Neil deGrasse Tyson addressed gender inequality on Twitter by tearing apart a joke about women in science.
On 24 August, 2016, a Twitter account called “SciencePorn” (which mostly publishes interesting and amusing stories about science) posted the following joke:
First woman on the Moon:
“Houston, we have a problem.”
What’s the problem?
Please tell us?
The joke went over about as well as could be expected, considering that it was made amidst an ongoing discussion about how relatively few women there are working in various science and technology fields. A Twitter account that at first glance appeared to be that of prominent astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson pushed back against the joke:
The tweets quickly went viral, with many commending Dr. Tyson on his direct approach. However, these tweets didn’t originate from the real Neil deGrasse Tyson, but from a fake account set up to — in its creators’s own words — gently parody the astrophysicist:
Okay, so: I started this account to gently parody a man I deeply respect. But this? This is just dead flat wrong. https://t.co/jGLP5Jx6qn
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@DrNeilTyson) June 29, 2016
The account’s description offered a further clue:
I bring the science, whether you wanted it or not. (98% confident I’m not actually @neiltyson)