Depending which way you look at it, Seth MacFarlane has either been bravely calling attention to Hollywood’s alleged sexual abuse — or making light of it — since as early as 2005.
An early “Family Guy” episode rips on Kevin Spacey, who was recently accused of sexual misconduct with a minor by actor Anthony Rapp, of attempted rape of a minor by an anonymous artist, and of sexual harassment on the set of “House of Cards.” In 2012, “Family Guy” again poked at sexual assault rumors, this time at the expense of producer Brett Ratner, who was recently accused of sexual misconduct or assault by at least six women. MacFarlane himself made a joke about Harvey Weinstein, the initial scandal that broke the wall of silence about Hollywood’s rampant sexual abuse problem.
The Spacey joke first aired in 2005, during the show’s fourth season. In this clip, a shirtless Stewie runs through a mall yelling, “Help! I’ve escaped from Kevin Spacey’s basement! Help me!”
Family Guy with the Kevin Spacey reference twelve years ago… creepy. pic.twitter.com/bVbEOLlAwz
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) October 30, 2017
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In the tenth season, in an episode titled “Leggo My Meg-O,” Stewie and Brian infiltrate a child sex-trafficking ring. The clip below shows Stewie donning a blonde wig and pink bikini, while dancing to Katy Perry’s “California Girls,” as a group of men bid on him from behind glass windows. After the second bid, the announcer clearly says: “Thank you, Brett Ratner.”
MacFarlane doesn’t only use his characters to call out alleged predators. Who could forget this now infamous joke he snuck into announcements of the Academy Award nominations for best actress back in 2013? After reading the list of names, Macfarlane said “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
The unsettling part, in retrospect, is the eruption of laughter that follows. Once video of the joke resurfaced in the wake of the Weinstein allegations, MacFarlane said it “came from a place of loathing and anger,” noting that the producer allegedly made advances toward his friend Jessica Barth.
Here’s that clip:
Whether one finds the jokes distasteful or not, Macfarlane wasn’t afraid to speak up about rumors of sexual misconduct, which is a lot more than most people in Hollywood can say.