NASA intern fired over lewd tweets

  • 23/08/2018

A NASA intern reportedly lost her spot after inadvertently telling a high-ranking official to perform a lewd act, without realising who he was.

The saga began earlier this week when Twitter user @NaomiH_official excitedly tweeted: "EVERYONE SHUT THE F**K UP I GOT ACCEPTED FOR A NASA INTERNSHIP".

While perhaps understandable, not everyone thought the response was appropriate.

Homer Hickam - science fiction author, former NASA engineer and current member of the US National Space Council - tweeted just one word at @NaomiH_official - "Language."

The Twitter exchange that started the saga.
The Twitter exchange that started the saga. Photo credit: Twitter

Clearly not knowing who he was, @NaomiH_official's crude response was to tell Mr Hickam, "Suck my d**k and balls I'm working at NASA."

"And I am on the National Space Council that oversees NASA," Mr Hickam replied.

The National Space Council was set up in 2017 by US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, and took over governance of NASA. Mr Pence is chairman, and Mr Hickam is a member of the council's advisory group, along with the likes of astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson.

In a post on his blog, Mr Hickam said he was subjected to "a lot of unkind things" from @NaomiH_official's friends, so deleted his comments and blocked "all concerned".

"Later, I learned she had lost her offer for an internship with NASA," Mr Hickam wrote in the blog post - also since deleted, but reported by Buzzfeed News and the Independent.

Mr Hickam said he has no say over hiring and firing at the space agency, and actually received an "unnecessary apology" from @NaomiH_official which he "heartily accepted".

"After talking to her, I am certain she deserves a position in the aerospace industry and I'm doing all I can to secure her one," he wrote. "I have also talked to the folks that had to do with her internship and made absolutely certain that there will be no black mark on her record. They have told me she may reapply."

@NaomiH_official has since made her Twitter account private. Her bio now simply states she's "taking a break from Twitter for a while".

Mr Hickam has reportedly declined to comment on the matter further. Much of the abuse seemed to take umbrage at Mr Hickam being an "old white man" and a "hectoring old dullard".