Jerry Seinfeld Defends 'Bee Movie' at Duke, Apologizes for S-xual Undertones

Seinfeld shares life advice at Duke's recent graduation ceremony

by Zain ul Abedin
Jerry Seinfeld Defends 'Bee Movie' at Duke, Apologizes for S-xual Undertones
© Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

During his commencement address at Duke University, Jerry Seinfeld candidly addressed the unintended s-xual undertones present in his 2007 animated film, "Bee Movie," acknowledging the controversy it sparked among viewers.

Despite many attendees walking out, the seasoned comedian tackled the topic head-on, expressing regret over any discomfort caused by the film's content. Seinfeld opened his speech by reflecting on the movie's purpose, which was to entertain and impart a sense of humor.

"I made a cartoon movie about bees you may have watched as a child," he explained. "If any of you felt slightly uncomfortable about the s-xual undertones in the relationship between Barry the bee and Vanessa, the florist who saves his life, I would like to apologize for that now." Despite acknowledging the awkwardness, Seinfeld stood by the creative choices made in the film.

"I may not have calibrated that perfectly, but I would not change it," he stated, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a sense of humor through life's challenges.

Humor Amid Complexity

The comedian continued, elaborating on the broader message he aimed to convey through his address: the value of humor in navigating life's complexities.

"The slightly uncomfortable feeling of awkward humor is OK," Seinfeld reassured the audience. "It’s not something you need to fix." Seinfeld praised the current generation's efforts to foster a more just and inclusive society, commending their sensitivity towards not offending others.

However, he advised the graduating class to balance their admirable social ambitions with the ability to laugh and not take life too seriously. "Not a lot of life makes sense for you to be able to survive it without humor," he added.

This isn't the first time Seinfeld has spoken publicly about the film's unintended implications. In a 2021 appearance on The Tonight Show, he apologized for the "subtle s-xual aspect of the Bee Movie," admitting, "It really was not intentional, but after it came out, I realized this is really not appropriate for children.

Because the bee seems to have a thing for the girl, and we don’t really want to pursue that as an idea in children’s entertainment."