Fact Check

Did Morgan Freeman Say 'Don’t Take Criticism from People You'd Never Go to for Advice'?

For some reason, people like putting pithy sayings in Morgan Freeman's mouth. Is it because of his mellifluous voice?

Published Jan 14, 2023

 (Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Image Via Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
Claim:
Actor Morgan Freeman once said, "Don't take criticism from people you would never go to for advice."

At Snopes, we're often asked to authenticate quotations attributed to famous people -- quotes that in many cases turn out to be common sayings that someone decided to hang a celebrity's name on in hopes it would go viral. One of those celebrities is actor Morgan Freeman, whose name we recently found attached -- erroneously -- to these words of wisdom on Twitter: "Don't take criticism from people you would never go to for advice." 

Misattributed to Morgan Freeman: Don't take criticism from people you would never go to for advice. 

We've found no evidence that Morgan Freeman ever uttered or wrote those words. What's more, among the scores of instances we found in which those words were attributed to Freeman, we encountered none that cited a source or date enabling us to verify the attribution. We found no video or audio recordings of Freeman uttering the sentence, nor even any mentions that such recordings exist. 

Based upon searchable published materials available online, it doesn't appear that the saying itself is more than a few years old. On Twitter, the earliest instance of an attribution of the quote to Freeman is dated July 3, 2019. The earliest instance of the quote we found on Twitter not attributed to Freeman was posted Oct. 10, 2017 -- a date that coincided with Episode 100 of The Minimalists Podcast, on which someone actually did recite a version of the quote out loud. This was what a podcast listener said during a call-in segment of the podcast: 

I just wanted to share a quote that I heard from my friend, and he got this from his grandpa, and it's one of my all-time favorite quotes now, and it is: "Don't take criticism from someone you wouldn't take advice from."

While it's possible that Morgan Freeman repeated a version of the quote above on some occasion between the date of that 2017 podcast and its first appearance with Freeman's name attached to it almost two years later, we have found no evidence that he did, nor that he was the originator of the saying. 

Sources

The Minimalists Podcast: 100 | Gone. https://theminimalists.libsyn.com/100-gone. Accessed 9 Jan. 2023.

David Emery is a Portland-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.

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