Rosetta project scientist Matt Taylor is really sorry about the shirt. The researcher apologized Friday for wearing a shirt that caused a firestorm of criticism earlier this week because it was patterned with a bunch of half-naked women.
Matt Taylor in the offending garment. Image: European Space Agency livestream
Asked during Friday's livestream for an update on how the research coming from Philae—the lander that successfully touched down on Comet 67P earlier this week—would compare to the data collected from Rosetta, Matt immediately launched into an apology for his wardrobe choice.
“The shirt I wore this week," he said, and started to choke up. “I made a big mistake and I’ve offended many people and I’m very sorry about this.”
He then took a moment to collect himself before answering the question.
The shirt in question sparked a heated debate about sexism in STEM fields after Rose Eveleth, a journalist at The Atlantic, tweeted a screengrab from the Rosetta livestream showing Matt wearing the offending bowling shirt, and stating, "No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt."
The tweet that launched a thousand more tweets. Image: Twitter
The shirt was clearly a poor choice, but it's at least good to see a scientist acknowledge the issue and make what sounds like a genuine apology.
Today, all eyes will continue to be fixed on Philae as the lander faces the possibility of losing battery life after it touched down in a darker place than expected.