Editor’s Note: This story was popular with our readers when it originally ran; we’re re-posting it for your enjoyment.
A woman on Facebook called for the removal of Mike Rowe from the show “How the Universe Works” on the Science Channel, calling him an “anti-education, science doubting, ultra-right wing conservative.”
Rebecca Bright, according to Rowe’s Facebook response, wrote her criticism on his Facebook wall.
“I love the show How the Universe Works, but I’m lost on how the producers and the Science Channel can allow anti-education, science doubting, ultra-right wing conservative Mike Rowe to narrate the show,” she wrote. “There are countless scientists that should be hired for that, or actors, if you must, that believe in education and science that would sound great narrating the show, example: Morgan Freeman. Cancel this fools contract and get any of your scientists so often on the show to narrate it.”
Rowe starts his response to Bright by asking her “How’s it going?” and giving her an account of his knowledge of the science topics he covers.
“First of all, I’m glad you like the show,” he said. “I thought this week’s premiere was especially good. It was called, “Are Black Holes Real?” If you didn’t see it, spoiler alert….no one knows!!!”
He then talks about how the existence of black holes hasn’t actually been proven, but cinematic depictions of black holes have caused many people to assume that they are as real as “the Sun and the Moon.”
“Well, maybe they are, and maybe they aren’t. We just don’t know,” Rowe continued. “That’s why I enjoyed this week’s show so much. It acknowledged the reasons we should question the existence of something that many assume to be ‘settled science.’ It invited us to doubt.”
He then explained to Bright that information changes so quickly, that sometimes he has to go into the studio and re-record something.
“Oftentimes, on programs like these, I’m asked to re-record a passage that’s suddenly rendered inaccurate by the advent of new information. Sometimes, over the course of just a few days,” he said. “That’s how fast the information changes.”
Rowe then evolves from his nice education attitude to addressing Bright’s accusations.
“You’ve called me an ‘ultra-right wing conservative,’ who is both ‘anti-education,’ and ‘science-doubting.’ Interestingly, you offer no proof. Odd, for a lover of science. So I challenge you to do so now,” he said. “Please provide some evidence that I am in fact the person you’ve described. And by evidence, I don’t mean a sentence taken out of context, or a meme that appeared in your newsfeed, or a photo of me standing next to a politician or a talk-show host you don’t like. I mean actual proof of what you claim I am.”
He then defends himself by saying that “questioning the cost of a college degree” doesn’t mean he is anti-education, “questioning the existence of dark-matter does not make me a ‘dark-matter denier'” and “questioning the wisdom of a universal $15 minimum wage” doesn’t make him an ultra-right wing conservative.
“If you go to my boss and ask her to fire me because you can’t stand the sound of my voice, I get it. Narrators with unpleasant voices should probably look for other work anyway, and if enough people share your view, no hard feelings – I’ll make room for Morgan,” he said. “But if you’re trying to get me fired simply because you don’t like my worldview, well then, I’m going to fight back.”
Rowe finished up his post by challenging Bright to reread her own post and think about her position.
“You’ve publicly asked a network to fire the narrator of a hit show because you might not share his personal beliefs. Don’t you think that’s kind of…extraordinary?” he asked, and then said “Not only are you unwilling to engage with someone you disagree with – you can’t even enjoy a show you claim to love if you suspect the narrator might not share your view of the world! Do you know how insular that makes you sound? How fragile?”
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