Actress Gal Gadot has attracted criticism after suggesting that the influential scientist Stephen Hawking is now “free of any physical restraints” following his death earlier this week.
Hawkins, who was one of the world’s most renowned theoretical physicists, died at age 76 after suffering over 50 years from motor neuron disease, leading to tributes from across the world.
“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.
Rest in peace Dr. Hawking. Now you're free of any physical constraints.. Your brilliance and wisdom will be cherished forever ✨ pic.twitter.com/EQzSxqNTuN
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) March 14, 2018
However, the Wonder Woman star quickly attracted criticism, with some people accusing her of being “ableist,” a term used to describe discrimination against the disabled.
“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.”
“Gal I am chronically ill. Can’t shower or even get myself out of bed,” said another Twitter user. “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.”
“It’s harmful to suggest that his disability constrained him,” added another individual. “He did more in his lifetime than most of us. It’s harmful to suggest that he has to be dead to be “free.” He was free his whole life.”
Hawkins, whose illness rendered him complete paralyzed and only capable of communicating through a computerized speech program, described himself as happier with his illness than he had been before.
It is not the first occasion that Gadot has caused a social media uproar. In January, the Israeli actress angered some after wearing a dress from the Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab, with Israel and Lebanon considered diplomatic enemies.