Bill Nye, the not-so-popular Science Guy.
The celebrity scientist attended President Trump’s State of the Union Tuesday night with Jim Bridenstine, the Republican tapped to lead NASA who has been blasted as a climate change skeptic.
Nye’s colleagues weren’t too pleased.
Ahead of the speech, a group called 500 Women Scientists published an editorial in Scientific American, accusing Nye of “tacitly endors(ing) those very policies, and his own personal brand over the interests of the scientific community at large.”
“As scientists, we cannot stand by while Nye lends our community’s credibility to a man who would undermine the United States’ most prominent science agency. And we cannot stand by while Nye uses his public persona as a science entertainer to support an administration that is expressly xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, racist, ableist, and anti-science,” the editorial read.
The group went on to say that Nye does not speak for the scientific community.
The Planetary Society, who had announced Nye’s invitation earlier in the month, said in a statement that his attendance at the SOTU was not an endorsement of Bridenstine or his politics.
“Our relationship with Bridenstine and his office goes back years due to his involvement in the House Space Subcommittee, which has oversight over NASA,” Casey Dreier, the director of space policy wrote.
“The Society makes an effort to engage with every legislator directly involved on NASA issues regardless of their party or ideology, and I firmly believe we most effectively represent the members of The Planetary Society by doing so. Just in my personal experience with him and his office, we’ve found them to be thoughtful and open to taking advice and ideas from people willing to engage with them.”
Nye also attempted some damage control, saying on Twitter that he disagrees with Bridenstine “on a great many issues” but “share a deep respect for NASA and its achievements and a strong interest in the future of space exploration.”