Among many celebrities, Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot joined the mourning by posting a tweet that read:
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
Though some saw the tweet as an innocent farewell, others viewed the words as discrimination against people with disabilities.
Prominent disability advocates called her comments ableist, condemning the 32-year-old’s inference that those with disabilities are incapable to live life to the fullest, and are thus ‘freed’ by death.
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
So what we’re NOT gonna do is talk about Stephen Hawking’s disability like it was a tragedy. Because it wasn’t. Disabilities are not tragedies. Abled people can go away. https://t.co/e1PB6TB79F
— Ophelia Brown (@bandaidknees) March 14, 2018