Burt's Bees Co-founder Burt Shavitz Forced Out, Documentary Premieres

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Burt's Bees co-founder Burt Shavitz was reportedly forced out of his company after he had an affair with an employee. The reclusive beekeeper returned to his home in Parkman, Maine, where he doesn't appear upset by the ousting at all.

"In the long run, I got the land, and land is everything. Land is positively everything. And money is nothing really worth squabbling about. This is what puts people six feet under. You know, I don't need it," he said of his home and property where the company was launched in the 1980s.

The Burt's Bees co-founder is now the subject of a documentary opening Friday in select cities across the U.S. It opened on Tuesday in Miami for a 3-day run. Burt's Buzz will tell the story behind the 79-year-old who sold honey following time spent in the U.S. Army and shooting photos for Time-Life. The film premiered to huge crowds in Taiwan, with Shavitz holding court akin to that of a rock star.

It was back when Burt Shavitz met Roxanne Quimby--described as a hitchhiking 'back-to-the-lander' and single mom--that he went from his hippie honey-selling days to half of a multi-million dollar success story.

Quimby started making products from Shavitz's beeswax and the rest--as they say--is history. Not all that history was pleasing to the Burt's Bees co-founder, however.

"Roxanne Quimby wanted money and power, and I was just a pillar on the way to that success," Shavitz says in the documentary.

Quimby made more than $300 million when she sold Burt's Bees. She disagrees that Shavitz was treated improperly.

"Everyone associated with the company was treated fairly, and in some cases very generously, upon the sale of the company and my departure as CEO. And that, of course, includes Burt," she wrote in an email statement.

The Burt's Bees co-founder now lives in a home with no hot water. He doesn't complain about his humble life, however, although it's a far cry from his business trips around the world and his stays in 4-star hotels.

Most people believed that Burt Shavitz left Burt's Bees of his own volition. Instead he was forced out and given 37 acres of land and a sum of money. He doesn't seem any worse for wear, however. The documentary will likely shed new details on the ousting as well as the life the former Burt's Bees co-founder once lived.

Image via YouTube

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.