Lead ESA Scientist Says He “Made A Big Mistake”; Offers Emotional Apology For Sexist Shirt
And that's the kind of intelligence that puts robots into space.
— Rose Eveleth (@roseveleth) November 12, 2014
During a livestream for the Rosetta landing earlier this week, lead ESA Scientist Matt Taylor unwittingly started a controversy when he chose to wear a bowling shirt covered in sexualized women while meeting with the press. But here’s some good news that might help erase the fleshy travesty from our permanently damaged retinas: Matt Taylor is sorry. Like, really, really sorry.
In an ESA livestream earlier today, the British phycisist offered what Phys.org is describing as “an unsolicited apology,” saying through tears that
…The shirt I wore this week…I made a big mistake and I offended many people…And I’m very sorry about this.
To be honest, considering the support Taylor received during Shirtgate from defenders who felt the man had earned the right to wear whatever sexist garment he pleased by landing a g.d. robot on a mother-flippin’ comet, I never expected the scientist to offer an apology, much less an unprompted one. It’s incredibly reassuring that The Guardian’s “The ESA can land their robot on a comet. But they still can’t see misogyny under their noses” quip might not be as accurate as it first seemed–in the midst of what must be the busiest, most high-stakes period of his life, Taylor still took responsibility for his actions, and without any accompanying “hey, but remember that time I made space history?” defensiveness.
Phys.org notes that at the time of the apology Taylor was wearing “a non-descript navy-blue ESA hoodie,” and yes, in general, what a scientist wears is irrelevant, provided it’s not the bowling shirt equivalent of a Milo Manara cover. But, considering that a woman in Taylor’s impressive position would almost definitely undergo equal if not greater scrutiny for her wardrobe choices, it’s kind of refreshing.
You can watch a currently unembeddable video of Taylor’s apology here. And remember, dude, if you ever want to wear a shirt that proudly proclaims your space wizard status without inciting another gender politics firestorm, we’ve got a new design for you right here. Now get down with your bad self!
- Rosetta broke the Internet more than Kim Kardashian
- Philae’s team is making sure the lander is secure
- Watch the ESA’s adorable Rosetta cartoons
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com