Arizona State University professor Lawrence Krauss, internationally known as an outspoken atheist and for his work on the symbolic "Doomsday Clock," has been put on paid leave by university officials after allegations of sexual misconduct were published in a recent BuzzFeed article.
The university, in a statement issued late Tuesday, said it began a review of the professor's conduct after it was contacted for the article.
"In an effort to avoid further disruption ... as the university continues to gather facts about the allegations, Krauss has been placed on paid leave and is prohibited from being on campus for the duration of the review," ASU said in a written statement.
Krauss, a theoretical physicist known internationally for his work, has denied the story's allegations. It includes at least nine allegations of inappropriate behavior or comments, some more detailed than others.
|Melody Hensley as a koala|
When Melody Hensley first met Lawrence Krauss, she was a 29-year-old makeup artist at a department store, and he was one of her intellectual idols. She ran an atheist website in her spare time and had just started volunteering for the Center for Inquiry (CFI), a nonprofit group committed to promoting science and reason above faith. She was hoping to build a career in the burgeoning “skeptics” movement, and Krauss was one of its brightest luminaries.Sounds like he was 16, but it doesn't really sound like a crime. And he looks to be fairly desperate.
At a CFI event in November 2006, Krauss asked Hensley for her card, and later, as she was leaving, asked her if she was “of age.” She brushed off the odd question, excited to meet a star skeptic. When he later emailed to invite her to dinner, she accepted. “I didn’t care if he flirted with me, I just wanted to be around somebody important, and I also wanted to get a job in this field,” Hensley told BuzzFeed News. “I thought I could handle myself.”
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Then, Hensley said, Krauss made a comment about her eye makeup, and got very close to her face. Suddenly, he lifted her by the arms and pushed her onto the bed beneath him, forcibly kissing her and trying to pull down the crotch of her tights. Hensley said she struggled to push him off. When he pulled out a condom, Hensley said, she got out from under him, said “I have to go,” and rushed out of the room.
Although not a household name, Lawrence Krauss is a big shot among skeptics, a community that rejects all forms of faith — from religion and the supernatural, to unproven alternative medicines, to testimonials based on memory and anecdote — in favor of hard evidence, reason, and science.
Krauss offers the scientific method — constantly questioning, testing hypotheses, demanding evidence — as the basis of morality and the answer to societal injustices. Last year, at a Q&A event to promote his latest book, the conversation came around to the dearth of women and minorities in science. “Science itself overcomes misogyny and prejudice and bias,” Krauss said. “It’s built in.”
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Women at skeptics meetings would often warn each other to avoid Krauss, she added, but conference organizers seemed reluctant to act. “He was a popular speaker,” Watson said. “None of them were interested in doing anything about what was happening.”
On one panel, Jen McCreight, then a biology PhD student, spoke out about the whisper network. Before going to her first big atheist meeting, she said, “unsolicited I got many emails from different individuals basically warning me which male speakers not to interact with as a young woman.”
She didn’t name names. But in August of 2013, with accusations swirling about sexual harassment by several other prominent atheists, McCreight pointed the finger at Krauss. On her Blag Hag blog, she described the experiences of two unnamed women. One was Hensley. The other asked BuzzFeed News to refer to her by her first initial, A.
A. was an undergraduate who had first met Krauss in 2008 at the annual American Atheists Convention through her work as a student atheist activist. Three years later, when she and other students walked into the bar at the same meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, A. recalled, Krauss pulled over a chair for her and started running his hand up her leg under the table.
“I kind of shifted away,” A. said. “He put his hand on again. I crossed my legs. He put his hand on again. And eventually I had to like physically turn my entire body.”
A. was shocked, but didn’t want to make a scene, she said. “The last thing I need to do is, you know, yell at Lawrence and then have to deal with any potential fallout.”
The allegations were purged from the web, but after a visit to Melbourne, Australia, in November 2016, Krauss was accused of sexual harassment once again.
The incident happened at a dinner held at the Melbourne Zoo as part of the Australian skeptics national convention, where Krauss was a featured speaker. Shortly before the conference, said Melanie Thomson, a microbiologist from Melbourne and another invited speaker, she was warned about Krauss’s reputation by Michael Brown, an astronomer at Monash University in Melbourne.
“So I was like a watchdog, making sure that nothing untoward happened,” Thomson told BuzzFeed News in November. With conference delegates chatting over drinks, one of her friends asked Krauss for a selfie. As the woman held out her phone to take the picture, Thomson said she saw Krauss reach over her friend’s shoulder and grab her right breast.
“As soon as she reacted, which was instantaneously, she bodychecked him and then she spun around,” Thomson said.
Two other attendees told BuzzFeed News that they also witnessed the incident. “I saw him reach for her breast,” Michael Marshall, a speaker at the meeting, told BuzzFeed News. “I saw her react.”
“I witnessed Lawrence Krauss reach and touch the victim’s breast,” Jo Alabaster, another speaker, told BuzzFeed News by email.I submit that Krauss's problem is that he goes to meetings where most of the women are Feminists (with a capital F) and SJWs. Never date an SJW!
The photograph in question shows Krauss’s hand in motion in front of the woman's shoulder. BuzzFeed News attempted to reach the woman in the photograph, but she did not respond.
Others at the conference said the woman mentioned the incident to them, and the selfie was passed around at a party she attended the next evening. She did not complain to the meeting’s organizers.
. . . In 2013, I wrote about the notorious Lawrence Krauss, and figured that anyone who Googled his name would know what a creep he is, but it took years — and the #MeToo movement — before other journalists decided to investigate the accusations against Professor Krauss. Peter Aldhous, Azeen Ghorayshi and Virginia Hughes of BuzzFeed spent months working on their very detailed article about Professor Krauss, who teaches physics at Arizona State University. It turns out he may have left his previous job under duress:Wombat-socho has "Late Night With Rule 5 Monday: Champagne Season" and "FMJRA 2.0: Listening To The Music The Machines Make" ready for your edification and amusement.
Case Western Reserve University restricted star physicist Lawrence Krauss’s access to campus in 2009 because of a sexual harassment complaint, according to a report in BuzzFeed News.In other words, Professor Krauss’s departure from Case Western may not have been entirely voluntary, but the accusations against him there were kept hush-hush and he made the move to Arizona State without any public scandal. Yet his reputation was very bad, even by the disreputable standards of the atheist community, and Rebecca Watson calls Professor Krauss “someone I’ve always known was extremely shady.”
But by the time the sanctions were put in place, Krauss had left for Arizona State University, BuzzFeed said. He was permitted to return to CWRU in 2009 for a colloquium.
The allegation at CWRU was among several reported by BuzzFeed News against Krauss in the last decade. . . .
Krauss came to CWRU in 1993 as chair of the Physics Department and hired some of the current physics faculty before stepping down as the chair in 2005.