'That was an atomic bomb': NBA reporter deletes explosive tweets after claiming devastating blast in Lebanon was nuclear
As a shocking video showed a building collapsing in flames under an enormous cloud in the port area of the city, NBA reporter Chris Palmer told his Twitter following of almost 114,000 that the disaster was not the fireworks explosion that had been suggested by some Lebanese media outlets.
Viewers had suggested that fireworks had been visible as the explosion happened, while Lebanon's National News Agency reported a fire had caused the catastrophe at an explosives depot.
"Good Lord," responded Palmer, jumping to an interpretation that baffled many on social media.
"Lebanese media says it was a fireworks factory. Nope. That’s a mushroom cloud. That’s atomic."
He added a follow-up tweet doubling down on his theory, insisting there was "no question" it was an atomic bomb.
Chris Palmer, nuclear scientist. pic.twitter.com/HAWUneh0fb— Scout Tafoya (@Honors_Zombie) August 4, 2020
No, it’s not. And saying this falsehood to such a large follower base is dangerous.— Andrea Hangst (@FBALL_Andrea) August 4, 2020
you absolute dumbass— bring on the dancing horses (@inthefade) August 4, 2020
Media figures and readers familiar with Palmer's reputation for left-field tweets swiftly derided his conclusion and corrected him on the nature of mushroom clouds, which a cursory check would have revealed can be caused by a wide range of detonations.
"Saying this falsehood to such a large follower base is dangerous," pointed out one, while another said: "This Chris Palmer guy is a complete f*cking idiot."
Others argued that a nuclear explosion would have caused far more destruction than the horrific, smoke-filled aftermath over the area, adding that it would have prevented the cameramen, many of whom shot videos on their phones, from being able to capture the footage.
Obviously Chris Palmer doesn't know what he is talking about. It takes a twitter user all of two minutes to discover closer footage which proves it's not atomic.— Geoppetto Hosseltoff (@Geoppetto) August 4, 2020
Non-NBA people finding out who Chris Palmer is today: welcome.— Luis Paez-Pumar (@lppny) August 4, 2020
Chris Palmer is one of my favorite atomic weapon expert follows. pic.twitter.com/79E69wQSSW— Matthew Garrity (@GarrityMathew) August 4, 2020
CHRIS PALMER, NBA WRITER: This is an atomic bomb. That is a controlled detona----LITERALLY EVERYONE: pic.twitter.com/J9HxKwGzAx— Mookie Alexander (@mookiealexander) August 4, 2020
While it remained unclear exactly what had caused the incident, reports of a series of fires before the larger eruption made an accident or attack on a fireworks or ammunition factory plausible.
As more mockery rained in on his initial tweet, Palmer eventually attempted to ease the pile-on by deleting his ill-advised outburst, which followed a scandal at the end of May when he produced a pair of apparently contradictory tweets about the riots taking place in the US following the death of George Floyd.
Having recklessly used his platform to accompany a photo of a blazing building that had been attacked by looters with the messages "burn that sh*t down" and "burn it all down", he then called protestors "animals" and told them to leave a community near his home.
He later apologized for the tweets after being labeled a "virtue signaller".
When he attempted to add muddled scientific reasoning to his latest gaffes, explosions experts felt compelled to point out his lack of understanding.
Chris Palmer definitely is **not** having a good day. pic.twitter.com/KH37aRpqKx— Doge (@IntelDoge) August 4, 2020
If that was nuclear the camera person would have been incinerated— Damian Stack (@damianstack) August 4, 2020
Pretty sure an iphone doesn't keep recording when it's that proximate to an atomic explosion. If the EMP doesn't kill the phone, then the, y'know, release of atomic energy does.— alex // #BLM // #WearAMask (@menace2snacks) August 4, 2020
"Just no," said one professor. "This person has no idea what he is talking about."
A nuclear weapons specialist added: "This is just clearly wrong. Mushroom clouds form in all explosions – they just stick around a lot longer for big ones."Also on rt.com WATCH huge mushroom-like cloud cover Beirut’s docks area after ‘fireworks depot’ explodes
Palmer, who parted company with former employers ESPN in 2013, caused more controversy at the weekend when he attacked Miami Heat star Meyers Leonard as "weak" over his decision not to kneel with his teammates in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign.
He had tweeted a series of photos of Barack Obama before giving his opinion on the explosion, including two of the former US leader playing basketball, alongside the message: "Happy Birthday, Mr President."Also on rt.com 'Burn that sh*t down'... just not near my house: NBA reporter forced into humiliating U-turn over protest 'hypocrisy'