to NatGeo’s “StarTalk,” Tyson is the host of “Cosmos: Possible Worlds,” a follow-up to 2014’s Emmy Award-winning “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.” “Possible Worlds” is scheduled to premiere in March on Fox.

tracy.brown@latimes.com

Twitter: @tracycbrown


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