“Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot is catching flack for a tribute she wrote to the late physicist Stephen Hawking saying that he is now “free from physical restraints.”
Some responded to the tweet accusing Gadot of being an “ableist,” while others thought the controversy was political correctness run amock.
Hawking died last week at the age of 76, having suffered motor neuron disease since he was age 21. The illness rendered him completely paralyzed and necessitated him using a computerized speech program to communicate.
“Rest in peace Dr. Hawking. Now you’re free of any physical constraints. Your brilliance and wisdom will be cherished forever,” Gadot tweeted on Thursday.
“I think you’re fantastic Gal but this tweet is very ableist,” wrote Twitter user Adam B. Zimmerman. “His physical constraints didn’t stop him from changing the world. People with disabilities don’t wish for death to be free of their challenges. We wish to be valued for what we CAN do, not pitied for we can’t.”
One posted in response to Zimmerman, “Oh, stop,” which caused him to reply, “Stop what? One would never say someone is freed by death from being a certain race, or gender or religion so why is it acceptable to imply death frees someone who achieved greatness while happening to have a disability?”
Amara Campbell shared Zimmerman’s sentiments writing, “Gal I am chronically ill. Can’t shower or even get myself out of bed. Lost 18 years thus far. But I ran a charity funding research for my illness #ME and advocate for Change. All from my bed. Is my life not important? Disablement is not shameful, bigotry is.”
Hawking suggested in some ways his disability helped him in his work, USA Today reported.
“My disabilities have not been a significant handicap in my field, which is theoretical physics,” Hawking wrote in a 1984 article for Science Digest. “Indeed, they have helped me in a way by shielding me from lecturing and administrative work that I would otherwise have been involved in.”
Some came to Gadot’s defense.
“How on earth do you interpret this tweet as her saying that one‘s life is not important if you‘re disabled? I‘m sorry, it is common belief that one of is free of pain and illness after death, that’s what her tweet said,” wrote Rachel.
Another responded directly to Zimmerman.
“You’re being overly politically correct about a beautiful statement of someone’s spirit leaving their body I’m sure the day you die your spirit will be free as well… don’t be so sensitive she is not referring to you personally!! He openly spoke about his frustrations,” the Twitter user wrote.
Christian evangelist Franklin Graham wished he could have asked Hawking one question before his passing from this life.
The physicist had stated in a 2011 interview his belief that heaven was a fairy tale, and the existence of earth and the universe could be explained without a creator. Hawking likened the brain to a computer, which when its components fail simply shuts down: no spirit leaving the body, no afterlife.
In response, Graham wrote, “I wish I could have asked Mr. Hawking who he thought designed the human brain.”
He explained that Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard have created wonderful computers over the years, but nothing comes close to the capabilities of the human mind.
“Who do you think designed the human brain?” the evangelist queried. “The Master Designer — God Himself. I wish Stephen Hawking could have seen the simple truth that God is the Creator of the universe he loved to study and everything in it.”
Graham’s post has garnered over 65,000 shares.
Hawking was born on the 300th anniversary stargazer scientist Galileo’s death, and died on the anniversary of astrophysicist Albert Einstein’s birth.
Additionally, his death occurred on Pi Day — 3.14 — the first numbers of the prominent mathematical figure used in many calculations involving circular bodies in physics.
For many, this offered a reason to nod to the providence of God over the universe.
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