Readers will remember celebrity atheist physicist Larry Krauss. We first heard the story about the sexual harassment charges at Buzzfeed in February. Krauss announced his retirement last week but has also offered a lengthy rebuttal to the accusations.
Among other things, he says the physics of some of the allegations doesn’t hold up:
One piece of evidence against Krauss was a photo he took with a fan, who is leaning back toward him to take a selfie. She claimed the photo showed his hand moving toward her breast just before he grabbed it. Krauss says a closer examination of the photo clearly shows his hand is actually moving away from the woman’s breast. He said he should have caught this earlier, being a physicist. After showing the photo to colleagues, he said, they agreed with the trajectory of his hand.
In yet another accusation, Krauss was accused of showing an inappropriate drawing to staff members. He said it was “an admittedly juvenile drawing trick” he learned in fifth grade but that he drew it only after their “enthusiastic consent.” He said there was “more sexually explicit material in Disney movies.”
The accusations against Krauss appear to be exaggerated, but he said that even if some were true, none rose to the level of “severe and pervasive” that warranted his firing, he said. Ashe Schowe, “Physicist Uses Physics To Rebut Sexual Misconduct Allegations” at Daily Wire
I (O’Leary for News) can’t speak to the specific accusations but, as a matter of possible interest, I had a brief story-related run-in with him back in 2009, when I offered a mild riposte to his takedown of film producers who misrepresent physics in popular sci fi films. I said I had enjoyed his presentation but that the filmmaker must put butts in seats to make back the millions spent and that we ought to be glad if the misrepresentations are not more serious. He responded,
Needless to say, Ms. O’Leary misunderstood, or mis-represented much of what I said.. but I now realize the reason for this, as it seemed she was at the wrong meeting. It was for science writers and not religious writers, which, as far as I can tell from her blog, is what she is. Her conceptions of science, and her understanding of modern issues, seems very confused Denyse O’Leary, “Physicist Lawrence Krauss explains to Canadian science communicators: There are NOT two sides to a story (just his side?)” at Salvo
More at Colliding Universes.
I got the impression that Krauss is one of those people who just don’t understand the effect they are having on others. In Sensitive Snowflake City, that failing can become career fatal, it seems, whether or not other things happened as well.
“I’m just shocked that this man’s life was ruined over this collection of reactions to his behavior,” says Elizabeth Loftus, a UC Irvine experimental psychologist who has vocally supported Ayala. After reading the report, she said the “thin” allegations “are far, far from the obviously bad behaviors that we want to be punishing. I feel like: ‘Who’s next?’” Meredith Wadman, “Report gives details of sexual harassment allegations that felled a famed geneticist” at Science
Well, if Ayala was Me-Too’d without really doing very much, he certainly inflates the status of the Me Too’s. Keep an eye on the file.
Follow UD News at Twitter!
See also: At Buzzfeed: Serious sexual assault allegations against celebrity physicist Lawrence Krauss
Francisco Ayala has stepped down in sexual harassment controversy at University of California Irvine
AAAS introduces new policy for expelling members which seems to be aimed at seem to be harassment rather than research fraud. Ayala was president of AAAS in 1995.