A renowned herpetologist Richard Vogt who studies sea turtles reportedly used obscene pictures of women practicing field tasks in is presentation slides. Vogt was demonstrating these slides as part of an approval presentation dedicated to a big award. During the conference, an audiovisual manager put “blue censorship boxes” atop the private parts of the bodies of the women. The Herpetologists’ League canceled the award on Friday 13th July after receiving strong opposition for the presentation.

The league stated on Sunday 15th July, “Many members of all genders took strong offense to the images that were presented and to the awarding of this distinction to someone whose extremely inappropriate behavior toward other attendees has been long known.” Further, the league added, “We acknowledge that scientific achievement does not excuse misconduct in the profession at any level.”

The scientists belonging to the same field said that the reputation of Vogt for obscene behavior and comments was very well known. Women working with Vogt also stated that they previously had received warnings to avoid the herpetologist.

As said by Lori Neuman-Lee, the head of the Herpetologists’ League’s new Diversity and Inclusion Committee, in one of the past events, Vogt reportedly used a picture of a lady in bikini lying straight in sand with the baby sea turtles “nestled near her breasts.” Further, Neuman-Lee added, “It wasn’t explicit, but it was not professional.”

Amidst all the oppositions, many pointed out stating that the field of herpetology has been brimming with sexual harassment issues for years.

Vogt defending his work stated on Monday 16th July that the pictures in his presentation were not indecent or sexual. He further said that the undesirable opposition has saddened him and that he selflessly has served the community for fifty-four long years.

Cases of sexual assault have been always there in the field of sciences and have surfaced strongly since the spread of the #MeToo movement. In a 2018 survey, near about half of the female medical scholars stated that they had received harassment from staffs or faculties.

In the recent years, “a physicist, an astronomer, a cancer biologist, an astrophysicist, a molecular biologist,” and many other male researchers were eliminated from their positions after imposition of sexual assault allegations.

Lou is a New York-based science blogger and columnist, working in the Science Journalism industry for the last five and half years. He spends most of her time interacting with the like-minded group of people on social media and contributing proactively to several online discussion forums and websites. You can contact him at lou@tecake.com.

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