SENS, Aubrey de Grey, and Harassment

It was the news article that was misleading. I read more of it:

Lisa Fabiny, the acting executive director at SENS, said in an emailed statement to STAT that the organization was first made aware of the allegations brought by Deming and Halioua in late June. In response, she said, it hired an independent third party to investigate these claims, and placed de Grey, who also serves as SENS chief science officer, on administrative leave.

AdG was already on leave when they did the fundraiser and hid the problem from donors. Which is bad. But the SENS tweet isn’t lying. I think.

That’s a much worse interpretation for AdG than I had, but plausible. As I mentioned I don’t find it plausible that someone else at SRF was put on leave for this in late June and AdG didn’t know about it till today.

I posted the following comment at Laura Deming’s blog:

Just two weeks ago, I emailed Aubrey de Gray about harassment by someone he knows at Oxford (David Deutsch). Previously I had a 200 page long discussion with Aubrey, so I thought he might be willing to ask Deutsch to stop harassing. Aubrey ignored the harassment and wouldn’t help. (Deutsch’s harassment is not sexual. It involves lying about me and encouraging his fan community to harass me and my community. There have been hundreds of nasty messages, dozens of fake identities, DDOSing and even threats, over multiple years.)

I think this helps establish the pattern of what kind of behavior Aubrey accepts from other high status men. That’s similar to how a man with power over her at Oxford harassed Celine and made her leave her PhD program. Celine reports that people knew and refused to help, e.g.: “I later learned I was far from his first victim, that SENS knew this, and yet they knowingly sent me to work underneath him.”

I posted the same message on reddit with minor changes, particularly to add some inline links.

“Matt” writes on Laura Deming’s blog post:

Hi Laura, just FYI two seperate people in your close circle have ruined my life (not via sexual openness), and I have just swallowed it because I didn’t want to damage the social circle of a bunch of people I respect. So just be aware that people are taking damage to protect your career too, and likely you don’t even know about it.

No idea if that’s true. Thought it was notable.

A statement from Daria Khaltourina , who has had a lot of interaction with Aubrey who has made some statements for perspective. She is the Head of Department at Federal Research Institute for Health Organization and Informatization of the Ministry of Health of Russian Federation .


Let me comment on “me too” scandal around Aubrey de Grey right after he raised 20 million on fighting aging. I can only testify that I am completely happy with my communications with Aubrey and he never harassed me or anything. I was always happy to sit on lunch or dinner near him whenever I could on many occasions, I totally enjoy chatting with him.

Also, I find it very hard to believe this particular piece of Celine Halioua “He told me that I was a ‘glorious woman’ and that as a glorious woman I had a responsibility to have sex with the SENS donors in attendance so they would give money to him”. Like really? Recollecting the donors of SENS, they are mostly not this type of people at all. This must have been misunderstanding. I heard no rumor like this particular claim from the Russian H+ community, and we contact with SENS a lot, a lot of H+ women too.

I am not claiming that Aubrey is not sexually active in general, this is, in fact, part of life. By the way, ladies I saw him dating were never very young, which Celine claims him trying to abuse young scientists

I also never saw Aubrey trying to get advances from his fans who would come to him after his lectures in Russia, many of whom were female, including scientists or young one.

There was an accusation from Laura Deming regarding a 9-year old mildly improper e-mail. Most women and men too, get romantic or sexual proposals many, many times through their lives, sometimes hundreds. If we start exposing everyone this would be complete mess. I would never do things like this to anyone for just 1 very old email like Laura Deming does, especially given how strongly Aubrey promoted and empowered Laura.

What an awful statement in so many ways. I have further updated in favor of Aubrey (and others in the community) being guilty.

Yes, Aubrey targeted people with a power imbalance, not the head of a Russian organization. That is not a meaningful indication that he’s innocent.

It’s offensive to say Deming should have kept her mouth shut, that it isn’t worth doing harm over the one email, and that it was “mildly improper”. That email was possibly a federal crime (soliciting a minor) in addition to being egregiously improper.

Many other issues. Feel free to criticize it yourself.

I really don’t know what to think now. Yes, that email was icky and inappropiate, but is it “icky” enough to basically end someone’s career over? I would say it’s more in the realm of a stern speaking to by HRM.

If Aubrey admitted he fucked up and apologized, people could then decide whether it was a big enough screw up to end his career over.

That is not the situation. He’s attacked their stories. If he’s guilty and then falsely attacks his accusers, that is certainly, unambiguously enough to end his career over.

So either the accusers are liars or he needs to be fired.

He only admitted to the one thing that was in writing and denied the rest. My guess is he’s lying and should be fired. (Plus the one thing he admitted was really bad!)

Aubrey publicly admitted to dating a 24 year old when he was 51. That’s been in news articles. This person discredits herself with her defense of Aubrey.

Because if he was such a shocking “sexual predator” who almost “raped” her that night, why would she act so normally the very next day after that ? Such a grandiose claim just doesn’t hold sway.

Neither of the accusers said anything about rape.

Sharing this one because of the people are so bad at quoting theme, which I’ve talked about many times before.


Celine Halioua

  • They (SENS) often paraded me in front of their donors. - Not his fault
  • I was told to keep Aubrey ‘entertained’ - Not his fault

what the hell is wrong with these defenders

also later in that post:

For legal reasons, Just a reminder that in the UK, the age of consent is 16.

I’ve seen multiple people point this out. Aubrey lives in California and has for a long time, so I’m guessing that’s where he was (idk). The girl went to MIT so she was probably there.

So many people comment about no evidence or wait to see evidence. He admitted writing the email. That’s evidence.

The age of consent is 16 in the UK, but it is raised to 18 for people in a position of trust. Position of trust is pretty narrowly defined though:

Specific roles include:

  • teachers
  • social workers
  • doctors
  • foster carers
  • police officers

Specific settings include:

  • educational institutions
  • hospitals
  • foster homes
  • residential care homes
  • young offenders institutions
  • independent clinics

This kind of exception to age of consent laws is pretty common. People generally don’t want it to be legal for e.g. teachers to sleep with high school students. It also makes sense to want that applied to bosses, mentors, etc.

Yeah. That stood out to me as opposed to just having a bunch of accusations. It’s not the kind of one-off mistake I’d expect someone in any kind of professional role let alone leadership to make in the first place, or if made to let stand for years without proactively addressing in some way if it was legitimately regretted.

The two victims who wrote posts have their email addresses on their blogs. I emailed them the below.

Subject: Aubrey Ignoring Harassment – My Story

I saw your posts about Aubrey harassing you and wanted to let you know about an experience I had which helps establish one of the patterns you’re talking about.

David Deutsch is a physicist at Oxford. He was my mentor and he’s now involved in severe, non-sexual harassment against me and others. I got on his bad side.

Aubrey and David know each other pretty well. Since I know Aubrey, I contacted him two weeks ago and asked him to please speak with David about the harassment problem. Aubrey ignored me.

It’s another powerful old male harasser, again at Oxford, who no one else in power, including Aubrey, wants to do anything about.

I’ve written explanations of the harassment problem I’m dealing with Curiosity – Harassment Summary In short it has involved David lying about me and encouraging his community to harass me and my community for years (which has involved hundreds of nasty comments, dozens of fake identities, DDOSing and threats).

I thought you’d want to know because it involves Aubrey ignoring harassment perpetrated by powerful people in his social circle, similar to how he did not help with the harassment Celine experienced at Oxford.

I’m a philosopher. My association with Aubrey is that we had a 200 page discussion by email:

Here is a video of David interviewing Aubrey: Aubrey de Grey & David Deutsch On Ending Aging - YouTube

David is a fan of SENS who has interacted with Aubrey repeatedly. David privately told me about a dinner conversation he had with Aubrey. Here is the first email I received from Aubrey, in 2011, which gives information about Aubrey’s relationship with David in Aubrey’s own words:

hello Elliot,

Many thanks for your mail. I’m most gratified by your enthusiasm for my work, and also by your enthusiasm for David’s. I have interacted with David a number of times, and very profitably. As a result, I was sent a preprint of his book six months ago with a request to compose a few words for the blurb, but I made the silly mistake (:-)) of choosing to read the book first, and I am only half-way through it… But I have just read your interview, and I like it immensely. I have signed up to the group, and I may offer comments in due course.

Cheers, Aubrey

The book he’s talking about is David’s second book, The Beginning of Infinity, which I helped with for years. Aubrey knows David well enough to want to help promote David’s book, but doesn’t want to do anything about David’s harassment. The group he’s referring to was a Google Group for discussing the book, which I had emailed Aubrey to invite him to. The interview is David Deutsch Interview · Elliot Temple

I don’t know if bringing any of this up would help you, but I thought you’d at least like to know it so it’s harder to gaslight you about whether there is actually a widespread problem.

PS I’m sorry about what Aubrey did to you.

Elliot Temple

The allegations are not very serious. He won’t face any sort of legal action.

On the other hand this is complete character assassination and his career as a public speaker is over unfortunately. Very little can be done about that. He’ll have to accept that.

As for SENS, there’s not much they can do about it besides distancing the foundation from him whether he is deemed innocent or not. That’s about the extent of it.

Things like these really make me feel blessed for being born in a non-Western country.

If there allegations weren’t very serious even if true, then how could writing about them be so serious and destroy his character?

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Forgot to link this earlier. A second relevant post from Celine Halioua related to the harassment she experienced at Oxford:


Reading stuff people say is pretty sad. Solution: Only read Ayn Rand?

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Perhaps it’s a fairly typical confusion of the seriousness of law vs. morality. I suspect that the poster believes the allegations against AdG aren’t very serious even if true from a legal standpoint. Like, AdG is not at significant risk for jail time, or even probation or a large fine, so it’s not serious.

But people can and do destroy careers and reputations over lots of stuff that is not legally actionable. Sometimes that’s moral; sometimes it’s not. The poster seems to assume in at least this case, perhaps always, that it’s not moral even if the allegations are true.

Me telling Aubrey de Gray not to do donation matching because it’s manipulative pandering.

Aubrey thinking to himself: I’m telling the female researchers to sleep with people for donations, and you’re worried about donation matching!?