Today show host John Humphrys has landed himself in hot water after asking Professor Brian Cox a ‘vile’ question about Professor Stephen Hawking.
The famed scientist, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease from the age of 21, died overnight aged 76.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s flagship morning show during a segment about the departed physicist Humphrys asked fellow scientist Cox: “I wonder whether it was ever said of [Hawking], in your profession, that he was cut a bit of slack because he was so desperately disabled and fought through it?”
Cox immediately responded, “no, absolutely not” and Humphrys has come under intense criticism online with many claiming offence at his line of questioning.
Am i going mad? I keep rubbing my eyes, but this sentence stays the same. https://t.co/0HZjDzxvwE
— Graham Linehan (@Glinner) March 14, 2018
— The brown/ginger one (@MycroftSE1) March 14, 2018
— Barry Adams (@badams) March 14, 2018
— CSpengler298 (@Spengler298) March 14, 2018
Hey BBC, hey, hey, hey, BBC, hey, hey there…
FIRE JOHN HUMPHRYS, HE'S AN EMBARRASSMENT
— alanbenzie (@alanbenzie) March 14, 2018
Yes #JohnHumphrys his whole career was based on ALL Science just humouring him because he was disabled… Is that really a *quality* journalistic question? #BBCR4today time to restructure and focus on serious news analysis. https://t.co/qi0NB8ZEpf
— Paul Joyce (@bergersmicer) March 14, 2018
NASA was just one of the many scientific institutions who have paid tribute to Hawking and his incredible body of work, saying: ‘His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity.’
Astronaut Chris Hadfield also tweeted: “Genius is so fine and rare. Goodbye Professor Hawking. You inspired and taught us all.”
John Humphrys, who was recently revealed to be the BBC’s highest-paid presenter, also found himself under fire in February after audio leaked of a jokey conversation he had with BBC’s North America editor Jon Sopel about the BBC pay gap dispute.
Humphrys had recently agreed to take a pay cut, along with Sopel, Jeremy Vine, and Huw Edwards after Carrie Gracie resigned as BBC China editor in protest at unequal pay between male and female international editors.
“Dear God,” Humphrys can be heard saying to Sopel, “She’s actually suggested that you should lose money; you know that, don’t you? You’ve read the thing properly, have you?”