Maria Shriver, Hoda Kotb, More Celebs Slam Harrison Butker's "Demeaning" Graduation Speech

They're not happy about it.

Harrison Butker looks up at the crowds during the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVIII Victory Parade on Feb 14, 2024 in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Harrison Butker has not made many new friends since this past weekend.

After the Kansas City Chiefs kicker's dumbfounding graduation speech went viral this week for all the wrong reasons, a bunch of celebrities have joined the chorus in condemning Butker's words—which many judged as "misogynistic," as well as "homophobic" and "transphobic."

On the Today show, co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager laid into the athlete's opinions. "Don’t speak for us," Kotb said. "I think that’s kind of the thing. Stop speaking for women out there."

Kotb continued, "I think that there’s a thing about someone speaking for. And [Butker] may be speaking for a lot of people, but you can’t speak for everyone."

She added, "Women get to decide what they want to do."

Bush Hager agreed, retorting, "Did we learn nothing from America Ferrera's monologue in Barbie? It is so hard to be a woman. He hasn’t had the opportunity to do that yet. So maybe when he comes back in his next life, he can give us a commencement speech about how we can live."

Kotb concluded, "There are lots of ways to live a meaningful life, lots and lots. Some involve children, some may not. Some involve being at home, some may not. Some may involve only volunteering. It doesn’t matter."

During this segment, Kotb also cited Maria Shriver's response to the incident.

On social media, the former First Lady of California wrote, "What point was Harrison Butker really trying to make to women in his graduation speech about their present day life choices? Did he really want them, aka us, to believe that our lives truly only begin when we lean into the vocation of wife and mother?"

She added, "By the way, he also took a swipe at the LGBTQ community. Look, everyone has the right to free speech in our country. That's the benefit of living in a democracy. But those of us who are women and have a voice have the right to disagree with Butker."

Shriver continued, "As a woman who has leaned into my vocation of living a meaningful life and working 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 homemaker."

Kotb, Bush Hager, and Shriver are in good company as far as Butker critics go: Maren Morris and Flavor Flav have also spoken out about the controversial speech.

Meanwhile, Brooke Schwartz, the wife of former Chiefs offensive lineman Mitch Schwartz, slammed Butker on Instagram Stories. "This is what we’re telling young women graduating college?" she wrote (via Us Weekly). "That the most important thing they can become is a homemaker??? What in the Handmaid’s Tale is this crap?"

Butker infuriated the internet after he gave a commencement speech at Catholic school Benedictine College over the weekend, in which he told the women of the graduating class that he was certain they were "most excited about your marriage, and the children you will bring into this world," rather than the careers they would be starting post-graduation. He also appeared to take aim at the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, and at trans people specifically.

The NFL distanced itself from Butker's opinions, with a spokesperson stating, "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."

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.