Gal Gadot has received online criticism after sharing a tribute to Stephen Hawking, following his death yesterday, aged 76.
The Wonder Woman actress has been branded ‘ableist’ – a term used to describe discrimination or prejudice against people who are disabled. In a Twitter tribute, she wrote: “Rest in peace Dr. Hawking. Now you’re free of any physical constraints.. Your brilliance and wisdom will be cherished forever”
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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
Social media users have pointed out that Hawking was never limited by his “physical restraints” and went on to achieve some of the greatest discoveries known to science. He was not defined by his disability, nor did it bind him.
I think you’re fantastic Gal but this tweet is very ableist. 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.
— Adam B. Zimmerman (@ABZimm) March 14, 2018
Gal I am chronically ill. Can't shower or even get myself out of bed. 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. Watch @unrestfilm pls
— amara campbell (@amaracampbell) March 14, 2018
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Ms. Gadot, he will always be remembered for his brilliance and humor despite his physical condition. I must disagree however, with a mind like his, he had no physical constants. He took trips through space, time and dimensions that we could not even imagine. May he Rest In Peace.
— Rev. Gary Conkle (@nthdeegree) March 14, 2018
Thank you "Wonder Woman" for that completely ableist comment. Being disabled is not a restraint, he is one of the greatest minds in the world AND he was disabled. It did not RESTRAIN him. So disappointed people think this way. ???
— Aimée Talbot????? (@Bunnyaimee) March 15, 2018
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Hawking lived with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which meant he used a wheel chair and a speech synthesiser. At the time of his diagnosis, when he was 21, he wasn’t expected to reach his 25th birthday.
“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years,” he told the Guardian in 2011. “I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.