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Allegations against Aubrey de Grey


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#1 caliban

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Posted 11 August 2021 - 11:56 PM


It is an emotive topic, but I'm seeing some pretty ill-advised commentary on 'both sides', 

 

so here is hoping we can do better on LongeCity and a pre-emptive WARNING that we don't need any hyperbole here 

 

 
 

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#2 Steve H

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Posted 12 August 2021 - 11:14 AM

Early yesterday, LEAF became aware of allegations against Aubrey de Grey, the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation, of sexual harassment. The allegations were raised by Laura Deming (Longevity Fund) and Celine Halioua (biotech startup Loyal) – via their accounts on Twit­ter and personal websites – claiming inappropriate behavior from Aubrey and other unnamed members of the organization.

Aubrey has issued a statement denying the accusations in a post appearing on his Facebook page. SENS Research Foundation has also issued a statement indicating that they have opened an independent investigation upon first hearing of the allegations in late June, and that Aubrey has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.

As a news outlet, we are governed by our Ethics Code, which requires us to empower the public by communicating facts. As such, we shall not speculate or pass judgement on the aspects of this story that are currently inconclusive.

Regardless of the outcome of these unfortunate circumstances, it is important that the field of longevity research be a welcome place for all people, that allegations such as this are treated with seriousness, and that proper accountability is held for proven offenses.

We also note that SENS Research Foundation has been a long-time ally of LEAF in its mission to fight age-related disease and is a sponsor of our upcoming EARD conference. Aubrey de Grey is also currently a member of LEAF’s scientific advisory board. As such, we disclose potential conflict of interest when reporting on this case.

 

The post Dr. Aubrey de Grey Faces Allegations of Sexual Harassment first appeared on Lifespan.io.


View the article at lifespan.io


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#3 Kentavr

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Posted 12 August 2021 - 01:42 PM

It seems that this method is used in order to "remove" unnecessary people.

It is very sad that such technologies are used on such people!


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#4 caliban

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Posted 14 August 2021 - 12:04 AM

Anti-agingfoundation’s CEO left amid an investigation of co-founder Aubrey de Grey

→ source (external link)



#5 caliban

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Posted 23 August 2021 - 12:42 AM

:sad:

 

https://twitter.com/...276575195860997

 

https://www.facebook...585470981478355



#6 Mind

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Posted 23 August 2021 - 05:39 PM

What is one to do if there is suspicion of being "set-up" with flimsy accusations? A person could go on a public PR campaign proclaiming innocence and a conspiracy, but another option is to do your own investigation, especially if you don't believe the investigators are impartial.

 

I also view it as suspicious that the accusations came so close to SENS raising 20 million USD. If it was an "open secret" for so many years, why did it take years for the Board to conduct an investigation?

 

At this point, it seems like a negative for radical life extension research. These types of things often unfairly taint a lot of people and companies who have worked with the "offender". Aubrey has been the most persistent voice for radical life extension for a couple of decades. Most other people/scientists/politicians are afraid to speak publicly about radical life extension. I am afraid that if Aubrey is "purged" from life extension research, funding for real REJUVENATION therapies will collapse in favor of marginally effective therapies that slow aging to a small degree.


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#7 Guest

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Posted 26 August 2021 - 11:45 PM

Just to reaffirm this:

 

 

the allegations - even if completely true - are minor compared to anything you read about sexual harassement in the media. Cuomo is way worse - a complete other league. Even if the allegations as publicy known so far are completely true - Aubrey never physically touched anyone and the episodes reported about appear to be rather singular remarks while under the influence of alcohol and not a habit.

 

The problem is the use of the broad term "sexual harassment", which lumps together rapists like Weinstein together with people doing singular verbal remarks (and not even using explicits in the case of Aubrey). If Aubrey would not have been in a position of authority at that time I don't even think there would be any cause for investigation, A handful of creepy remarks, sure - but that itself hardly justifies anything if not done in a position of authority. If it would be just about the remarks to an equal, by that standard (making a handful of creepy remarks to random people over the past 10 years) up to half of american men and women would loose their jobs - just look at the average Tinder-conversation, your daily NYC car commuter stuck in traffic or the suprisingly numerous core Trump-voters.

 

Aubrey is in no way comparable with Cuomo and the rest. Some reprimand, yes. Mandatory awarness training, sure. Putting him on notice for the future, maybe. But treating him like Weinstein or Cuomo? This is excessive.

 

 

Edit:

 

the right thing to do in this situation (interference with the investigation) - given that it's not in fact allegations of physical or habitual occurances and the accusers are no longer at the organisation, nor in physical proximity - would have been to suspend him and put him on leave until the investigation closes. Not fire him and cutting all links to him for good, irrespective of the eventual result of the investigation. That's the procedure at my college and for far more serious allegations and intereference.


Edited by Guest, 27 August 2021 - 12:22 AM.

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#8 caliban

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Posted 29 August 2021 - 03:11 PM

To be clear: Aubrey was fired not because of the allegations but because he was seen to interfere with the investigation.

The SENS board has a legal duty to consider the best interests of the org.

It may have felt that in the moment, faced with a very concerned investigator, this was the only course of action available. It was an unanimous decision after all. 

 

However, I’m sure the majority of the Board also appreciates that this is not some pharma company, where it may be prudent to 'fire swiftly and move on' -- AdG is not just the co-founder of SRF, he coined the very theory which bears its name and - most importantly- he has been the foundation's 'chief rainmaker' right up until the firing (including during his suspension). That would never justify harbouring a 'sexual predator' - but if it turns out that this moniker was false and the grounds for criticism are limited to a few injudicious communications then the above duty also means that the Board has to explore all possibilities for a constructive reconciliation.   

 

Meanwhile the problem may be that Aubrey is 'sitting on hot coals', frustrated and fuming. Never known as someone to keep still, that may lead to further ill-advised social media posts (most recent), and premature speculation, conclusions and actions. AdG has a huge 'fanbase' that very understandably craves information and could be legitimately and positively mobilised. But that requires a proper strategy and timing. In this context, a Board strategy to ‘hunker down’ may also backfire.

In short, the current dynamics have the potential to muddy the waters and exacerbate the situation. 

 

--

NB: Aubrey de Grey has been an Advisor to LongeCity for many years, Kevin Perrot (SRF board member) is a LongeCity Guardian, many SRF staff are members. They are welcome to contribute their thoughts here, but for the reasons mentioned above, I would not expect them to. 

 

 



#9 Guest

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Posted 30 August 2021 - 12:22 AM

As I wrote in my previous reply:

 

I am aware that he was fired because of the interference, thank you very much.

 

 

The standard practice in most major organisations in that case would not have been to fire someone, especially if the sexual harassment accusations under investigation are not of a physical nature or re-occuring (i.e. it is not accusations of "serious behaviour" or an acutal crime, but improper communication out of a position of authority - unlike Cuomo or Weinstein).

 

https://www.shrm.org...cms_000554.aspx

 

https://www.thebalan...mplaint-1916862



#10 caliban

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Posted 11 September 2021 - 05:23 PM

The report has been published 

 

Attached File  SENS-Executive-Summary-For-Public-Release-FINAL-091021-00323152xC0E95.pdf   730.95KB   7 downloads

 

and the SENS Board has issued a statement.   

 

Apparently the investigation continues and a second report is expected. 

 



#11 jroseland

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 08:18 AM

Aubrey de Grey got #MeToo'd? Bummer!

 

This is why my wife is the the only woman I'd work with and why I NEVER spend time alone with women who aren't Mrs. Roseland.


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#12 caliban

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Posted 05 October 2021 - 06:14 PM

A STAT feature has been published 

https://www.statnews...gevity-profile/

 

text (Members only)

 

Aubrey was 'disappointed' about the negative tone - although he had been warned about putting his hopes into the contrary.

 

There is a clear path to getting this matter resolved but that path it is not through aggression at this point.

The onus is on the board to conclude the investigation expeditiously and then formulate a clear strategy as to how reconciliation could be attempted.

If the board were of the final opinion that such a reconciliation is not in the best interest of SRF that would be an extraordinary conclusion in need of a detailed explanation. 

As frustrating as this must be, at this point Aubrey cannot but hurt is case through any public statements. I am glad to read that he is favouring restraint at the moment.           



#13 caliban

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Posted 02 November 2021 - 01:29 PM

The second and final report has been published

 

The SRF Board could not bring itself to draw any conclusions - at least none they want to discuss publicly. 

Yet action must follow this report, otherwise the exercise would have been pointless. 

 

Firstly, I wonder why it is not possible to stand up more forcefully for the organisation's reputation. Firing Aubrey does nothing to remove a lingering impression that everyone and everything in the org was associated with sexual predation.

In my reading of the reports, that taint is wholly unwarranted and more could be done to robustly refute it.    

 

In any event, it is now incumbent on the SRF Board to formulate and actively pursue a strategy of mediation and reconciliation with AdG.

The outcome of such an exercise is uncertain. Both sides may lack the courage, imagination, humility and flexibility required.

AdG may want to only pursue a 'only full reinstatement and exoneration will do' vision, which is unlikely to work- however deserved he and his supporters may feel it to be.

Conversely, the Board may be locked into a risk avoidance mindset where reaching out to AdG in a truly positive manner is seen as too hard - however essential such outreach would be for the continued success of SENS and its mission.

But I really hope that the attempt will be made in good faith and that a solution can be found that reconciles the parties and the organisation with its supporters.   

 

Attached Files



#14 QuestforLife

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Posted 11 November 2021 - 02:42 PM

Well, my monthly direct debit for the past X years has been a contribution to the work inspired and directed by Aubrey de Grey, not some faceless board.

 

Without Aubrey, there is no SENS, and my payments will not continue...



#15 caliban

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Posted 17 November 2021 - 11:07 PM

While SENS RF can rightly be seen as "Aubrey's project",  he would be the first to acknowledge that it can only be a team effort.

 

Not all the Board is 'faceless'  

 

Kevin, has written powerfully on facebook about the tribulations in trying to manage the situation.

Aubrey has since clarified his respect for Board members I hope this means that he is not reluctant to accept mediation attempts.

 

A dialogue is is imperative and the only way forward.

How this might eventually affect the Board and the 'official' role of AdG can be worked out in good time.       



#16 caliban

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Posted 25 March 2022 - 12:10 AM

update 

 

AdG was re-hired as a consultant but subject to conditions that he did not agree with  

Attached File  SRF-de-Grey-Fitness-for-Duty-Agreement_Page_1-791x1024.png   329.81KB   0 downloads

 

He started sniping publicly

https://youtu.be/E0yXJ9EywbY?t=24616

 

And was again, fired 

https://www.sens.org...HCVTBX76vCfD3fo

 

followed by board resignations

https://www.sens.org...XEhWzuAPBH964fA

 

and public arguments

https://www.facebook.com/aubrey.degrey

 

 

Unfortunately but predictably: neither side was able to leave pride nor prejudice behind for the greater good. 

 

 

 


Edited by caliban, 26 March 2022 - 03:14 PM.


#17 ambivalent

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Posted 07 June 2022 - 11:33 PM

It was only just last week, when I learned of the previous year's events. Naturally, shocked and saddened, I was though surprised at the predominant support rather than criticism of de Grey following the investigation:

 

 

Metaphors are useful constructs for creating fresh perspectives on current predicaments, we may imagine integrating some component of some other system to sense how it fits this reality, determining whether the examined strand of the metaphor is relevant - but there must be interrogation, it is dangerous to draw the analogy, then equate it, wholesale, to the current of-world circumstance.

 

We have seen the abject failures of war-on-terror, war-on-drugs or even war-on-cancer - it in fact leads us to failed solutions and narrow approaches, encouraging with it a dangerous, mindless conformity. 'War' is a lazy substitute for a policy of mobilising government and social effort on the scale of - well, yes, another metaphor substitute - the Manhattan Project (as opposed to war on the atom) or the Apollo Program (no war on The Moon, there, either) - ironically, both were about hot and cold wars, yet neither have been projected as such in the language description: just the opposite, making war ambitions palatable, un-war like.

 

We are not at war with aging, de Grey isn't a general within this imagined conflict. But it is a handy analogy for those with a lust for expanded power and decision-autonomy, because, as we all know, in wartime the blurred borders of social morals disappear, the map is redrawn. It is neither sufficient, logical or scientific for de Grey to fall back on 'Well, war is my aging model and I am simply being faithful to it' to justify the breaking of society's moral-norms. This is precisely his defence in the the interview when he states:

 

"That is what I thought. It is at the same level of women in World War II sleeping with Nazis to get information. It is a war against aging here. You have to persuade people to give money. That is honestly who I am. I am the general."

 

Not only is his assertion morally dubious, at best, it is strategically foolish. Let's take, as he does, the analogy of, say, Vichy France.

 

That women were pressured into sleeping with German officers to extract information has not been proven morally right simply because it happened, even though the cause was just.  But that the otherwise certainty of moral norms becomes undermined during wartime is something we all understand. Crucially, France was at war, or at least in the occupied phase  - this was not subjective, a metaphor: women would have grasped this, they didn't need to imagine tanks on the streets, German checkpoints. Additionally, the whole of France understood this, even if some took a different response to the occupation.

 

This analogy quite clearly gifted Grey to himself the moral license to dissolve moral boundaries - without effectively making the case to do so, nor, quite clearly, holding the authority to either. And judged solely from the disclosures in the report, he seems to believe his right to act with impunity - that SENS is his possession - which it clearly isn't, regardless of his founding the organisation.

 

Whether a woman should be encouraged to risk torture and death in attempting to elicit secrets from hostile officers requires a moral test - to seemlessly transfer the analogy into the present circumstance, to encourage women to prositute themselves to direct a flow of money to SENS, requires a far higher burden of proof. More to the point, options are limited in wartime, suggesting women debase themselves to raise funds from rich donors, is not least to lack imagination.

 

A crucial point, one which is strategically foolish, would be to assume a moral framework consistent with war, when the rest of society sees peacetime. If society buys into the war-footing posture on aging, then there is no need to encourage of-the-cause women to sleep with billionaires, however, if not then an exposé on the exploitation of women at SENS, under the anything-goes-for-the-cause leadership, would leave a society morally outraged and turned off with not one end-aging argument surviving first contact with the disgusted masses.

 

Given Dr Grey's status, achievements and I would say, not overly concealed hubris, it would for most, if not all, be tough to swallow some de Grey confessional owning up to seeing us almost in all ways equal - if the flattery were carried on a thinly veiled wave of sexual interest, the compliments would be heavily, well, contextualised. When this height of flattery directed towards a young woman is accompanied (within the report) by a very open admission that the now General de Grey, believes recruited women's sexuality to be a legitimate resource to fight the aging enemy to elicit donations, then there should rightly be unqualified outrage. 

 

Reading that admission, was seemed something of a reminder of Cruise baiting Nicholson in A Few Good Men - the prosecution team sense the General is ego-bound to admit issuing the Code Red. De Grey is an iconoclast, which is why many of us admired him as predominantly he amongst a few others have won the argument over the last couple of decades; that trait, though, untempered, directed elsewhere risks undermining credibility and respect.

 

De Grey was trying to sabotage the investigation, there was no one at fault but himself, while the board, regardless of any driven agenda, were bound to act on that interference. More to the point the revealed content of said interference portrays de Grey's character unfavourably - the self-indulgent claim to be a man of honour is implicitly undermined as he gloats over the woman's crashed career, unless of course she rats on her source, as he recruits, misleads and directs an employee without seeming to hold any discomfort at the coercion and degradation of the go-between: it was an order, not an emotionally-torn request. 

 

"I probably don’t need to spell out anything more. [Complainant #2’s] career is absolutely over as things stand, and the only reason it actually isn’t is because I am a man of honour who refuses to let somebody (especially a meteoric rising star) be burned at the stake while an actual villian [sic] gets away scot free and is thereby emboldened. Yes she will have to take some lumps for being so gullible, but that’s not such a big deal. BUT, what will completely torpedo my rescuing of her is if she is seen to be resisting the identification of the actual villain."

 

Therein lies the problem in working with an actor with agency beholden to a different set of social and moral rules to the rest of the given community - whatever outcome doesn't align to maximising De Grey's war-footing objective is a morally inferior choice. Few of us would feel the same and it would be trivial to construct examples demonstrating such personal conflict. 

 

Yet clearly,  the ego trumps the ending-aging raison d'etre for de Grey - one of  the rising stars' careers, as de Grey described her, should be permitted to flounder, rather than expedite the cause, unless she were to undertake his bidding.

 

Utilitarian arguments are fraught with danger not least because subjective underpinnings can prove catastrophic and costs far from evaluable - as the Trolley problem aptly demonstrates. Perhaps, that is all it has ever been from AdB - an admission in principle, a thought experiment, that women or men, well, should - if the call came. Perhaps. But given the accusation it was a deeply misguided statement. Few here would agree that desired women should sell themselves to the cause in order to edge closer to escape velocity day, yet that was the accusation levelled at de Grey.

 

It is ironic that on the one hand de Grey seems explicitly to believe women should debase themselves for the right price, yet De Grey's ego shouldn't be so subjected: yes, you should sell yourself to donors, but it becomes a matter of principle when clarification is sought on that very issue - rather than obfuscate, retain his job and press on: be preferred to be intellectually open and truthful. That perhaps is only where conflict arises with the singular objective of ending aging - de Grey's ego.

 

There was a strong and sincere defence from a work colleague, featured in this photo, Maria Entraigues Abramson, though I felt her statement to be misguided and misleading in part. Entraigues Abramson attempts to offer a rebuttal, counter-evidence, to the accusation that de Grey may have encouraged a woman to offer herself to a donor - sure he may well have never have asked or even hinted of it with her, specifically, but when pressed in the investigative interview, de Grey thought it generally, in principle at least, OK. Maria doesn't make any mention of this open assertion by de Grey - it is a false dichotomy to suggest: if not all attractive women, then none. 

 

Without De Grey's admission her experience would not refute the claims of other women, but it would be meaningful testimony, but with his statement, her personal account does little to nullify the accusation. At best Maria Entraigues Abramson's encounters with De Grey are consistent with an in-principle but not in-practice assertion by the former SENS CEO; however, at worst it indicates contextualisation - candidates.

 

The question of De Grey would be, given his colleague and friend is an assiduous proponent to the cause and De Grey believes said enthusiasts should solicit to end senescence, why wasn't she approached by The General to perform her duty?

 

To suggest De Grey is the victim of a coup, to use his recent language, is at least in part to distract from his hubris and mistreatment of others and not at the very least to admit personal culpability for his SENS ejection.  One of the accusations is evidently true, and on the other where damning evidence was lacking, De Grey obliged by inditing himself. 

 

And his decision to be a Machiavellian Villain, rather than a Sysophean Hero, rising each day to mow the lawn while on leave, may have been, judged by his regret-lacking remarks cited in the report, viewed as tactically sound but subsequently shown to be a strategic blunder.  

 

Despite an unfathomably complex world, we still romanticise the role of visionaries  - that De Grey and a few others were almost solely responsible for realigning science's view of aging doesn't necessitate sole leadership in navigating the trajectory of aging research over its current terrain.

 

In a disparate book on diversity, Rebel Ideas, there is a chapter dedicated to the fated Everest Mission of a decade or so ago - the evidence indicates that mountaineering expeditions where responsibility is distributed  are less likely to end disastrously. Perhaps, we should be cautiously optimistic.

 

At the end of De Grey's impressive interview on BBC's HardTalk a few years ago, he finished with a quote from George Bernard Shaw: 

 

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

 

The unreasonable man though must be sensitive to the will of society too - it will, rightly, not bend to the will of the unreasonable man on all things and might just bend the unreasonable man in turn. Inevitably, the unreasonable also-rans pile high.  

 


Edited by ambivalent, 08 June 2022 - 12:06 AM.


#18 Space_Sheep

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 04:16 AM

We are not at war with aging

 

Speak for yourself... as far as I'm concerned, a condition that has a 100% fatality rate, that affects me - and worse, my loved ones - very much IS an enemy. And I will do whatever it takes to win.

also, righteous TL:DR essay






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