A seemingly awkward five-year-old joke by Seth MacFarlane about then-Oscar king Harvey Weinstein has taken on a new life and a new meaning amid the spectacular downfall of the uber producer under a mountain of accusations of sexual harassment and assault. And now the Family Guy and Orville creator is speaking out about the story behind it.
In an emotional Twitter post, MacFarlane reveals that the joke at the 2013 Oscar nominations was a way of him to stand up to Weinstein after his friend, actress Jessica Barth, who co-starred in MacFarlane’s Ted movies and had a recurring role on Family Guy, had confided in him about her harrowing 2011 experience with Weinstein. The encounter, in which the producer sexually harassed the actress in his hotel room, was recounted in yesterday’s New Yorker exposé on the disgraced producer.
In January 2013, MacFarlane, who hosted the Oscars that year, was joined by actress Emma Stone to unveil the nominees. After reading the five actresses in the Supporting Actress category, MacFarlane said: “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.” (See the full video below.)
That joke, along with a line from a 2012 episode of Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, which also alluded to Weinstein as a sexual harasser, have become viral in the past few days as Weinstein’s decades-old “open” secret was finally brought to life.