Guess you can’t bee-lieve everything you read on Twitter.
An angry message tweeted out by potty-mouthed movie star Samuel L. Jackson about a get-rich-quick opportunity predicated on the death of bees was actually part of an intricate plot to raise money to save the insects by a Brooklyn-based honey mogul.
Cobble Hill beekeeper Zeke Freeman created the website beabeeinc.com, which declares that the mysterious death of honeybees across the world could be an economic boon for those willing to invest in the emerging “human pollination” market, as a way to raise awareness about the fact that bee colonies are dying at an alarming rate.
And he somehow got Jackson to help him spread his message.
“Crazy s— happening out here!” Jackson tweeted. “Check out BeABeeInc.com #savethebees.”
But Freeman says the scheme isn’t real, and the Jackson was in on it all along.
“The idea that putting this outrageous concept out there for people to invest in the death of bees would raise a lot of interest and contention that that would create a flurry of activity and drive people to the Save the Bees site,” said Freeman.
Domesticated bee populations have reached a 50-year low and keep dwindling, according to the Washington Post — and no one knows why, but one possibility is the increased use of pesticides.
And as everyone who saw Jerry Seinfeld’s “Bee Movie” knows, humans actually rely on bees to survive. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, bees play an important role in most terrestrial ecosystems, and many species of plants and animals would not survive if bees were missing.
Which brings us back to the BeABee site, which went up on June 18, and Jackson’s same-day tweets, and which Freeman said he views his site as the 21st century of Farm Aid, the charity formed in the 1980s by musicians and comedians to help U.S. farmers.
“I wanted something that would shed light on a problem and have great effect,” said Freeman.
Jackson was one of a handful of celebrities, including chef Mario Batali and model Christy Turlington, who Freeman asked to angrily tweet about the site.
The celebrity tweets had an effect. During the past 10 days, the site has received 600,000 page views and raised between $5,000 and $10,000. Freeman said he’s going to use the money to work with scientists at University of California at Davis to come up with solutions to save the bees.
Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.