Van Dongen details how Einstein’s theory was met with a wall of disbelief and hostility by some members of the scientific establishment, and was subject to attacks in the popular press and by conservatives.
Indeed during the 1920s they went so far as to establish “think tanks” in opposition and held rallies against Einstein and his theory. “Anti-relativists” established the “Academy of Nations” in 1921, publishing papers refuting Einstein theories and awarding prizes to themselves:
“Anti-relativists… built up networks to act against Einstein’s theory in concert. This led to some success. For instance, the clamour about the theory in Germany contributed to the Nobel Committee’s delay in awarding its 1921 prize to Einstein and to the particular choice of subject for which he finally did receive it: his account of the photo-electric effect, instead of the controversial theory of relativity.”
In fact, Einstein was so concerned by the vitriol of their attacks that he cancelled speaking engagements fearing an assassination attempt.
Initially Einstein and other scientists tried to engage them, but without success:
“Their strong opposition was not due to a lack of understanding, but rather the reaction to a perceived threat… Anti-relativists were convinced of their own ideas, and were really only interested in pushing through their own theories: any explanation of relativity would not likely have changed their minds.”
Climate change denial; meet your older brother.
Creationism; meet another of your children.