Stars React to Harrison Butker’s Controversial Commencement Speech

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Maren Morris, Harrison Butker.
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Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker sparked controversy after making comments about gender roles and the LGBTQIA+ community during a graduation speech.

Butker, 28, served as the commencement speaker for Benedictine College’s graduating class in Atchison, Kansas on Saturday, May 11. During his remarks, the athlete singled out the women graduates.

“For the ladies present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment,” he said. “You should be proud of all that you have achieved to this point in your young lives. I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you.”

Butker then said that while “some” of the women in the audience “may go on to lead successful careers in the world,” he “would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

Harrison claimed that his wife, Isabelle Butker, would be the “first to say that her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.” He added that “homemaker” is “one of the most important titles of all.”

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The football player also took aim at the LGBTQ+ community and Pride month, praising “the true God-centered pride that is cooperation with the Holy Ghost to glorify him” rather than “the deadly sins sort of Pride that has an entire month dedicated to it.”

Harrison’s eyebrow-raising comments have prompted stars including Maren Morris to speak out against him. Keep scrolling to see all the celebrity reactions:

Maren Morris

Maren Morris and More Stars React to Harrison Butker’s Controversial Commencement Speech
Taylor Hill/WireImage

The singer invoked a popular social trend when sharing a clip of Harrison’s speech via her Instagram Story on Wednesday, May 15.

“I choose the bear,” she wrote, referring to a trend where women state whether they would rather encounter a bear or a man alone in the woods.

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Flavor Flav

Maren Morris and More Stars React to Harrison Butker’s Controversial Commencement Speech
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

“Sounds like some players ‘need to stay in their lanes’ and shouldn’t be giving commencement speeches,” the rapper wrote via X on Tuesday, May 14.

The tweet referenced a specific moment from Harrison’s address.

“I never envisioned myself nor wanted to have this sort of a platform, but God has given it to me so I have no other choice but to embrace it and preach more hard truths about accepting your lane and staying in it,” he said.

Justice Horn

Maren Morris and More Stars React to Harrison Butker’s Controversial Commencement Speech
Courtesy of Justice Horn/Instagram

The former Kansas City commissioner, who was Chair of Kansas City’s LGBTQ Commission from 2021 until 2024, took to X on May 14 to address the Chiefs player’s remarks.

“Harrison Butker doesn’t represent Kansas City nor has he ever. Kansas City has always been a place that welcomes, affirms, and embraces our LGBTQ+ community members. 🌈,” he wrote.

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In a subsequent tweet, Horn commented on Harrison’s advice to the male graduates to “be unapologetic in your masculinity” and “do hard things” without settling for the easy path.

“I can speak on this because I have two 6A MSHAA Football Championship rings here in Missouri, but being the kicker for a football team isn’t exactly the ‘toughest’ position out there,” Horn wrote. “He’s going on about masculinity while being a player that can’t be touched — it’s funny.”

Shannon Watts

The gun violence prevention activist, who cofounded Everytown for Gun Safety, criticized Harrison for neglecting to mention the shooting that occurred at the Chiefs Super Bowl victory parade in February.

“Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker’s speech at Benedictine College railed against abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, LGBTQ+, and liberated women, but it didn’t mention the gun violence that killed a fan at the Super Bowl parade,” Watts wrote via X on May 15. “Gun extremism is part of this religion.”

Jonathan Beane

The NFL’s Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion officer reacted via a written statement to People on May 15.

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” Beane said. “His views are not those of the NFL as an organization. The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

Lisa Guerrero

“Hey @NFL – If you want to continue to grow your female fan base and any other marginalized group (straight white men are already watching your product), come get your boy,” the journalist and former sportscaster wrote via X on May 14 alongside an article about Harrison’s speech.

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager

“Who is [Harrison] to tell us?” Bush Hager asked during Today With Hoda & Jenna on May 16. Kotb added, “Don’t speak for us. I think that’s kind of the thing. Stop speaking for women out there.”

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Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker is facing backlash after his controversial graduation speech. Butker, 28, was the commencement speaker at Benedictine College on Saturday, May 11. The athlete first raised eyebrows when he addressed the women graduates to invoke stereotypical gender roles. “I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it […]

Bush Hager went on to say that her husband, Henry Hager, treats her like an “equal partner” in their relationship. The cohosts also praised stay-at-home parents as well, noting, “The work they do is incredible.”

Whoopi Goldberg

The View host actually defended Butker, comparing him to Colin Kaepernick.

“Listen, I like when people say what they need to say,” she said on May 16. “He’s at a Catholic college, he’s a staunch Catholic. These are his beliefs and he’s welcome to them. I don’t have to believe them. I don’t have to accept them. The ladies that were sitting in that audience do not have to accept them.”

She added, “The same way we want respect when Colin Kaepernick takes a knee, we want to give respect to people whose ideas are different from ours.”

Maria Shriver

Maria Shriver
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive

“As a woman who has leaned into my vocation of living a meaningful life inside and outside the home to not only raise good humans but also raise up our country in various ways, I think it’s demeaning to women to imply that their choices outside of wife and motherhood pale in comparison to that of a homemaker,” she wrote in an X post on May 16, noting that it took a “revolution” to get increased rights for women.

Shriver then directed her statement to Butker’s wife, Isabelle.

“Most families can’t get by without both parents working. It’s a luxury to get the choice she has gotten,” she wrote. “The vast majority of women have to put food on the table, while also raising kids, caring for aging parents, running companies, volunteering in their local communities, running for office to give us a better world … the list goes on.”

Robert Griffin III

“Women can be badass CEOs. Women can be badass Doctors. Women can be badass Lawyers,” the former NFL quarterback shared via X on May 16. “Women can be badass Moms. Women can do whatever they want. It’s their right to choose what they will be.”

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