British anti-ageing scientist in Silicon Valley is suspended after intern claims he told her that ‘as a glorious woman’ she had a ‘responsibility to sleep with potential company donors’

  • Aubrey de Grey is chief scientist at SENS Research Foundation in Silicon Valley 
  • The 58-year-old was accused of sexual harassment by two women on Tuesday
  • Celine Halioua, 26, claims he told her to have sex with prospective donors
  • Laura Deming, 27, alleged he spoke of his ‘adventurous love life’ when she was 17 

A British anti-ageing scientist in Silicon Valley has been suspended by his firm after he allegedly ordered an intern to have sex with prospective donors.

Aubrey de Grey, 58, who went to Winston Churchill’s old school Harrow, was suspended by the SENS Research Foundation after two women accused him of sexual harassment on Tuesday. 

Celine Halioua, 26, claims that the Cambridge graduate plied her with drink, called her a ‘glorious woman’ and told her she had a responsibility to have sex with donors at a dinner she attended while working as an intern at SENS in 2016.

Laura Deming, 27, published a blog post on the same day, describing her own ‘bad experience’ with Mr de Grey when she was 17 who she had previously regarded as ‘trusted mentor.’ 

Mr de Grey, who has been placed on administrative leave, has strenuously denied the allegations, claiming that ‘Laura and Celine have been deceived into the view that I have done many things that I have in fact not done.’ 

Aubrey de Grey, who is a director at the SENS Research Foundation in Silicon Valley, was accused of sexual harassment by two women


Mr de Grey was on Tuesday accused of sexual harassment by Celine Halioua, 26, (left) and 27-year-old Laura Deming

Ms Halioua, who now runs her own biotech startup Loyal, wrote that SENS had funded much of her undergraduate and graduate work and she was ‘often paraded in front of donors.’

She described one dinner where she was sat next to Mr de Grey by a SENS executive and ‘told to keep him “entertained.”‘ 

‘Aubrey funneled me alcohol and hit on me the entire night. 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,’ Ms Halioua wrote. 

She continued: ‘I left that dinner sobbing. It has taken me years to shake the deep-seated belief that I only got to where I am due to older men wanting to have sex with me.’

Mr de Grey received an elite British education, first attending the £42,000-per-year Harrow School on the outskirts of London and then going up to Cambridge University to study computer science.

He has since become the foremost advocate of medical tech to slow or even halt the ageing process – a fascination of extraordinary wealthy tech businessmen in California.

The pioneering scientist often appears on podcasts and gives interviews to the press about his work in the field.  

Ms Halioua published her post on the same day as Ms Deming who said she has known Mr de Grey since she was 14. 

Ms Deming claims that the London-born scientist wrote to her about his ‘adventurous love life’ when she was 17. 

‘I didn’t expect a trusted mentor I’d known since childhood to hit on me so blatantly, and insinuate that it had been on his mind for a while,’ she wrote.

Mr de Grey was immediately placed on administrative leave by SENS pending an investigation into the claims by the two women.

He responded on his Facebook page on Wednesday, writing: ‘Unsurprisingly, I deny these allegations.

‘What may be more surprising to you is this: my belief is that both Laura and Celine have been deceived into the view that I have done many things that I have in fact not done.

‘Nonetheless, since they have chosen to go public, I am left with no choice but to do the same.’ 

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