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”
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.
— Zimmy (@ABZimm) March 14, 2018
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.”