People Are Calling Gal Gadot’s Tribute To Stephen Hawking ‘Insensitive’

The great Stephen Hawking passed away on Wednesday at the age of 76 from complications due to aprogressive neurodegenerative disease, and people all around the world, from all walks of life, took a moment to stop and thank the brilliant theoretical physicist and cosmologist whose work and life inspired so many. One of these remembrances was from Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot. However, Gadot’s well-intentioned attempt at making a sweet remark about Hawking also managed to offend some people on Twitter.

Gadot’s sentiments about Hawking were labeled as “ableist” by many individuals — specifically, the phrase “Now you’re free of any physical constraints.”

Twitter bristled at the implication that death was any sort of relief from living with a disability, and many said that such thinking reinforced outdated stigmas about people with disabilities.

People expressed similar criticisms about the general media coverage surrounding Hawking’s death, which often focused on the “heroic” nature of simply living with a neurodegenerative disease.

Dominick Evans, a filmmaker and activist who has spinal muscular atrophy, told HuffPost that while comments such as Gadot’s are well-intentioned, it’s important to remind ourselves that this language belittles people with disabilities, making them “less than.”

“Do I think people mean something harmful when they say this?” he says. “No, I think they believe they are being kind, but the long-term implications of reinforcing Able Normative Supremacy in this world has direct implications and effects on disabled people ― especially with how we are viewed and treated.”