Ed Helms Rips Rolling Stone During UVA Commencement Speech (Video)

"Rolling Stone tried to define you this year," Helms 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."

Ed Helms used the commencement speech he gave at UVA Friday to unload on the Rolling Stone rape fiasco.

"It has been said that a rolling stone gathers no moss," Helms told a vast audience, seated in front of the university's famed Rotunda. "I would add that sometimes a rolling stone also gathers no verifiable facts or even the tiniest morsels of journalistic integrity."

"Rolling Stone tried to define you this year," Helms 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 continued, embarking on a thread about the cultural impacts of labels and the importance of overcoming them

"Less than three weeks ago when Baltimore was erupting in violence, Erin Burnett on CNN argued with a local resident insisting the rioters be defined as thugs. Wolf Blitzer did the same thing ... But City Councilman Nick Mosby wouldn't have it. In a testy exchange, he defined his own community, saying, 'This is about the social economics of poor urban America. These young guys are frustrated. They're upset and unfortunately they're displaying it in a very destructive manner.' That's a bigger, much more complex analysis that strikes me as the real news story."

"Either way, the reductive labels aren't helping and we better stop applying them because there are a lot of Americans in a lot of pain. The riots weren't happening in Kiev or Benghazi; they happened a mighty pleasant three-hour drive from right here."

"We're all guilty of this. How many times do we label people with our first impressions only to be proven wrong? 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."

"This community didn't fall for the fallacy that just because Rolling Stone was wrong everything here must be perfectly peachy. You all had the courage to understand you can be outraged at Rolling Stone and still ask yourselves hard questions: if sexual violence does occur in our community, do we have the best possible protocols and resources available to our students? And UVA is charging forward to answer those questions and you should be proud of that."

Helms' speech was also punctuated by plenty of jokes. Among them: "You are millennials, which is the biggest generation of the United States. I thought it was hard for me to find a job. It's going to be like The Hunger Games out there for you guys."

comments powered by Disqus