One of the unwritten rules of social media is avoid inspirational quotes.
American astronaut Scott Kelly put that to the test on Sunday when his use of Winston Churchill quotes landed him in hot water with people who oppose the wartime British prime minister's views on empire and race.
But when Kelly tried to apologise for the tweet and offered to educate himself, Churchill fans attacked him for discrediting the politician's record.
One of the greatest leaders of modern times, Sir Winston Churchill said, “in victory, magnanimity.” I guess those days are over.— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) October 7, 2018
The wartime leader wrote "In victory, magnanimity" in his book about World War Two to refer to the need for winners of a conflict to show grace. Kelly added: "I guess those days are over".
But Churchill is also known for quotes like "I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place", in reference to indigenous populations of North America and Australia.
Kelly's Twitter followers also linked Churchill to a famine in Bengal, India, that killed at least three million people in 1943.
Hhmm Churchill forgot to reflect on his decision to ignore India's plight in fighting the famine during his administration. Causing millions of Indian to die on the street while stealing their grains and supplied it to British armies.— orang biasa2 jek (@faridnor) October 7, 2018
With due respect Astronaut Kelly, Winston Churchill is NOT the greatest leaders of the Modern times especially when he was responsible for the Bengal Famine of 1943. Not many in the West perhaps know this. I would probably say he was one of the greatest Orators of modern times.— Prashant (@sasguy235) October 7, 2018
Kelly quickly apologised for the offence caused, writing that he would educate himself on Churchill's "atrocities and racist views".
He added that his point was that Americans should not let politics divide the nation.
Did not mean to offend by quoting Churchill. My apologies. I will go and educate myself further on his atrocities, racist views which I do not support. My point was we need to come together as one nation. We are all Americans. That should transcend partisan politics.— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) October 7, 2018
But he was swiftly attacked by Churchill fans for calling the leader racist.
They suggested those views were standard in the mid-20th Century.
"Please read a good biography of Churchill before making pronouncements on his 'atrocities' and 'racist views'. He committed no atrocities and his views on race 100-years ago cannot be judged by today's standards - generational chauvinism," wrote Twitter user Paul Reid.
"We can't judge historical figures based on modern sensitivities; no one would come out unscathed. Adjusting history to our modern perception is unfair to the times & circumstances that preceded us," commented another.
In just two tweets, Kelly wrote another social media rule - never quote Winston Churchill.
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By Georgina Rannard, UGC & Social news