While celebrities flooded social media with heartfelt tributes to Stephen Hawking following his death on Tuesday, Kirstie Alley left fans scratching their heads with one controversial tweet.
Alley shared a message about the renowned astrophysicist on Wednesday, but rather than praise his contributions to science or popular culture, she thanked him for his “input.”
“You had a good go at it.. thanks for your input,” she wrote alongside a photo of Hawking.
You had a good go at it..thanks for your input pic.twitter.com/iCyAe1zuN0— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) March 14, 2018
People on Twitter immediately slammed Alley’s message, accusing her of being passive-aggressive about his life and death.
“Super disrespectful Kirstie - just… WOW,” one user wrote. Another added, “This is the dumbest possible tweet.”
“Kirstie, maybe you should consider non-speaking roles,” one follower quipped. Another called her “black-hearted Kirstie Alley.”
Super disrespectful Kirstie - just ..... WOW— ⚔XWP Jimmy⚔ (@Rockettbootz) March 15, 2018
This is the dumbest possible tweet— Jerry Vegas 🌑 (@vegaslamb) March 14, 2018
Kirstie, maybe you should consider non-speaking roles.— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) March 15, 2018
Others suspected Alley was criticizing Hawking’s work, citing that she is a devout Scientologist.
“This is 100% Scientologist shade. She thinks he’s precious for trying, but doesn’t get ‘it,’” a user wrote.
this is 100% Scientologist shade. She thinks he’s precious for trying, but doesn’t get “it”.— From before, Jamie (@1947Jamie) March 15, 2018
WTF. Input? Can you even science? pic.twitter.com/lBcafPfrCK— Scott San Filippo (@scottopia) March 14, 2018
Following serious backlash, Alley seemed to walk back on her confusing tweet, referring to Hawking as "Probably one of the top 3 funniest people on the planet ... beautiful mind."
Probably one of the top 3 funniest people on the planet..beautiful mind https://t.co/rq7et0I2ta— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) March 14, 2018
She continued, making what seems to be a reference to her tribute gone wrong, writing many Twitter users were like "locusts ... only crispier."
Where do these strange swarms of people come from on Twitter .. like locusts only crispier— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) March 15, 2018
I have so many "regulars" on here.. but then every once in a while the strangest people ( none who follow me) who all seem related in some incestuous ..show up like flies on a hamburger..creepy— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) March 15, 2018
Alley's controversial tribute aside, many of Hawking's celebrity friends, including Eddie Redmayne, who portrayed the scientist in The Theory of Everything, and members of The Big Bang Theory cast, penned heartfelt tributes to the author.
Hawking's children Lucy, Robert and Tim announced the news of his passing late Tuesday. "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years," they shared.
As a graduate student in 1963, Hawking learned he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neuromuscular wasting disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He was given only a few years to live at the time.
The disease reduced his bodily control to only being able to flex a finger and voluntary eye movements, however his mental capacity was unharmed. Though he eventually spoke with a voice synthesiser following a tracheotomy, he went on to become his generation's leader in exploring gravity and the properties of black holes.
He also completed A Brief History of Time — a layman's guide to cosmology — which sold more than 10 million copies.