Today, it doesn’t take much to be cancelled. One wrong tweet, Instagram live or Facebook post can shatter years of good work, leaving a reputation so horrible, that a future, in any field, seems bleak. But it’s so easy to cancel people today, what with social media making the world a smaller place. The people on this list were lucky to have not been around for this new age, since they would have likely lost the respect of friends, family, colleagues and supporters with their deplorable actions. Here are five great minds who would be cancelled today.
1. Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein is undoubtedly one of the greatest human minds we’ve discovered, but not all his theories and ideas made sense. That’s right, despite his amazing contributions to the theory of relativity, he had some beliefs we wish he kept hidden in that brain of his. Like the way he thought his wife should behave after their marriage started deteriorating, as stated in her biography:
“You will make sure:
1. that my clothes and laundry are kept in good order;
2. that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room;
3. that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.
You will renounce all personal relations with me insofar as they are not completely necessary for social reasons. Specifically, you will forego:
1. my sitting at home with you;
2. my going out or travelling with you.
You will obey the following points in your relations with me:
1. you will not expect any intimacy from me, nor will you reproach me in any way;
2. you will stop talking to me if I request it;
3. you will leave my bedroom or study immediately without protest if I request it.
You will undertake not to belittle me in front of our children, either through words or behavior.”
2. James Watson
You may know Watson best for his work with Crick – the two won a Nobel prize for discovering that DNA was shaped like a double helix back in 1953. But there were some rather nasty character traits that were brought to light in a PBS documentary about the man in question, where he was recorded saying “there’s a difference on the average between blacks and whites on IQ tests. I would say the difference is, it’s genetic.” Not only would he have been cancelled today, but he was also cancelled back then and stripped of his Nobel prize.
3. John Charles Cutler
John Cutler’s name might not be all that familiar to you, but his project sure is: the Tuskegee experiment. His utter disregard for human life by deliberately infecting prisoners with syphilis and then offering placebos to African American men he knew had the disease, despite penicillin being readily available and recommended to treat the ailment, was one of the most shameful scientific studies ever done. It remains one of the darkest moments in recent history and one of the reasons why so many are still skeptical about trusting the healthcare system today. There’s no question that this man would have been cancelled, imprisoned and likely given the death sentence, if he was alive today.
4. Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison’s work with electricity is why his name has gone down in history as one of the greatest inventors of the age. But he would’ve had PETA and animal lovers around the world up in arms if he pulled the same elephant stunt he did in 1903. According to sources, Edison, in trying to prove that Tesla’s (his rival) AC system was too dangerous for people to use, decided to electrocute Topsy the elephant at Coney Island and had the entire thing filmed. Of course, it didn’t matter that Topsy had already been sentenced to death for her wild ways. It was the fact that Edison went through with it and made it a spectacle that people would have despised.
5. Steven Hawking
One cannot mention black holes and not think of Steven Hawking. His contributions also included work with radiation and despite his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which limited his movement, he was and still is hailed as a hero to many across the world. But, and it’s a big one, his ex-wife (who abandoned her studies to support her husband) was left out of his speech when he became the youngest fellow appointed to the Royal Society. Jane Baryl Wilde said that in addition to being shamed for her religion (Hawking was an atheist), the scientist also demanded that she carry his around the house like a king.
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