Seth McFarlane has many adjectives to describe him: actor, producer, animator, comedian, singer, among others. We would like to add another: offensive bigot.
This was evident on Sunday night, when McFarlane hosted the annual Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences Awards, the Oscars.
He demonstrated it in so many horrific ways. There was, for example, his disgusting attempt at humor regarding domestic violence: “‘Django [Unchained]’ is a movie where a woman is subjected to violence, or as we call it, a Chris Brown and Rihanna date movie.” It was a reference to a beating that Brown, a popular singer, gave to the singer Rihanna, who was hospitalized because of it. There was nothing funny in the way the woman in “Django” was abused; to refer to the beating of Rihanna as a “date” is equally repugnant.
McFarlane made fun of people’s weight, their sexual orientation, their skin color, and anything else he thought would get a laugh, including making light of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Referring to how well the actor Daniel Day Lewis portrayed the 16th president, McFarlane tastelessly added, “I would argue, however, that the actor who really got inside Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth.”
His opening number – aired during the 8 p.m. family hour, no less – made fun of actresses who showed their breasts in films. (ABC’s camera work during that offensive routine was no less offensive, to its shame.)
Equally troubling was McFarlane’s obsession with Jews. Throughout his career, and certainly ever since his “Family Guy” adult cartoon began airing on Fox in 1999, Jews have been his target of choice. All of the stereotypical canards leveled against us have found their way into his so-called comedy. Fox, at one point, refused to air an episode of “Family Guy” because it was extremely anti-Jewish in tone and content. (It contained the Internet-popular “When You Wish Upon A Star” rip-off, “I Need a Jew.”)
At the Oscars, McFarlane had a series of “jokes” about Jews and how “they” control Hollywood. This, too, is an old theme for him. Last year, in pursuing the Emmy Award that consistently passes him by, he took out an advertisement in trade papers that had a “Family Guy” character saying, “Come on, you bloated, overprivileged Brentwood Jews. Let us into your little club.” Below it was “Family Guy, for your consideration, outstanding comedy series.”
The import of the advertisement was that the Jews control Hollywood and non-Jews have no chance.
In a skit Sunday night with his bear character, Ted, he “jokingly” insisted that the very Catholic Mark Wahlberg had to be secretly Jewish because his name ends in “berg.” He then warned Wahlberg that if he wanted to make it in Hollywood, he would have to convert.
We defend McFarlane’s right to say whatever he pleases, no matter whom it displeases. We defend Fox’s and ABC’s right to air whatever and whomever they want.
We also defend our own right to call McFarlane a vicious racist, homophobe, misogynist, and anti-Semite.