Fake News! Man Marching Against Vietnam War Is Not Stephen Hawking
Writer and activist Tariq Ali, who features in the 1968 photo asserted that the man in the photo was not Hawking.
Veteran physicist, cosmologist and professor Stephen Hawking breathed his last on Wednesday, 14 March, leaving a gaping hole in the world. It is no surprise that tributes poured for the legend from across the world, and from across spheres.
Aside from his scientific knowledge, Hawking was known to harness an equally strong political viewpoint, and has issued powerful statements on contemporary political issues. He was known to speak out against the Vietnam war, the Iraq war, and more recently Brexit, among others.
Following his death, one particular photo which reportedly featured a young Hawking, along with political activist and writer Tariq Ali, was shared widely on social media. People on social media shared the photo claiming that Hawking was marching against the Vietnam War in London during 1968.
But, It’s Actually Not Hawking
Tariq Ali, who is actually featured in the photo, took to Twitter and asserted that the man in the photo, who looks similar to Hawking, was not actually him. He said that while Hawking opposed the Vietnam war and Iraq, Hawking was not the man in the 1968 demonstration photo.
He also accused the National Portrait Gallery for giving an “illiterate” caption to the photo, and creating a “myth”.
Speaking to Gizmodo, a spokesperson from the National Portrait Gallery in London apologised for the mistaken identification. He also alleged that Lewis Morely, the photographer, indicated that it was Hawking in the image.
The National Portrait Gallery apologizes that a sitter in a photograph taken at an anti-Vietnam War demonstration in London in October 1968 was previously mistakenly identified as Stephen Hawking. The photographer, Lewis Morley, indicated that Hawking was in the image but the Gallery has since ascertained that this was incorrect.
The National Portrait Gallery also identifies the man as Hawking on its own website and sells prints of the same.
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