Jerry Seinfeld Apologizes for Bee Movie’s ‘Sexual Undertones’ During Duke Commencement Address

Jerry Seinfeld has some apologies to offer, nearly two decades after the release of Bee Movie

Published Time: 13.05.2024 - 05:31:04 Modified Time: 13.05.2024 - 05:31:04

Jerry Seinfeld has some apologies to offer, nearly two decades after the release of Bee Movie.

On Sunday, May 12, the Seinfeld alum, 70, gave a commencement address to the graduating seniors at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina — where his son Julian currently attends and his daughter Sascha previously graduated from.

During his speech, the comedian took time to reflect on his 2007 animated film Bee Movie — specifically one controversial element of the storyline.

"I made a cartoon movie about bees you may have watched as a child," Seinfeld said in a video captured by an attendee and shared on TikTok.

"If any of you felt slightly uncomfortable about the sexual undertones in the relationship between Barry B. Benson and Vanessa, the florist who saves his life, I would like to apologize for that now," he continued, earning laughs from the crowd. "I may not have calibrated that perfectly."

Fans of the DreamWorks kids' movie have previously made long-running jokes about the romantic tension between Seinfeld's character in the film, Barry (a bee), and Renée Zellweger's character, Vanessa (a human). Back in October 2021, Seinfeld addressed the same issue during an appearance on The Tonight Show, apologizing once again for the innuendo.

"I apologize for what seems to be a certain uncomfortable subtle sexual aspect of the Bee Movie," he said at the time. "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 enterta -


Seinfeld's commencement speech at Duke also drew public attention when anti-war protesters walked out of the ceremony and booed from the audience when the TV star took the podium, according to NBC News and CBS News.

Seinfeld has been making a slew of public appearances in recent weeks in support of his newest movie, Unfrosted, which marks his feature-film directorial debut. Speaking with PEOPLE at the premiere of the movie on April 30, Seinfeld opened up about taking on the role of director for the first time in his career.

"You don't want to think about that this is a really big, important job. Like, the pilot never wants to come on the PA system and go, 'I'm going to try and get this plane in the air.' You have to be confident," he said.

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Seinfeld previously told PEOPLE that he has "been obsessed with Pop-Tarts my whole life," which is what inspired him to take on the movie.

"My friend Spike Feresten, who was a writer on my show and is still a good friend of mine, thought we should make a movie out of the story, the real story, which we did," he explained.

Unfrosted— which features a star-studded cast includingMelissa McCarthy,Jim Gaffigan,Hugh Grant and more — is set in 1963 Battle Creek, Mich., when "Kellogg's and Post, sworn cereal rivals, race to create a pastry that will change the face of breakfast forever," according to a synopsis.

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