In an interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, Mike Rowe explained he thought he was fired from narrating a show on the Science Channel after a critic called him a “science-doubting, ultra-right-wing conservative.”
In a Facebook post earlier this month, a woman named Rebecca Bright called for Rowe to be fired from his job as the narrator of “How The Universe Works,” a show on the Science Channel, because, in her words, he’s and “anti-education, science-doubting, ultra-right wing conservative.”
“There are countless scientists that should be hired for that, or actors, if you must, that believe in education and science that would sound great narrating the show, example: Morgan Freeman,” she wrote in a post in which she reportedly tagged the producers of the show and network bigwigs. “Cancel this fools [sic] contract and get any of your scientists so often on the show to narrate it.”
Rowe responded by challenging Bright to show proof backing up her claims.
“You’ve called me an ‘ultra-right wing conservative,’ who is both ‘anti-education,’ and ‘science-doubting,'” Rowe wrote. “Interestingly, you offer no proof. Odd, for a lover of science. So I challenge you to do so now. Please provide some evidence that I am in fact the person you’ve described.”
He also pointed out that questioning policies like a $15 per hour minimum wage, or ideas like dark matter, does not make him a bigot. He also noted that Freeman’s previous onscreen roles as God and a professed man of faith might disqualify him from participating in a show that “contradicts the Bible at every turn.”
Rowe said his personal views do not affect his ability to read from a script into a microphone and that Bright’s objections make her sound “fragile.”
Anyway, Rebecca, my beef with your post comes down to this – if you go to my boss and ask her to fire me because you can’t stand the sound of my voice, I get it. Narrators with unpleasant voices should probably look for other work anyway, and if enough people share your view, no hard feelings – I’ll make room for Morgan. But if you’re trying to get me fired simply because you don’t like my worldview, well then, I’m going to fight back. Partly because I like my job, and partly because you’re wrong about your assumptions, but mostly because your tactics typify a toxic blend of laziness and group-think that are all too common today – a hot mess of hashtags and intolerance that deepen the chasm currently dividing our country.
Re-read your own post, and think about your actual position. You’ve publicly asked a network to fire the narrator of a hit show because you might not share his personal beliefs. Don’t you think that’s kind of…extraordinary? Not only are you unwilling to engage with someone you disagree with – you can’t even enjoy a show you claim to love if you suspect the narrator might not share your view of the world! Do you know how insular that makes you sound? How fragile?
Shortly after this brutally honest back-and-forth, Rowe was temporarily replaced by another narrator, which Rowe now says was an accident, though he admits the timing was suspicious. Rowe clarified in a Facebook post on Wednesday that he is still a voice on the show.