Ed Helms peppered his University of Virginia commencement speech on Friday with a number of wisecracks, including jokes about millennials, secret societies, and streaking. However, it was his strong words directed at Rolling Stone that seemed to take up most of the spotlight. The actor/comedian criticized the magazine for its infamous false rape story and the subsequent controversy that it sparked.
“It has been said that a rolling stone gathers no moss…I would add that sometimes a rolling stone also gathers no verifiable facts or even the tiniest morsels of journalistic integrity,” Helms can be seen addressing the crowd.
“Rolling Stone tried to define you this year,” he said. “As a result, not only was this community thrown deep into turmoil, but the incredibly important struggle to address sexual violence on campuses nationwide was suddenly more confusing than ever and needlessly set back.”
“Sadly, Rolling Stone’s rush to define is just the tip of the iceberg. We see it everywhere in the media.” Helms then went on to discuss the wrongheadedness of being judgmental and prematurely jumping to conclusions, saying, “We’re all guilty of this.”
“How many times do we label people with our first impressions only to be proven wrong?” he asked. “The tattooed motorcycle guy who turns out to be a teddy bear, the buttoned-up co-worker who actually knows how to party, or the mousy librarian who takes off her glasses to reveal that she’s a bloodthirsty alien from a distant galaxy.”
“We try to define others with simple labels because it makes the world easier to understand.”