What were you doing yesterday? If the answer is "publishing an article with a racist and sexist blurb about two female POC scientists", then you might be the Daily Mail.

Ephraim Hardcastle, in this article, said a short blurb about a recent broadcast on Newsnight.

Newsnight's Guardian-trained editor, Ian Katz, is keen on diversity. So, two women were invited to comment on the report about (white, male) American scientists who've detected the origins of the universe – giggling Sky at Night pre-senter Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Sri Lanka-born astronomer Hiranya Peiris.

Things you might not know from that blurb:


1. This is the actual group of scientists who "detected the origins of the universe". Mr. Hardcastle is stating, without factual basis, that all of those people are white male Americans. If he had any interest in looking things up, he might have noticed that ... they're not. Not all of the members of BICEP2 are white, not all of them are male, and not all of them are Americans. So Mr. Hardcastle does a good job of whitewashing scientific research.

2. Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a doctor of mechanical engineering who has been involved in both industry and academia for twenty years. She's been a presenter for The Sky at Night for ... a few months.

3. Dr. Peiris has been involved in academia for just over a decade, including work on cosmic microwave radiation. ... which is what the BICEP team was investigating. But, yes, she is from Sri Lanka, if that somehow matters.

But Dr. Aderin-Pocock looks like this


So I guess Mr. Hardcastle felt okay belittling her.

The Vice-Provost for Research at University College London wrote a nice open letter to the editor of the Daily Mail calling the publication to task for their crap, with absolute knock-down quotes from the doctors who were belittled.


I deeply pity the sort of person who can watch a report about ground-breaking news on the origins of the universe and everything in it, and see only the gender and skin colour of the panellists. I am disturbed that he has even erased the contributions of all of the non-white and non-male and non-American scientists involved in the discovery at the same time.
Dr. Peiris

I find Ephraim Hardcastle's idea very interesting, I now picture the Newsnight team flipping through their rolodex, saying 'too white, too male… ah, 2 ethnic minority females, perfect!'. Monday was a very busy day for me, receiving 10 requests for news interviews, I was able to do Radio 4's PM program, 5 Live, Channel 5 News and Newsnight. I believe that the requests were made for my ability to translate complex ideas into something accessible, rather than my gender or the colour of my skin.
Dr. Aderin-Pocock

If the Daily Mail chooses to respond back to this open letter, I'll update this with their response.
EDITED to fix that I had a picture and link to the BICEP team instead of the BICEP2 team. Thanks to Dr. Lee for the correction and my apologies for the falsehood.