Seth MacFarlane’s old material has made its way into the news cycle once again. The comedian and Family Guy co-creator is landing in the spotlight for the second time in recent weeks for referencing specific harassment allegations years before the stories hit headlines.
First it was a Harvey Weinstein joke at the 2013 Oscars. Now, a fan has pointed out Seth MacFarlane’s cartoon sitcom was publicly suggesting Kevin Spacey was a predator years before actor Anthony Rapp alleged Spacey sexually assaulted him as a teen.
Just hours after BuzzFeed News published its interview in which the Star Trek: Discovery actor alleged Spacey made an unwanted sexual advance toward him when he was only 14, Twitter user NumbersMuncher posted a 2005 clip from MacFarlane’s Family Guy that shows baby Stewie running through a crowd of people yelling, “Help! I’ve escaped from Kevin Spacey’s basement!”
It’s a disturbing find, considering much of the discussion sparked by recent allegations of rampant sexual abuse in Hollywood has circled around who knew this was going on and didn’t speak up. MacFarlane has yet to address the Family Guy clip.
But he did say his 2013 Oscar line about Best Supporting Actress nominees no longer having to “pretend [they are] attracted to Harvey Weinstein” came from a place of “loathing and anger.” And that Weinstein had made advances toward his friend and colleague Jessica Barth.
MacFarlane’s not the only one who was pointing out rumored misconduct in Hollywood years ago. Tina Fey included references to Weinstein’s abhorrent behavior on 30 Rock. It was through comedy, too, that the Bill Cosby abuse scandal gained public steam; Hannibal Buress called out the comedian in a stand-up routine that went viral in 2014 and the media coverage of Cosby’s misdeeds soon followed.
While these issues are obviously no laughing matter, it’s eye-opening to see these “jokes” take on entirely new meaning years later.