Back in 2015, I knowingly blew up my life

Pamela L. Gay, Ph.D.
6 min readFeb 29, 2024

Back in 2015, I knowingly blew up my life.

That is not an exaggeration. That is not hyperbole. It is, quite simply, a thing I did because it was the right thing to do.

At the time, I was at the top of my career. I’d just been awarded a $12 million grant. I was an officer in multiple professional societies. My podcasting was continuing to grow, and I was traveling the world to promote science.

But then I gave voice to victims of sexual harassment who had been brave enough to come forward. I did what you are supposed to do as a society officer and a senior researcher — I reported the information that was brought to me. I did what I could to make sure this one particular man would never again harm any future women.

And I had a congresswoman’s aid. I worked with Congresswoman Jackie Speier to try and say “never again”. You can read about what happened here and google as you will.

Honestly, this situation was the best a woman could possibly be in when reporting a sexual harasser. What happened to me should serve as a cautionary tale about why women are reluctant to report harassment and how our system works against them.

In late 2016, I was sued for $33 million in a defamation case brought against me for reporting what those women told me, for sharing the evidence they brought me, and for sharing my personal experiences.



Pamela L. Gay, Ph.D.

Astronomer, technologist, & creative focused on using new media to engage people in learning and doing science. Opinions & typos my own.