In a post titled "Disgraceful exploitation", PZ Myers writes:
A woman says she was raped by Neil deGrasse Tyson in grad school. She contacted me and asked me to share her story. But here’s the disgraceful exploitation that’s going on.
She did not know who I am, at all. She came to me because she was advised to…by slymepitters. The same people who have been indignant for years that women might speak out against harassers. They are trying to deploy this woman as a weapon.
Now, unfortunately, I looked at her story. I can’t say she’s wrong, and she’s definitely sincere, and I can’t rule out the possibility, but her supporting evidence is terribly weak: it’s her personal testimony, which I do not reject, with no other evidence. Her web page does not help her case at all, either — it’s a lot of astrology, and a scattering of youtube videos that are completely irrelevant to her claim. That’s it.
I told her that I won’t go on the record supporting her accusation, because there is no corroborating evidence at all to support it. I took her story seriously, read the case she made, and found no independent evidence to back up the claim that she even knew Tyson.
You can guess where this story is going next.
Now those same assholes are howling that I accepted the accusation against Shermer with no evidence, and that I’m not accepting this one because the victim is a black woman. They must believe their own lies.
I treated this case in exactly the same way as the one against Shermer. What these people have forgotten (or are intentionally lying about) is that before I posted that story, (Post Titled: "What do you do when someone pulls the pin and hands you a grenade?") I got independent evidence that the woman was at the conference, that she was interacting with Shermer, that she was in his hotel room — there was opportunity. I further got accounts of the distress the woman experienced afterwards. Without all that, I might have been willing to believe her, but I would not have been able to step forward and present her account as true, believable, and supported by witnesses.
It’s the same story here. I am willing to believe Tchiya Amet (although I’d rather not believe such a thing of Tyson), but there is no corroboration of any kind, and I cannot go before the public and state that a good case has been made that this crime occurred. It hasn’t.
But I can say that the exploitation of this woman’s pain by a group of people who have been consistent in denying the difficulties women face is one of the more cynically despicable acts I’ve seen them commit.
A comment on the post adds: