Leading scientist removed from oil spill team after discovery of homophobic blog posts

Remember that adage about being careful about what you post to the web coming back to haunt you?

Well it might be a new adage but it is definitely one that Washington University physics professor Jonathan Katz will have plenty of time to ruminate over now that he has been removed from the select team of scientists that were selected by the Obama administration to look into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The reason for his removal it seems is some writings on his blog about some rather sensitive social issues of which his little screed defending homophobia was one.

In that post Katz wrote this about the AIDS epidemic

“The human body was not designed to share hypodermic needles, it was not designed to be promiscuous, and it was not designed to engage in homosexual acts,” he wrote. “Engaging in such behavior is like riding a motorcycle on an icy road without a helmet. It may be possible to get away with it for a while, and a few misguided souls may get a thrill out of doing so, but sooner or later (probably sooner) the consequences will be catastrophic. Lethal diseases spread rapidly among people who do such things.”

According to the post in the LA Times these writings were not known about at the time when Katz was picked for the team.

“Dr. Chu has spoken with dozens of scientists and engineers as part of his work to help find solutions to stop the oil spill,” a statement from the Energy Department said. “Some of Professor Katz’s controversial writings have become a distraction from the critical work of addressing the oil spill. Professor Katz will no longer be involved in the Department’s efforts.”

As for your past coming back to haunt you. Those writings by Katz are from about 10 years ago which goes to show that you might have forgotten about your rants but the web never will.