Olivia Munn simply offering praise to scientist Katie Bouman for the first black hole photo has turned into a thing.
The Predator actress was one of many to share the photo of Bouman, a post-doctoral fellow at MIT, sitting excitedly in front of her computer screen while the historic image was in the process of being reconstructed. Munn congratulated Bouman, whom she called an “inspiration,” and the 29-year-old’s “amazing team,” for creating the algorithm that assembled the one-of-a-kind picture.
While there were tons of other comments lauding Bouman and company, a snarky one posted by Instagram user junior.willz, directed toward Munn, asked, “Is everything gender or race related”? That led to a back-and-forth with the star, who hadn’t mentioned gender or race in her post to begin with.
“Wow,” Munn replied. “I didn’t say anything about her race or gender. But clearly that’s all you see. I’m gonna take a wild guess that you’re a f***ing idiot. Am I right?”
Meanwhile, another commenter, j_frost93, defends the critic, saying Munn “wouldn’t have said anything” about the black hole discovery “if a man had done this. It would have just been another day for science.”
Munn didn’t let that go either. “You have no way of saying what I would do,” she replied. “Like right now I’m going to tell you to go f*** yourself. Bet you didn’t predict that.”
Munn later joked with another commenter about sending ignorant commenters to a black hole. Spoiler: She’s all for it.
Instagram wasn’t the only platform on which Munn faced criticism for her seemingly innocuous post heralding the achievement. On Twitter, she had someone complain that she didn’t refer to Bouman as Dr. Bouman in her 140 characters. (Bouman, who will soon start a job as assistant professor at Caltech, received her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT in 2017 .)
Her reply to that was just as frank. It led the commenter — Sarah Nelson-Taylor, Ph.D. — to deactivate her Twitter account.
Bouman has been getting accolades from fellow scientists, as well as historians and politicians for the achievement, which was captured by the Event Horizon telescope (EHT) — a network of eight radio telescopes in many locations, including Antarctica to Spain and Chile, in an effort involving more than 200 scientists. And Bouman made it very clear that the achievement took a village.
Munn is very active on social media and uses it for a little of everything, including speaking out when she learned a registered sex offender had been given a role in The Predator, slamming the parents involved in the college admissions scandal and even clearing up plastic surgery rumors.
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