The National Geographic Channel said Thursday it has decided to pull Neil deGrasse Tyson's "StarTalk" off the air for the time being, citing a Fox Networks Group investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct that came to light five weeks ago.
“In order to allow the investigation to occur unimpeded we chose to hold new episodes of ‘StarTalk’ until it is complete,” a network spokesperson told Variety. “We expect that to happen in the next few weeks at which time we’ll make a final decision.”
“StarTalk” had aired just three episodes of its new season before new allegations by two women against the 60-year-old deGrasse Tyson surfaced in a story on the website Patheos, which describes itself as "the world’s leading multi-faith site dedicated hosting the conversation on faith."
In a story published Nov. 29, Bucknell University professor Katelyn Allers alleged deGrasse Tyson had groped her at an astronomy meeting in 2009.
Allers said that, while the alleged groping wasn't assault from her perspective, it proved deGrasse Tyson could engage in “creepy behavior.”
Another woman, Ashley Watson, also told Patheos that the renowned astrophysicist had made inappropriate sexual advances toward her after he had promoted her to be his assistant.
DeGrasse Tyson vehemently denied the accusations in a Dec. 1 Facebook post.
“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.”
“In any claim, evidence matters. Evidence always matters," he continued. "But what happens when it’s just one person’s word against another’s, and the stories don’t agree? That’s when people tend to pass judgment on who is more credible than whom. And that’s when an impartial investigation can best serve the truth – and would have my full cooperation to do so.”
In 2014, a former college classmate of deGrasse Tyson's at the University of Texas, Tchiya Amet, accused him in a blog post of drugging and raping her back in the 1980s.
The decision to pull "StarTalk" comes two months before a 13-episode series “Cosmos: Possible Worlds,” hosted by deGrasse Tyson is scheduled to premiere on March 4.
“Cosmos: Possible Worlds” will first air on Fox-TV before airing on National Geographic in 172 countries and 43 languages, according to Variety.
The National Geographic Channel is owned by 21st Century Fox.