Space scientist apologizes for shirt called sexist

November 14, 2014
In this Nov. 12, 2014 picture ESA physicist Matt Taylor shows his 'Rosetta' tattoo at the satellite control center of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Darmstadt, Germany. British physicist Matt Taylor brimmed with excitement as the European Space Agency's Philae lander successfully separated from the Rosetta spacecraft, showing off a colorful tattoo on his thigh of both, while proclaiming "we're making history." But it was his bowling-shirt that attracted more attention than the unconventional Rosetta project scientist's words or ink -- a garish collage of pinup girls in various states of undress. (AP Photo/dpa,Arne Dedert)

British physicist Matt Taylor brimmed with excitement as the European Space Agency's Philae lander successfully separated from the Rosetta spacecraft, showing off a colorful tattoo on his thigh of both, while proclaiming "we're making history."

But it was his garish bowling shirt that attracted more attention than the unconventional Rosetta project scientist's words or ink—a collage of pinup girls in various states of undress.

Summarizing the firestorm, the Guardian proclaimed in a blog post: "ESA can land their robot on a comet. But they still can't see misogyny under their noses."

On Friday, Taylor—wearing a non-descript navy-blue ESA hoodie—offered an unsolicited apology.

"I made a big mistake and I offended many people," he said, breaking down in tears. "And I'm very sorry about this."

In this image issued from ESA, showing British physicist Matt Taylor Thursday Nov. 13, 2014, sporting a garish bowling shirt featuring a collage of pin-up girls in various states of undress, during an interview at the satellite control centre of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Darmstadt, Germany, on Thursday Nov. 13, 2014. On Friday Nov 14, Taylor offered an unsolicited apology about his shirt "I made a big mistake and I offended many people," he said. "And I'm very sorry about this." (AP Photo/ESA)

In this image taken from TV showing British physicist Matt Taylor Thursday Nov. 13, 2014, sporting a garish bowling shirt featuring a collage of pin-up girls in various states of undress, as he prepares for a TV interview at the satellite control centre of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Darmstadt, Germany, on Thursday Nov. 13, 2014. On Friday Nov 14, Taylor offered an unsolicited apology about his shirt "I made a big mistake and I offended many people," he said. "And I'm very sorry about this." (AP Photo/APTV)

Explore further: NASA hails comet landing as 'breakthrough moment'

Related Stories

Relief as signal arrives from comet lander

November 12, 2014

Europe's Rosetta spacecraft made contact with its robot craft Philae soon after the lander embarked Wednesday on a solo, seven-hour descent to a comet, ground controllers said. (WATCH LIVE)

The wake-up call that sent hearts racing

October 1, 2014

"But as the minutes ticked by, the relaxed attitude of many of us began to dissolve into apprehension. Our levels of adrenaline and worry began to rise."

Image: Rosetta's Philae lander snaps a selfie

April 16, 2014

Philae is awake… and taking pictures! This image, acquired last night with the lander's CIVA (Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyzer) instrument, shows the left and right solar panels of ESA's well-traveled Rosetta ...

Image: Rosetta's comet looms

August 28, 2014

Wow! Rosetta is getting ever-closer to its target comet by the day. This navigation camera shot from Aug. 23 shows that the spacecraft is so close to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that it's difficult to fit the entire 2.5-mile ...

European probe plants thermometer on comet

November 14, 2014

Europe's Philae lander is doing well and has succeeded in planting a thermometer in the comet where it touched down this week, the European Space Agency said Friday.

Recommended for you

Giant radio flare of Cygnus X-3 detected by astronomers

December 7, 2016

(Phys.org)—Russian astronomers have recently observed a giant radio flare from a strong X-ray binary source known as Cygnus X-3 (Cyg X-3 for short). The flare occurred after more than five years of quiescence of this source. ...

Dark matter may be smoother than expected

December 7, 2016

Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO's VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought. An international team ...

New evidence for a warmer and wetter early Mars

December 7, 2016

A recent study from ESA's Mars Express and NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provides new evidence for a warm young Mars that hosted water across a geologically long timescale, rather than in short episodic bursts ...

Cassini transmits first images from new orbit

December 7, 2016

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has sent to Earth its first views of Saturn's atmosphere since beginning the latest phase of its mission. The new images show scenes from high above Saturn's northern hemisphere, including the planet's ...

ExoMars orbiter images Phobos

December 7, 2016

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter has imaged the martian moon Phobos as part of a second set of test science measurements made since it arrived at the Red Planet on 19 October.

28 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RhoidSlayer
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 14, 2014
how in appropriate , thats the kind of shirt you should only wear when visiting the mustang ranch
or a local tittie bar because even hooters is a family business
kochevnik
2.2 / 5 (10) Nov 14, 2014
Even pilots are emasculated in the West. Pathetic
gkam
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 14, 2014
Ivan, please go away.

Thanks.
Shootist
4.2 / 5 (15) Nov 14, 2014
Just to be clear, Rose Eveleth of The Atlantic is a horrible person, who took what should have been one of the best days of a man's life, a day of doing something no human beings had ever done before, and ruined it in order to feel important.

I had hoped #gamersgate would have translated to other venues more quickly.
Whydening Gyre
4.1 / 5 (9) Nov 14, 2014
OMG... On a day of such significant achievement, someone was looking at a guys shirt?!?!? That observer needs to get a life...
I say - the one who calls out sexism is the REAL 800lb sexist in the room...
RhoidSlayer
5 / 5 (1) Nov 14, 2014
and I thought they we're complaining about Vargas , not Mucha or Waterhouse
imido
Nov 15, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
imido
Nov 15, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
DirtySquirties
2.1 / 5 (7) Nov 15, 2014
ESA can land their robot on a comet. But they still can't see misogyny under their noses.

That's putting it mildly. Only a violent misogynistic patriarchy would allow this guy to be anywhere but six feet underground. A guy who wears a shirt like that obviously supports the sexual harassment, rape, and murder of all women. And it's all just more proof of the patriarchy pinning women down and robbing them of every one of their rights.

But I guess women aren't enough for this guy either, because he's raping comets with his misogynistic comet probe. When are men going to get it through their thick skulls that women are better at everything and they should step aside before they destroy our whole solar system?
imido
Nov 15, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
alfie_null
4.4 / 5 (9) Nov 15, 2014
Judging from the predictable backlash, the author of the criticism got the notoriety she was seeking. At the cost of honest promotion of womens' rights, where it counts. Political correctness witch-hunts instead of focusing on slavery, torture, mutilation, etc.

Anyways, the guy's a scientist. Why on earth should we expect any sense of propriety in how he dresses.
stevemowen3
1 / 5 (8) Nov 15, 2014
I don't understand space exploration, surely there are more pressing problems on Earth that could use the BILLIONS of dollars/pounds that are spent on pointless projects (ohh look, that comet is made of rock and ice duhhh). Advancement of knowledge ??? I think not.
nEc
3.3 / 5 (7) Nov 15, 2014
Well, some unsatisfied (physically and mentally) female beings are capable of anything, just to become the center of attention. Poor guy, doing great job, just to be ruined psychically from a bunch of feminist, lesbian witches...
hjbasutu
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 15, 2014
to hell with feminists
antigoracle
1 / 5 (1) Nov 15, 2014
Well, you know the old saying.
It don't take a rocket scientist to see that shirt is.....
andyrdj
5 / 5 (3) Nov 15, 2014
Why "misogynistic"? That would imply a general dislike of women - whereas this guy probably likes them, just likes scantily clad ones best of all. There's a bit of this opinion in most men, just not all of us broadcast it.

Generally that's not the sort of shirt you wear for a press conference, it's a bit less than professional. But don't let's go putting words in people's mouths, or ascribing motives to them that don't exist.

And above all, don;t apologise for expressing a different taste than the status quo.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 15, 2014
well, i guess i have a screwed up sense of importance...

i always thought it was the science that mattered

and here i am seeing that for some people, it is the appearance only that matters

so the guy was thinking more about science and likely just grabbed a favorite shirt that was made for him by a friend (i do the same thing all the time)

IMHO - he wasn't thinking about offending anyone, he was excited about the results he was getting, about doing something really cool and he grabbed something to wear that likely held some psychological comfort to him (or perhaps it had another important link to him?)

IMHO - the fact that someone would look past the accomplishment, science and impact of the event to nitpick about dress/appearance at a time like that tells me that they have got more issues than a magazine stand during an "everything must go" sale

i am not supporting sexism in any way
the guy wore a gift and was excited about the event/science
it's not a big deal
JoeBlue
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 15, 2014
That shirt is awesome.
angelhkrillin
3 / 5 (2) Nov 16, 2014
Even if you were still justifying concentrating on a shirt and not a historical moment, this is sooo idiotic, it just shows women that are drawn well modeling clothing. Are you saying concept artists, fashion designers, and the women who work as models that influence the clothes you wear are being sexist too? Get off your high horse.
mooster75
1.4 / 5 (7) Nov 16, 2014
IMHO - he wasn't thinking about offending anyone,

IMHO-that doesn't matter one bit. This is the problem we have with the discussion of racism in this country. If one lives in a society that is so racist that millions of people act in a racist manner without intention, then we have a serious problem, one that won't be solved by screaming "racist" at each other day after day.
Noumenon
2 / 5 (4) Nov 16, 2014
"I made a big mistake and I offended many people," he said, breaking down in tears. "And I'm very sorry about this."


You're a pathetic human being, ...not for wearing the shirt,... but for apologizing for being a man.
ShotmanMaslo
5 / 5 (2) Nov 16, 2014
Shirt with half naked women is OK. The shirt was not insulting to women at all. Shouldnt we have progressed beyond such body-policing attitude already? What kind of puritanistic mental midget is more concerned with a shirt instead of a comet landing??
Noumenon
1 / 5 (2) Nov 16, 2014
This is the problem we have with the discussion of racism in this country. If one lives in a society that is so racist that millions of people act in a racist manner without intention, then we have a serious problem


Liberalism promotes perpetual victimization. This fraud has indeed advanced to the point where merely having a natural reaction to, or mentioning a factual attribute of, the 'victim group' is now defined as sexism or racism. Just existing as a white male and living your life and being naturally attracted to women, is the cause of 'institutionalized racism' and 'sexism'.

When one can't help but be 'racist' or 'sexist' then the definitions are self-fulfilling and fraudulent.
someone11235813
5 / 5 (1) Nov 16, 2014
The entire episode was concocted by the media as a click bait beat up. I'm surprised that Dr Taylor didn't simply ignore the whole debacle. Too bad we can't get Richard Feynman's view on this, I'm certain he'd have a few choice words to say.
gwrede
5 / 5 (2) Nov 16, 2014
The captions shout "various states of undress", while I only see Properly Covered women. Also, the woman in the lower picture would have thrown him out for hours ago if the shirt really had been inappropriate.

pninush
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 17, 2014
We have seriously hit rock bottom. To the people that are offended by this shirt. Where is your common sense and please take a moment to remember what happened to you in the past that causes you to have the need to destroy one of the biggest moments in this mans life? Shame on you! It Comes down to plain bullying by a sad, jealous person.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (2) Nov 18, 2014
Forget the shirt, what get's me is that absurd tattoo. That guy has got serious problems. Boo..hoo..
ryggesogn2
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 18, 2014
A woman made the shirt for him.
Why isn't the creator of the shirt being attacked by femi-nazis?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.