New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is introduced as an honorary degree recipient at Harvard University Image by AP

Claims Jacinda Ardern stole speech from a movie are un-bee-lievable

AAP FactCheck May 31, 2022
WHAT WAS CLAIMED

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern used a passage from animated children's film Bee Movie in her speech to Harvard graduates.

OUR VERDICT

False. The passage was not spoken by Ms Ardern, nor does it appear in Bee Movie. It's actually from US President Donald Trump's inauguration speech in 2017.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern‘s commencement speech at Harvard University created a lot of buzz, but social media claims she plagiarised part of an animated movie about bees don’t fly. 

Ms Ardern has been on a tour of the United States which included making the commencement speech at Harvard University on May 26. 

One of the main topics Ms Ardern addressed was the dangers of social media – and ironically, it didn’t take long for disinformation about her speech to start circulating.

A post shared on a Facebook fan page for the National Party, New Zealand’s opposition party, shows a meme that makes the claim that Ms Ardern’s speech was plagiarised from the 2007 film Bee Movie featuring Jerry Seinfeld. 

The meme features images of Ms Ardern and one from the movie, and a quote attributed to the prime minister: “We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.” It sits alongside another version of the quote attributed to Bee Movie that substitutes into the text bee-related terms like hive and colony. 

“Weird plagiarism but OK,” states a caption on the post, which has been shared more than 130 times. The meme is also being shared on Twitter and elsewhere on Facebook

However, transcripts of Ms Ardern’s address and video coverage show she did not say the words attributed to her in the meme.

And in a true case of hive mind, it turns out the meme is actually plagiarised – from another meme involving former US President Donald Trump, making the exact same claim that he plagiarised lines from Bee Movie for his inauguration speech in 2017.

A look at official transcripts of Trump’s inauguration speech and video coverage shows the quote about dreams and destiny falsely attributed to both Ms Ardern and an animated bee was spoken by Trump (video mark 40min 20sec) .

The quotes are nowhere to be found in online transcripts of the Bee Movie script, so claims Trump plagiarised it are also untrue.

The Verdict

The claim Jacinda Ardern plagiarised her speech at Harvard University from the Bee Movie is false. The quote attributed to the New Zealand prime minister is from Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration speech as US president.

False – The claim has no basis in truth.

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