Gwendolyn Purdom
November 08, 2017 9:20 am

Looking back, it’s becoming clear that Hollywood’s “open secret” about sexual harassment may have been more in the open than many people realized. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane’s been making headlines recently for calling out both Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey in his work long before disturbing allegations against the men went public, and fans of the Hulu series Difficult People know that Spacey has been a go-to punchline on the show for years.

Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner — creators and stars of Difficult People — reference Spacey often.

Some jokes riff on Spacey’s acting talent and Hollywood clout, but others veer into much darker and more specific territory. In one episode, Eichner’s character says he may “go the Kevin Spacey route” — which, he explains, is to “stop trying to be a human being, and just focus on getting famous, and then after I have a Netflix show, focus all my frustrations on a boyfriend young enough to be my own son.”

In another instance, Spacey makes the list of things kids hate according to Billy and Julie, along with going to the dentist and doing homework. There’s also an arc about Eichner’s character taking Spacey’s online acting MasterClass — a real-life course that will no longer be offered.

When Spacey first responded to allegations that he had made a sexual advance toward actor Anthony Rapp when Rapp was only 14, Eichner was one of many celebrities to criticize Spacey’s statement. The comedian — who was awarded the Human Rights Campaign’s 2017 Visibility Award for inspiring LGBTQ youth last month — took issue with the way Spacey came out as gay in his Twitter post addressing the allegations.

Since BuzzFeed News reported Rapp’s allegations, several more people — including actor Richard Dreyfuss’ son Harry and at least eight House of Cards employees — have come forward with their own accusations against Spacey.

Using humor to point out social injustice is nothing new for Eichner.

A lot of segments on Billy on the Street have slyly done the same thing. Difficult People joins Family Guy and 30 Rock in the growing list of shows that dared to suggest some of the entertainment industry’s most powerful men were shielding a dark side. In the face of such a massive systemic issue, every little bit of light helps.

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