Neil deGrasse Tyson apologized this morning following a tweet Sunday deemed
“insensitive” about the weekend mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton that sparked a fierce reaction on social media, but not everyone is accepting his apology.
“My intent was to offer objectively true information that might help shape conversations and reactions to preventable ways we die,” Tyson wrote in his apology Monday morning on Facebook.
“Where I miscalculated was that I genuinely believed the Tweet would be helpful to anyone trying to save lives in America. What I learned from the range of reactions is that for many people, some information — my Tweet in particular — can be true but unhelpful, especially at a time when many people are either still in shock, or trying to heal — or both.”
Tyson continued: “So if you are one of those people, I apologize for not knowing in advance what effect my Tweet could have on you.”
In Tyson’s previous tweets, he was criticized as insensitive about the mass shooting deaths in Ohio and Texas, suggesting they pale in comparison to deaths from other causes, namely illness and accidents.
Tyson’s apology sparked nearly as much criticism as the initial tweet.
“I find it incredulous that an intellectual such as Neil deGrasse Tyson would be so unwittingly tone deaf at a time like this,” wrote a Facebook commenter named Andrew Smith. “Which makes his attempt at an apology rather disingenuous.”
Another Facebook user, Kellie Gerardi, commented below Tyson’s new post: “The depth of your reflection in this note is offensively shallow. You used data to draw a false equivalence with unfathomably hurtful timing, and your arrogance has you doubling down with ‘true but unhelpful’. Why even bother with a note?”
Tens of thousands Twitter users came out with a strong response to Tyson’s tweets on Sunday.
“Cold take, Neil. 200+ Americans died from gun violence in the past 48 hours,” author and gun control activist Shannon Watts responded.
Others mentioned that the other causes he listed were being researched or had reliable preventative measures that could be taken such as vaccines, while gun violence remains an unsolved issue.
A few of those responses follow below:
Tyson’s remarks come just months after Fox and NatGeo announced they had concluded their investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct by Tyson and that they were moving forward with Tyson’s series StarTalk and Cosmos.