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Students leave Jerry Seinfeld’s speech at Duke University

Downward angle symbol A symbol in the shape of an angle pointing downwards. Jerry Seinfeld. NBC/Getty Images

  • Jerry Seinfeld gave the speech at Duke University on Sunday.
  • A video on X showed students walking out during his speech and waving Palestinian flags.
  • Seinfeld publicly spoke out in defense of Israel during the war in Gaza.

Duke University graduates walked out during Jerry Seinfeld’s speech on Sunday, making clear that American universities remain a political battleground.

A 25-second video shared with X showed students getting up from their seats and leaving Wallace Wade Stadium as Seinfeld, 70, took the stage. Some of them held Palestinian flags.

The footage shows some people cheering on Seinfeld, while others appear to be booing. Some people also chanted “Free Palestine,” according to Reuters.

Seinfeld was an outspoken supporter of Israel during the Gaza War and was among more than 700 entertainment leaders who signed an open letter in support of Israel.

Duke University shared a video of Seinfeld’s speech on YouTube, but the footage does not show the excited students. Seinfeld stayed away from heavy topics during the speech. Instead, he ridiculed the students and gave life advice.

Seinfeld mentioned his heritage and defended his privilege during the speech, saying, “I say use your privilege. I grew up as a Jewish boy from New York. That is a privilege if you want to become a comedian.”

Seinfeld graduated from Queen College of the City University of New York, but received an honorary doctorate from Duke University.

“We are thrilled and excited for the class of 2024 and their families. “We understand the feelings in our community and, as we have done all year long, respect the right of everyone at Duke to peacefully express their opinions without deterring graduates and their families from celebrating their achievement,” said Frank Tramble, vice president of the university. for marketing, communications and public affairs, a statement said.

Seinfeld representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

The student strike at Duke University is the latest example of the tensions on American college campuses.

Police arrested more than 300 people at Columbia University and the City College of New York this month during pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Following protests on campus, the university has canceled this year’s main commencement ceremony.

Billionaire donors like Leon Cooperman have criticized student protests and threatened to cut off their donations to the university.