In late March and early April 2021, Snopes readers inquired about memes circulating on Facebook claiming that legendary actor Morgan Freeman had converted his 124-acre ranch in Mississippi into a bee sanctuary.
The text of the meme read, “Concerned about the loss of bees, Morgan Freeman converted his 124-acre Mississippi ranch into a bee refuge. He hired gardeners, filled acres with clover, planted hundreds of flowering trees, purchased 26 hives, and has turned himself into a beekeeper.”
Posts and articles on various websites stating the “Shawshank Redemption” star is a beekeeper with a bee sanctuary at his Mississippi residence have been circulating for years. They are sourced from an interview given by Freeman to late-night comedy host Jimmy Fallon in 2014. During the interview, Freeman acknowledged that he lived in Mississippi and stated he was new to beekeeping, having just purchased his bees from Arkadelphia, Arkansas, two weeks prior:
The website Mother Nature News in 2014 quoted Freeman talking about his beekeeping project, reporting that he made the following remarks during a media tour promoting the film “Lucy”:
There’s a concerted effort to bring bees back onto the planet … We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation… I have so many flowering things and I have a gardener too. Because she takes care of the bees too, all she does is figure out, ‘OK, what would they like to have?’, so we’ve got acres and acres of clover, we’re planting stuff like lavender, I’ve got like, maybe 140 magnolia trees, big blossoms.
In these comments attributed to him, Freeman mentioned environmental concerns associated with the survival of bees and making efforts to ensure his bees thrive. But he didn’t actually state in those remarks that he converted his ranch into a “bee sanctuary” for the purpose of helping the environment.
Over the years, news articles have cropped up sourcing Freeman’s 2014 comments and reporting that he had converted his ranch in Mississippi to a bee sanctuary. In 2019, a large number of articles were aggregated from a Forbes story with the headline, “Morgan Freeman Converted His 124-Acre Ranch Into A Giant Honeybee Sanctuary To Save The Bees.” But the Forbes story also cites Freeman’s 2014 interview on Fallon.
We were unable to find recent comments by Freeman confirming whether he currently keeps bees at his Mississippi residence, as of this writing.
We reached out to Freeman’s agency CAA and asked whether Freeman is still beekeeping and whether his effort would be described as a bee sanctuary meant to help the environment, but didn’t get a response in time for publication. We will update this story if we hear back.