A joke Seth MacFarlane made during the announcement of the Academy Award nominees in 2013 is going viral again after the wave of sexual harassment and assault accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
In a bit with Emma Stone at the time, MacFarlane, who was hosting the program, jokingly addressed the nominees for best supporting actress, and said, “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
On Wednesday, MacFarlane revealed that the joke was prompted by a friend’s story of alleged sexual harassment at the hands of Weinstein.
“In 2011, my friend and colleague Jessica Barth, with whom I worked on the Ted films, confided in me regarding her encounter with Harvey Weinstein and his attempted advances,” MacFarlane tweeted. “She has since courageously come forward to speak out. It was with this account in mind that, when I hosted the Oscars in 2013, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a hard swing in his direction. Make no mistake, this came from a place of loathing and anger. There is nothing more abhorrent and indefensible than abuse of power such as this.”
On Wednesday, Barth urged people not to judge MacFarlane for making a joke instead of more directly addressing Weinstein’s behaviour. “To the people slamming Seth for not ‘doing’ anything, please stop!” Barth tweeted. “He stood by me and respected my wishes that he not retaliate in any way.”
Barth told The New Yorker that Weinstein invited her to a “business meeting” at the Peninsula hotel in 2011, where he “alternated between offering to cast her in a film and demanding a naked massage in bed.”
“I respect and applaud my friend Jessica and those sharing their stories for their decision to come forward, and for being champions of the truth,” MacFarlane tweeted.