A celebrity atheist facing a raft of allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women has backed out of a New Zealand tour.
Lawrence Krauss was due to speak on a double-bill with Richard Dawkins at the Science in the Soul tour in May in Auckland and Christchurch, but the promoter this morning announced he would no longer be on the bill.
Instead, Dawkins would appear at the two Science in the Soul shows alone, with a new co-host to be announced, Australia-based Think Inc said.
The move comes after Auckland University of Technology pulled its sponsorship of the tour, and New Zealand event management firm Loop had also backed out.
With Krauss' departure, it was unclear whether Loop and AUT would step back in.
Loop declined to comment and AUT was reviewing its involvement.
A number of Krauss' public speaking arrangements have already been cancelled in America since allegations spanning over a decade about his inappropriate behaviour towards women were recently published by news website Buzzfeed.
Krauss has strongly denied all the allegations and responded at length to them today.
"Has my language or demeanour sometimes made others feel uncomfortable? Clearly yes, and for that I sincerely apologise," he wrote.
"Nevertheless, the BuzzFeed article effectively paints a false picture of me and my relationships with others through a mosaic constructed largely out of anonymous hearsay and a web of often vague innuendo."
Krauss did not appear at The Celebration of Science and Reason event in Phoenix, Arizona, following the allegations coming to light.
The American Physical Society has also uninvited Krauss from speaking at its 2018 meeting held next month, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) cancelled an alumni event where Krauss was due to speak this month.
And this week, Krauss resigned from Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Board of Sponsors, which operates the famous Doomsday Clock.
He told the bulletin in his resignation letter: "Amid the reactions immediately following the recent BuzzFeed article about me, I expect that many Bulletin subscribers and fans were upset. I want to assure them, and you, that the claims about me in the story are incorrect.
"BuzzFeed was provided with abundant counter-evidence that was ignored or distorted in the story."
Krauss is the Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University.
His employer, The Arizona State University, has launched a review "in an attempt to discern the facts" and placed Krauss on paid leave in the meantime.
Krauss is an author and advocate of scientific proliferation, education and scepticism.
On announcing his tour to New Zealand last October, Krauss said the "whole world perspective has changed" since his last visit.
"More than ever, we need to speak out in favour of reason and evidence, now in the political spectrum and as well as the religious one."
Professor Richard Easther, head of physics at Auckland University, believed the promoter was aware of Krauss' reputation before it organised the event and thought it would have been irresponsible for them to hold it, given the allegations.
Easther said the time it took to address Krauss's involvement in the tour would have harmed Think Inc's credibility.
"Sexual harassment is a major problem for science and society in general - pervasive poor behaviour creates headwinds for women that their male colleagues never need notice," he said.
"Think Inc had an opportunity to proactively address this issue, and they failed to step up."
Think Inc has been approached for comment.
The NZ tour is still being advertised as being billed for Auckland's ASB Theatre on May 10, and Christchurch's Isaac Theatre Royal, on May 11.