- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 12, 2017

Seth MacFarlane responded to criticism over a joke he made while hosting the 2013 Oscars about disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, saying it “came from a place of loathing and anger.”

Mr. MacFarlane faced backlash this week after a clip resurfaced of the “Family Guy” creator announcing the nominees in the supporting actress category that year, joking: “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”

The joke elicited a roar of laughter and applause at the time but came under scrutiny in recent days amid a debate about Hollywood ethics and whether the culture was complicit or encouraged Mr. Weinstein’s behavior, which includes numerous allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

Mr. MacFarlane explained that he made the joke out of anger over Mr. Weinstein’s alleged mistreatment of former “Family Guy” voice actress Jessica Barth, who has since come forward in The New Yorker to accuse Mr. Weinstein of pressuring her for a massage in his hotel room in 2011.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Mr. MacFarlane wrote, “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.”

“She has since courageously come forward to speak out,” he continued. “It was 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.”

“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,” he added.

Mr. MacFarlane’s explanation didn’t satisfy some critics, who said the innocuous joke was a far cry from making a stand against sexual harassment. Ms. Barth rushed to his defense, saying he was only respecting her decision at the time to remain quiet.

“To the people slamming Seth for not ‘doing’ anything, please STOP! He stood by me and respected my wishes that he not retaliate in any way,” Ms. Barth tweeted. “My friend Seth was respecting my wishes. Please be sensitive to that.”

“To everyone bad mouthing Seth, how about applauding him for being one of FEW men in Hollywood speaking out!” she added.

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