Celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is facing backlash from rock band Smash Mouth and gun control advocates after he took to Twitter to compare the number of deaths from the latest mass shootings to that of other causes, such as medical errors and suicide.
“In the past 48hrs, the USA horrifically lost 34 people to mass shootings. On average, across any 48hrs, we also lose…500 to Medical errors, 300 to the Flu, 250 to Suicide, 200 to Car Accidents, 40 to Homicide via Handgun,” Tyson said after the deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. “Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data.”
FUCK OFF!!!! There's your data!!!!
— Smash Mouth (@smashmouth) August 4, 2019
Hours after Tyson shared the tweet, the band’s Twitter account, which has become known for sharing thoughts on the latest news topics, weighed in.
Smash Mouth responded to Tyson’s tweet and said, “F*CK OFF!!!! There’s your data!!!!”
With more than 73,000 responses to his tweet, Tyson also faced scrutiny from other prominent figures who were quick to responded to his tweet.
“Cold take, Neil. 200+ Americans died from gun violence in the past 48 hours,” Moms Demand Action founder and gun control activist Shannon Watts responded.
“Your data is wrong Neil. In the past 48 hours, 200 people were killed with guns and many more were injured while a powerful organization lobbies to protect its interests,” writer and lawyer Amee Vanderpool wrote in response to Tyson. “Maybe you should add some emotion to your game, because your data collection sucks.”
I genuinely love you Neil, but I have to ask how someone so smart can say something this dumb.
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) August 5, 2019
Tyson apologized on Monday saying in a lengthy Facebook message:
My intent was to offer objectively true information that might help shape conversations and reactions to preventable ways we die.
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.
So if you are one of those people, I apologize for not knowing in advance what effect my Tweet could have on you.
More than 30 people were killed in a pair of mass shootings over the weekend, which occured in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.