Neil deGrasse Tyson prompted a flood of angry tweets on Thursday after posting what he considered to be a more truthful version of the United States Pledge of Allegiance.
“If the Pledge of Allegiance told the truth,” the astrophysicist wrote on Twitter, along with an image that read: “I pledge allegiance, to the Flag of the Divided States of America. And to the PACs, for which it stands, one Nation, at odds, divisible, with Liberty and Justice for some.”
The statement was retweeted more than 8,000 times, and favorited by more than 11,000 people. It ignited a backlash from some irate Twitter users, who didn’t appreciate Tyson’s revision.
Some Twitter users were simply dismissive:
— abdul (@Advil) April 2, 2015
@neiltyson Nice science bro
— Mjim (@Mjim22) April 2, 2015
@neiltyson good physics neil
— Abd-OH (@AASalamH) April 2, 2015
.@neiltyson Have your PR firm's intern's assistant delete your account.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) April 2, 2015
.@neiltyson Hey, remember when you used to do sciency stuff? That was cool.
— neontaster (@neontaster) April 2, 2015
While others were a bit more agitated by Tyson’s tweet:
— RB (@RBPundit) April 2, 2015
— Eric Bishop (@Ericb1980) April 2, 2015
— Jack in NYC (@talkradio200) April 2, 2015
— MaxR.S (@Randy_Shannon) April 2, 2015
@neiltyson oh shut up already. If you hate this country so much leave you have conned enough money out of ignorant people to leave
— Phillip (@PhillipG76) April 2, 2015
@neiltyson you make Ralph Wiggum look like Einstein. Maybe stick to junk science & making up Bush quotes, eh?
— Accidental Librarian (@CrystalDawn0603) April 2, 2015
And the Jehovah’s Witnesses even used his tweet as an opportunity to evangelize:
— Walter W. Welle (@WalterWelle) April 2, 2015
But Tyson himself appeared to endorse such trolling earlier in the day, with one condition:
I don't mind trolls. But if you're going to be one, then please try to stay on topic.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) April 1, 2015
A survey of replies to Tyson suggests that condition was thoroughly ignored.