Be thankful for everything that science has given you this year! And check the expiration date on your cranberry sauce.
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48 comments
Bug Gwen
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This is disgusting. PBS should be ashamed to promote something that trivializes women in science, and promotes harassment of women. SHAME
 
In this video, Marie Curie claims she is just "happy to be included." Over the course of the video, Einstein sexually harasses Curie, then eventually sexually assaults her by falling on top of her while naked. I'm sorry PBS, where is the educational value in reminding women that they are no more than sex objects to their fellow scientists? Because we already knew that.
 
Yes, PBS. This is not OK. Marie Curie is being treated like the sex object in the room because she is female, and she's being harassed because she is female. She should be depicted in this video just as any male scientist would be and highlighted for her scientific accomplishments, not treated as a coat hanger for Einstein-as-parka, breathing down her neck or, for God's sake, how she's presented at the end of this thing with Einstein pretty much just assaulting her. For the matter of that, I'm pretty sure Einstein wouldn't appreciate that much, either.
 
Did PBS actually watch the whole video before endorsing it? It features a representation of a female scientist, who does not get to talk about her scientific research, because she is too preoccupied with what she thinks is coming...an assault.
 
This is disturbing. Unfortunately, the situation of one woman who is forced to put up with harassment from male colleagues is very typical...and ending with Einstein sexually assaulting Curie is really unacceptable. It's sad that sexual harassment and assault is included as something that is supposed to be funny, and is completely disrespectful to the memories of both these scientists.
 
I know you're trying to be funny, and some of it was...but the creepy harassment of women REALLY has to go.  Trivializing harassment by "harmless" jokes does not help us move forward. I'm sure you didn't intend to insult, but you did. We can do better.
 
This video depicts Albert Einstein sexually assaulting Marie Curie… and asks us to laugh about it. I have spent the last month curating stories of sexual harassment and assault in science and science communication (#ripplesofdoubt) and I can assure you that they are neither funny nor a thing of the past. I expect better of both PBS and Joe Hanson. 
 
Don't female scientists have enough to deal with already without having to fight allies (as PBS should be)? This is insulting and degrading, not humorous. 
 
No scientist, no matter their stature, should be able to get away with the sexism shown in this video. To make (mockingly) Marie Curie feel inferior through sexist activity reflects poorly on Joe Hanson and PBS. It also does a severe disservice to our female scientists who constantly have to deal with this offensive and harming activity. That Curie has more Nobel's than the rest of the guests combined (true, most came before the Nobel prize's time, but the point still stands) just exacerbates the issue. We all need to start standing up for and standing with our colleagues when we see them being harassed. 
 
One of the characters says "we live in an enlightened age". Clearly we don't, by this video. In a failed attempt at humor, it shows the lone female scientist in the group being sexually harassed (with approving response from the host!), then assaulted. I'm disappointed that PBS would approve this video. This is absurd. And by the way -- representing the scientists with toys does not make it all OK.
 
I'm both surprised and disappointed that PBS approved this. There's no excuse, particularly after all of the attention sexism in science has been getting.
 
In what dimension is this enlightening? How utterly appalling.
 
Shocked and disappointed that no one caught how insulting this was before it aired..  this is especially not the message to be sending to young scientists
 
Insensitive "jokes" are neither funny nor magically inoffensive.  I have had to have this discussion once already this week.  Must we do it again?  I find rehashing the same old ground tiresome.
 
I'm appalled. Degradng to women scientists, Curie, and to Einstein.
 
I'm a big fan of +Joe Hanson's work generally, but I found this video pretty appalling, for the reasons mentioned by others above. The fact that it was clearly meant in a joking, even self-referentially mocking way really doesn't make it all right.

Also, pet peeve: Why does Marie Curie have to be addressed by her first name, compared with "Einstein" and "Darwin" e.g.? (Galileo is technically a first name but specific and historical enough not to be similarly disrespectful.)
 
This video is deeply problematic and flat out insulting to female scientists and women as a whole. Not only Marie Curie depicted as a sex object (!?), but she is victimized by Einstein, a widely respected model of human success. Is this seriously the message you want to send out to viewers?
 
Charles Darwin: "You must live in such an enlightened age! Surely science has elevated humanity to its fullest potential."

If this video is any indication, then actually no, it hasn't.
 
I have never been prouder of my affiliation with a public television station that has canceled its relationship with PBS. This is abhorrent. 
 
I want to know why it was necessary in the creation of the storyboard to trivialize the only female scientist and make Einstein into a creepy rapist person who sexual harasses the only female scientist in the room. What a strange and disappointing concept for a science promotion video. Completely out of touch with the goals of science communication and especially ignores the particular events not just of the last year with regards to sexual harassment and gender equality (also, no hint of giving a dang about racial equality here) but the continuing and unending struggle and discrimination women face each day. Why perpetuate this, especially when it adds nothing to the storyboard?? What a weird way of thinking. 
 
I feel like this could have been definitely been executed better (see below), but I also think that it was a clever idea. The parallel's between the scientist's advancements and the present day opinions about them (drawing into light the (often poor) state of science in the public eye) was well done. 

But there was infinitely more that wasn't well done. A lot of the comments speak towards how this is a disgrace for women scientists, but I would argue that the short fails ALL scientists, male and female. Look at how they portray Tesla! Here's a man who has, admittedly, a bit of an eccentric personality.... but I don't think he was insane enough to say "I was once a pigeon!" Even for humorous effect. 

Then you go on to Einstein who is portrayed as, quite frankly, a horn-dog in reference to Marie Curie. Not only is this off putting and showing, in a way, women in science what we can expect from our male peers, it's just disrespectful to him. Nothing in history or biographies that I've read indicates that this was his true personality (and if there is, point me in that direction, I don't want to falsely accuse PBS of things). Having his character appear naked momentarily is just unnecessary to the point of the video. It adds a bit of humor, but not much more. (Also, Einstein-bobble-head is fully clothed in the later scene where he falls on top of Madame Curie, still unnecessary, though I think.)

TL:DR Good idea to start with. Humorously parallel scientist's contribution with the real world reception. It fell short in execution, becoming a deluge of disrespectful and non-humorous quips which end up making it look like the scientist, even today, has to be that level of eccentric to be a "good" scientist. This simply isn't true. While I agree that the treatment of Madame Curie was a 'bit not good', neither was the treatment of her male peers and predecessors.
 
They are made eccentric to be funnier, as this is a comedy sketch. I didn't think this would have to be explained.
 
Your opinion is valid, but humor is relative. I laughed.
 
I agree, humor is relative. I even chuckled at a few things (not finding any words that rhymed with Gallapagos). I just think that they took it too far (as I outlined above), and in doing so they ruined what would have been a funny, well-meaning sketch. But, that's just my opinion. :)
 
How unpleasant and offensive. To think this comes just weeks after the SciAm debacle too! Please remove this and apologise. You can still do some good here by recognising that this is not funny and explaining why you took this down.
 
To those who find this video funny: what is your gender, how old are you, and what do you know about these scientists? Genuinely trying to understand how.
 
It's okay to be smart, but apparently it's still not okay to be a woman.
 
+Jung Choi Female, 17, and a fair amount about Curie, Tesla, Darwin, and Galileo, but not nearly as much about Newton or Einstein. I was mainly amused by the Tesla parts, but I did not necessarily enjoy the whole Einstein on Curie thing. Ugh.
 
I don't know what the intention is here but what it comes off as is that the very existence of a female scientist is joke in itself. Ick.
 
On top of all the horribleness such as treating sexual harassment as a punch line ("Get it? It's because it's non-consensual! Ha ha ha.") and Marie Curie merely as an object of Albert Einstein's unwanted advance without even mentioning (at least briefly) what she actually did (for her TWO Nobel prizes). And as pointed by +Ashley Hicks, it was a misrepresentation of those two scientists' relationship with each other: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/25779116 (h/t +Jeremy Yoder on Twitter)
 
If I'm thankful for anything, it's that so many thoughtful, articulate people have stepped up to nail this video for its glaringly inappropriate jokey treatment of sexual harassment and assault. +PBS Digital Studios and +Joe Hanson, you got it wrong. REALLY wrong. And you should OWN that you got it wrong. Do it. And then move on and make better videos. 
 
This video is an embarrassment to +PBS Digital Studios and higher education. How can you say to all children and teens that 'it's okay to be smart' and then show women being assaulted as something which is par for the course. Take this down and fire Joe who has had ample time to weigh his mistake and continues to persist in his wrongminded idea that this is 'funny'. 
 
As a woman, as a scientist, and especially as a parent, I am beyond dismayed and disgusted by this video…I'm not sure whether I'll ever be able to trust PBS and +PBS Digital Studios  to produce content that is safe for me to watch with my 6 year old, science-loving daughter. PBSkids is the first website I let her have unfettered access to, and PBS nature documentaries are what I grew up watching. If I hadn't heard via Facebook about the vile, anti-woman theme of this video, I would have likely come across it, noted that it had bobble head dolls of scientists, and invited my daughter to watch it with me. And that would have led to the sort of discussion that I am not yet prepared to have with my daughter about things that I have faced as a woman in science and things that she may have to face if her love of science leads to a career in it. I'm lucky my Facebook feed alerted me to the offensiveness of the content, but not every parent is going to have the clued in group of friends that I do. An apology (that doesn't even read as fully sincere) is not enough. +PBS Digital Studios needs to take down the content or at least slap it with a warning that it is for mature audiences only. If +PBS Digital Studios doesn't take responsibility for this terrible judgement call made under their brand name, they will have lost a household of viewers and donors.
 
Why is it still online? Why no statement? This is so disappointing.
 
Joe did a blog post on his IOTBS tumblr, but most people haven't seen it, that I'm aware of.
Bug Gwen
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Except: Joe doesn't seem to understand that it's not that we don't get the joke, or his joke failed, but that this is a topic that is not funny. He sits by and watches as Curie is harassed and then assaulted, and says nothing. That makes his apology...well, not make any sense. It's enabling rape culture. http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Rape_culture
This video had lots of production--script, voice, video, animation--why, at no point, did no one say "hey your video is really rapey and triggering, and that's not funny?" 
 
I hate that this is still up. Children watch these, no? What possible message could a boy get from it than than it's cute and hilarious and the sort of thing a role model like Einstein would do to demean and harass girls? and for a girl that it's weird for her to be a scientist and her colleagues will attack her while everyone laughs?? Especially as this has nothing to do with who Curie and Einstein really were (Einstein listed Curie as one of the two scientists for whom he had the most respect). You honestly couldn't think of a specific joke for Curie, a scientist who was literally radioactive? I notice she's the only figure whose actual work is never mentioned. Yikes, guys.
 
+Sydney Padua
Einstein may be a role model in terms of his career, as are all the scientists, but I really wouldn't want to be involved in any of their personal lives.  Einstein, for one, had many affairs.  That said, it's not your entertainment's job to educate your kid and teach them moral lessons.  That's your job.

Obviously the joke failed and was in poor taste.  Joe has written a post on his tumblr about it.  It's worth a read.
 
+karatepop An additional dimension to the problem is that PBS has a long-established relationship with the educational community, literal partnerships with schools to provide content.  Years of trust for acceptable media have developed, and this content undermines this relationship.  
 
ITT: White knights and women angry that Einstein would NEVER hit on them even when drunk and naked at a party.  Are you jealous of Marie Curie?
 
Quite a funny video thought I agree that the Einstein-Curie interaction was a bit weird and undermined the otherwise light-hearted banter. Thankfully the less reactionary could see that the intent was innocent and the apology was heartfelt.

Interesting that the vast majority of the complaints are about the perceived victimisation of Curie with no mention of the portrayal of Einstein as a lecher. I have been trying to understand what mindset makes one entirely focus on only one aspect of the interaction without caring about others.

Perhaps more editorial oversight is required before the videos are given the green light? Joe Hanson's work is otherwise excellent, please don't pay attention to the disgusting harassment he is receiving at the hands of persons who simply want to generate misery.
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