Though Simpson initially invited 40 people to the event, it went viral as people began posting memes from the movie.
“It’s kind of arbitrary that it is the ‘Bee Movie,’ but for any meme that sticks around for this many years, there’s a shared dialogue around it,” senior Nate Wagner said. “I was really surprised that the ‘Bee Movie’ event got so popular because you see kids at UNC doing this all the time. There’s an idea for a meme event — some more clever than others — but nothing of this scale happens with it.”
In response to Simpson’s event, Gildehaus created a “Counter-Protest In Support Of The Bee Movie” event — it currently has more than 700 people interested.
“I’m pretty pro-‘Bee Movie,’’’ senior Griffen Bernhard said.
“I think it’s barbarism and savagery to consider burning all copies of the ‘Bee Movie.’ There’s a lot of fear and aggression in the country right now, and people are looking for a scapegoat. And, what better scapegoat than a movie about a bee who falls in love with a human woman? That’s so symbolic of many of the issues facing us right now, including but not limited to the fact that bees are disappearing at an alarming rate.”
Some agreed that, unlike other movies geared toward children, “Bee Movie” has an important environmental message of saving the bees.
“A lot of kids’ movies don’t have this message for bee justice,” senior Martha Isaacs said. “It’s an opportunity for people to realize that colony collapse disorder is real, and if bees die out, the food production chain will be greatly harmed.”
However, some said they felt weirded-out by the relationship between the bee, Barry B. Benson, and human florist, Vanessa, in the film.
“I’m totally OK with the memes, I just have a violent hatred of ‘Bee Movie’ itself,” Simpson said. “I hate how the wife leaves her husband for a bee.”
Though the event was to take place at the Pit on Dec. 5, the event reached people from around the world, including Sunila Steephen, a first-year at the University of Chicago.
“Someone posted about it on a girl in my sorority’s wall, and it just popped up on my feed,” Steephen said. “I thought it was funny, so I said that I was going to go.”
In the past, students from other colleges have participated in UNC’s meme culture.
“I have a couple of friends at Duke who have joined some of the meme groups like Overheard because they are dying for a taste of meme culture that their private institution cannot fulfill,” Wagner said.
Though more showed support for the “Burn all copies of bee movie” event than expected, it has had unintended consequences for Simpson.
“I had to delete the Facebook app because it kept on glitching my phone and shutting it down because I’d get so many notifications. At this point, even though I do hate the Bee Movie, I hate this Facebook event even more,” Simpson said.
“This is what happens when man plays God.”