Seinfeld on refusing Kesha’s hug: ‘In my reality I don’t hug a total stranger’

GOOD+ Foundation & MR PORTER Host Fatherhood Lunch With Jerry Seinfeld In New York City
On Wednesday, a video went viral of Jerry Seinfeld refusing to accept a hug from Kesha while he was being interviewed on the red carpet of a charity event. Kesha went up to Seinfeld and asked him for a hug, to which he said “no thanks.” She tried two separate times after that, continuing to encroach on his space, and Seinfeld stuck to his guns and said “no thanks” each time, backing away. Many of you mentioned in the comments that Seinfeld’s polite rejection was completely understandable, which was my opinion too, and that if Kesha was a true Seinfeld fan she would know that he’s not a hugger.

In a new interview with Extra TV, on the red carpet of another charity event, Seinfeld explained that he doesn’t hug strangers and that a hug isn’t the first thing humans do when they meet each other, essentially. He also said that he met Kesha backstage after that awkward exchange and that they laughed about it, but he didn’t hug her then either. When he knows someone well he will hug them though.

Jerry explained, “I’m 63, I don’t know every pop star… I don’t know everyone.” He is also not completely into hugs, saying, “I’m not, well as a total stranger.” But, Jerry gave AJ a hug, why? He said, “But I know you how many years? I’ve known you twenty years.”

Looking back on how it all went down, Seinfeld pointed out, “I was right in the middle of an interview, it was a little off.” He smiled, “When you get to be my age and you’ve done a couple things, you have your own reality, in my reality… I don’t hug a total stranger. I have to meet someone, say hello. I gotta start somewhere… hug isn’t first moment of a human, two humans. I never did that.”

“I got a borderline harassment case here!” Jerry laughed. He didn’t hug her, but added, “I’m sure I would’ve liked her, but I need to know who are you.”

When AJ commented that Kesha has seen him on TV, Jerry replied, “I’m so flattered by that, but the TV only works one way… I can’t see who’s watching.”

He noted that he and Kesha were able to laugh about the moment off-camera, revealing, “She was very nice about it, we laughed about it.” But did she get a hug after their exchange? Jerry responded, “No!”

[From Extra TV]

I mentioned in Wednesday’s post that I wish I could do this. I wish I could back off and just offer a handshake instead of getting squeezed by someone I barely know. I’m not a germaphobe but it feels uncomfortable to me, particularly when it’s a man and the hug seems more than friendly. I like Seinfeld’s explanation and he’s very matter-of-fact about it. At no point was he rude or annoyed, and he had every right to be. Some people are huggers and some people aren’t and it’s best to gauge the situation before you go hugging someone.

Yesterday Kesha posted this cute video of her cats licking and hugging each other with the hashtags #hugsRgreat #ilikehugs which was a really great way to respond. (Have you seen the cat mom hugs kitten video? I love that one.) This is sweet, but these cats know and like each other! I had two cats (Bokii and Tess RIP) who were frenemies. They would regularly lick each other but that would inevitably end when one of them held the other down and kicked them in the face. Plus have you ever seen two adult cats who don’t know each other start off by hugging and kissing? NO. They approach each other hesitantly and there’s often hissing.

see what they're doing there?? #hugging #hugs #ilikehugs #hugsRgreat

A post shared by Kesha (@iiswhoiis) on

National Night Of Laughter And Song event hosted by David Lynch Foundation

National Night Of Laughter And Song event hosted by David Lynch Foundation

GOOD+ Foundation & MR PORTER Host Fatherhood Lunch With Jerry Seinfeld In New York City

photos credit: Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy, WENN and Instagram/Kesha

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28 Responses to “Seinfeld on refusing Kesha’s hug: ‘In my reality I don’t hug a total stranger’”

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  1. QueenElisabeth says:

    No one is required to hug anyone. period.

    • Goats on the Roof says:

      I don’t even shake hands, so Kesha’s insistence on a hug would’ve really set me off. She needs to learn some boundaries.

  2. FishBeard says:

    That’s why I would never go up to a celebrity in a social setting. We’re absolute strangers, regardless of the relationship one thinks they may have with an entertainer. Celebrities don’t “owe” the public or other celebrities anything.

  3. Adele Dazeem says:

    Jessica Seinfeld posted yesterdayon IG a pic of her cat and said, “not into hugs either.” Anything about cats and sarcasm is right up my alley! I know she’s divisive at times but her sarcastic sense of humor about her pets and her children slay me.

    I agree with Jerry, personal space is an individual thing and let’s be real, he’s probably see his share of crazy fans over the years. I’m not much of a hugger either unless i know someone. Or I’m in the process of getting laid.

  4. KBeth says:

    I’m not a Seinfeld fan but Kesha was completely inappropriate and annoying. I can not stand when people invade my personal space, she needs to learn boundaries.

  5. Insomniac says:

    He was completely in the right to refuse if he wanted and really doesn’t have to explain himself, IMO. Nobody should apologize for not wanting someone they don’t know invading their space.

    • Ripley says:

      100% agree. I remember meeting my (now) husband’s family for the first time. They’re all huggers and my family most definitely are not. It was so awkward on so many levels… we laugh about it now, but yeesh I can’t imagine random people wanting a hug.

      • laroodoo says:

        My family is the same way, we’re not “huggers,” but my fiance’s family are all about hugging and kissing! It took me a while to get used to it but I was very awkward at first, and the first couple of times I remember having to tell myself (in my head) “Hug this person. Now hug this person.”

  6. NeoCleo says:

    I’m with Seinfeld on this one. I don’t care to hug people I’ve just met unless it’s a long, lost relative.

  7. Ayra. says:

    I very much agree, I don’t do that either.
    The French, and many other Europeans, have this thing where we tend to greet people by kidding them on the cheek. For some, it’s used when you don’t know the person very well, meanwhile with your friends you don’t even bother, and for others, they do it for close friends as well as strangers.
    I personally don’t like when someone I barely know gets into my personal space, much less a stranger. No kiss, no hugs, just a quick hello.

    • Canadian Becks says:

      Most French people, even young teens, do greet each other with double cheek kisses.
      My 14 year old daughter spent 4 months living with a French family and attending school with their daughter. Every morning, the kids, boys and girls alike, would greet each other with 4 cheek kisses.

      I laughed when she matter of factly said it took a *ridiculous* amount of time to get into the school because of running the gauntlet of kisses.

      • Mel says:

        The four kisses thing is very much a regional thing. Sometimes we laugh about it that someone from the south will go for four and the other person will go for two.
        The kisses on the cheek is a phase that teenagers have. I’m a teacher and I laugh when I see them do that in the morning. It’s right around the time boys start shaking hands. They want to show they’re growing up. I will just say though, that in a formal setting, you absolutely do not kiss. If there’s a very large group, you don’t either. Otherwise you’ve barely finished saying hello and it’s time to say goodbye ! I realize that there should be an entire book because as always in France, exception to the rule is thy name! (Newcomers in established groups, holiday gatherings, … gosh I’ve just realized it’s exhausting being French !!) one thing for sure: NO hug!

  8. Chingona says:

    I am definitely not a hugger so I totally get him not wanting to hug a total stranger. You know what I hate even more is the hug and kiss, or the double kiss of a complete stranger!

  9. PettyRiperton says:

    No sane person does Jerry. This doesn’t require you to be a fan of the man to understand this. With me you would get hit I don’t know what your intentions are. I don’t see why it’s a big deal who walks up to randoms and hug them celebrity or not it’s weird.

  10. Amy Tennant says:

    I don’t know if maybe Kesha felt like she was in a rarefied world of “we’re both celebrities” or something? Or she was a little drunk or just high on the excitement of the evening? Can’t help thinking of Kesha’s own situation of not having autonomy of her body. She may well have thought about it later and got it.

    No, no one is ever required to hug anybody. Even when you’re a little a kid and your mom tells you to hug grandma (although I admit I have been the mom in that situation, and I regret it).

    I’m a hugger, but I was forced to become that way having been pushed into a church youth group of huggers. It was adapt or die. I will hug just about anyone ( I will initiate a handshake and let the other person decide whether they want a hug).

    Jerry was in the right, but I felt bad for Kesha because i feel bad for anyone in an awkward, embarrassing situation. She did well to laugh it off publicly. She can hug me.

  11. perplexed says:

    I think it’s a little weird that she tried twice after he said no.

    The first time I could see someone thinking, if they’re a somewhat touchy-type person, it’s okay to hug. But if the person clearly says no I don’t know why you’d keep trying.

  12. Retty says:

    It’s his right! Why would she even behave that way?!? I bet you anything that if it was the other way around- a male begging her for a hug – the world would be screaming blue murder (regardless of who he is)!

  13. BJ says:

    I was shocked by all the hate he received on blogs .I was cursed out for defending him.All the BS about he would have no career without his fans.There is a difference between asking for a selfie or an autograph and a hug.

  14. Julie says:

    I saw the video. It didn’t look like there were any hard feelings on either side. I don’t really think it’s a big deal. She was being a little persistent, but it’s not like she grabbed him after he said no.

  15. Laura says:

    Nothing is more annoying and rude to me than when I go to shake hands with someone and they say something like “Oh no honey, I’m a hugger, come here.”

    Oh no honey, I’m someone that respects someone’s personal space, don’t effing touch me.

    • Penelope says:

      The worst is when they’ve drenched themselves in stinky perfume, insist on hugging you, and their smell gets on your clothes and stays there. Always pisses me off!!

  16. lizzie says:

    he doesn’t want to be hugged but he sure is eager to talk about it.

  17. I Choose Me says:

    With him all the way on this. I love hugs but not if I don’t know you. And I have to know you well. Also not a fan of close talkers. I value my personal space and get very annoyed when it’s encroached on.

  18. Canadian Becks says:

    Is Jerry a known germaphobe like Howie Mandel?

    • tiepin says:

      I think he is! He reminds me a lot of an ex-boyfriend who was/is a germaphobe. We’re still friends and meet for lunch from time to time. He breaks out the mini bottle of hand sanitiser every time and offers me some, lol.

      I think with regards to Jerry and Kesha, there’s a generational divide in accepted greetings happening, too. Kesha’s of that generation where hugs seem to be the default mode of greeting; touchy-feely, familiar, omg hugz! Not to paint with a broad brush, of course, but a lot of young people, especially girls and young women, would probably find a handshake or no hands-on greeting a bit awkward and staid. A hug comes easily in this time of social media and interaction. It’s all down to the individual and situation, though.

  19. tony h ridler says:

    Being easily impressed, I’m full of impressions’-;#GumpRules

  20. Ksenia says:

    I was physically abused as a child and as a result and am almost always a little wary of hugging. Even frightened–it depends on the person–although that is getting much better. My “boundaries” feel permeable and precarious enough as it is, and only invisibly guarded, so it scares me to know–to see repeatedly proven–how easily another person can enter my small, self envisioned zone of personal space. I’m jealous of people who can hug others, for it seems that certain emotions–good ones, like trust or the belief in it–must come much more easily to them than to those who, like me, inwardly withdraw from sudden or surprising physical displays of affection.

  21. Shannon says:

    As a non-hugger myself, I totally get it. I mean, I will hug, but not someone I barely know. That’s kind of creepy to me. Even when I do, unless it’s my kid or a really good friend, I prefer a sort of half-hug. A Dugger hug, if you will LOL