Neil deGrasse Tyson issued an apology Monday after he tweeted about gun deaths over the weekend.
In the tweet, the astrophysicist and author coolly referred to the mass shooting deaths in Ohio and Texas, suggesting they pale in comparison to deaths from other causes, namely illness and accidents.
By comparing the loss of 34 people over the weekend to deaths caused by illness and accidents, many people felt Tyson was downplaying the role that gun violence plays in American society.
“My intent was to offer objectively true information that might help shape conversations and reactions to preventable ways we die,” Tyson said in his apology posted on Facebook. “I apologize for not knowing in advance what effect my Tweet could have on you. I am therefore thankful for the candor and depth of critical reactions shared in my Twitter feed.”
On Twitter, the response was fierce and immediate, with tens of thousands of Twitter users responding.
“Cold take, Neil. 200+ Americans died from gun violence in the past 48 hours,” author and gun control activist Shannon Watts responded.
Many other people mentioned that the other causes he listed were being researched or had reliable preventative measures that could be taken such as vaccines, while gun violence remains an unsolved issue.
The remarks come just days after deGrasse Tyson’s return to television following accusations of inappropriate behavior.
He denied the claims and Fox and Nat Geo announced in a statement that they concluded their investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct that were first published in November by Patheos, a religion and spirituality website.
No details of the investigation were released by the networks.