“Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, who took a swipe at Harvey Weinstein during the televised Oscar-nominations announcement in 2013, said Wednesday the barb came from “a place of loathing and anger” sparked by a Weinstein harassment allegation made by one of MacFarlane’s co- stars in the film “Ted.”
“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 wrote on his Twitter page. “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 hake a hard swing in his direction. Make no mistake, this came from a place of loathing and anger.”
Barth, 37, who has also done voice work on the MacFarlane’s animated “Family Guy,” came forward with her allegation against Weinstein in a New Yorker article published this week. She said she met with the producer in a hotel room in 2011 and he offered her a film role if she would give him a naked massage in bed.
During the Oscar-nominations announcement in January 2013, MacFarlane stood next to actress Emma Stone and announced the nominees for best supporting actress. After reading the names, he added, “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
What was considered to be an edgy comic dig at the time has been replayed in recent days in light of the public airing of sexual harassment and assault allegations, some dating back decades, against Weinstein. Some have pointed to the clip as a tacit admission that Weinstein’s behavior has long been known, but not discussed or confronted, in Hollywood.
MacFarlane took some heat on social media after issuing his statement Wednesday, with critics contending the 2013 comment proves he was aware of Weinstein’s behavior but — aside from making the televised jab — did nothing else to stop it.
Barth quickly came to MacFarlane’s defense, saying MacFarlane was “respecting my wishes” by not confronting Weinstein.
“To the people slamming Seth for not `doing’ anything, please STOP!,” she wrote on Twitter. “He stood by me and respected my wishes that he not retaliate in any way.”
When the online attacks continued, Barth posted, “Oh my god, seriously!? STOP! He was respecting my decision! And, only after he discussed this with me did he make a statement.”
She later added, “To everyone bad-mouthing Seth, how about applauding him for being one of FEW men in Hollywood speaking out!”
MacFarlane praised Barth for coming forward to publicly tell her story.
“There is nothing more abhorrent and indefensible than abuse of power such as this,” he said. “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.”