Larson had accused deGrasse Tyson of making fun of the girl for suggesting “she’d like to live on Jupiter.”
“He ridiculed her in the midst of a crowd, then later, several times, on Twitter,” Neal Larson wrote in an op-ed on August 23rd. “That told me everything I needed to know about Neil deGrasse Tyson.”
But deGrasse Tyson responded quickly – “The ‘incident’ with a 9yr old girl never happened. It looks to be a hoax. No such tweets ever existed on November 29th, 2015, or on any other day,” he wrote. “So you abrogated your journalistic integrity by not verifying what you read in somebody else’s article, before using it as a foundational pillar in yours.”
Larson’s op-ed was actually based on a a piece on the satirical website Clickhole, which included fake tweets attributed to the astrophysicist.
Although Larson should probably feel pretty foolish for falling for a “The Onion” style article, don’t be too hard on him. After all, based on deGrasse Tyson’s history of being an intellectual douche; you can see where the confusion came in.
Rich Lowry, writing for Politico, once said of deGrasse Tyson, “The problem is the belief of his fans—encouraged by him—that science has all the answers; that anyone who believes in physics must adhere to a progressive secularism; that anyone not on board is—to borrow from the accusations of Tyson’s defenders—guilty of anti-intellectualism, climate ‘denial’ and racism.”