Seth MacFarlane blasted by Jewish watchdogs for anti-Semitic Oscars jokes
Family Guy comedian Seth MacFarlane found himself at the centre of more scandal on Monday in the wake of his controversial hosting of Oscars 2013.
Seth MacFarlane caused outrage among viewers when his Ted alter-ego took to the stage at Sunday night’s ceremony with Mark Wahlberg, and told his co-star that if he “wants to work in this town” he’s got to be Jewish.
His Ted then added to Mark Wahlberg: “I was born Theodore Shapiro and I would like to donate to Israel and continue to work in Hollywood forever.”
But the gags, which came as the pair presented the award for Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing, weren’t received well by many Jewish rights groups, with the comedian labeled “offensive, unfunny and inappropriate”.
Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement: “While we have come to expect inappropriate <<Jews control Hollywood>> jokes from Seth MacFarlane, what he did at the Oscars was offensive and not remotely funny.
“It only reinforces stereotypes which legitimize anti-Semitism. It is sad and disheartening that the Oscars awards show sought to use anti-Jewish stereotypes for laughs.”
The League’s Founder and Dean, Rabbi Marvin Hier, added: “The Oscars are transmitted to every corner of the globe, even to such places where such hateful myths are believed as fact.
“Every comedian is entitled to wide latitude, but no one should get a free pass for helping to promote anti-Semitism.”
The statement continued with the League accusing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of failing to show “greater sensitivity” by allowing the sketch to be aired during the show.
Seth MacFarlane divided opinion with many of his jokes, which saw him take mock Adele’s weight and Chris Brown and Rihanna’s relationship, as well as a sketch which was deemed racist after the comedian used a colored sock to illustrated Denzel Washington.
The opening number saw She MacFarlane take part in a musical segment entitled We Saw Your Boobs, referencing stars in the audience including Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence.
But following the comedic number, Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said: “The sexist tone throughout the show indicates a critical need for the Academy to expand its talent pool of female writers, producers and directors.”
And former Oscar-winning producer Cathy Schulman added: “Among the women I’ve talked to today I would say I haven’t heard from any who thought it was in good taste.”
Meanwhile, The Parents Television Council criticized Seth MacFarlane’s hosting style as a whole, with the group’s president Tim Winter saying: “The Academy Awards broadcast contained sexist, misogynistic and sexually exploitative content. Clearly, families are no longer a welcome part of the audience.”
However, a spokeperson for the Academy said in a statement of Seth MacFarlane’s hosting: “If the Oscars are about anything, they’re about creative freedom.
“We think the show’s producers, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and host Seth MacFarlane, did a great job, and we hope our worldwide audience found the show entertaining.”
If Seth MacFarlane’s success is to be judged by the ratings of the show, then controversy rules.
The 85th Oscars cracked 40 million viewers for the first time since 2010 – pulling 40.3 million viewers on ABC, an overall increase of 3% from 2012′s telecast hosted by veteran master of ceremonies Billy Crystal, which drew 39.3 million viewers.
Even better, viewership rose 11% in the important 18-49 demographic with a 13.0 rating over the 2012 show’s 11.7 rating in the same category
However, the show failed to top the 2004 Oscar’s audience of 43.5 million viewers who tuned in to watch Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King take Best Picture.
But despite the success of the show, Seth MacFarlane said on Tuesday that he would not return to host another show.
Retweeting a message from another website asking him if he would reprise his presenting role, Seth MacFarlane replied: “No way. Lotta fun to have done it, though.”
According to the comedian’s sister, Seth MacFarlane had to be reassured at length by his family that things went well after the ceremony.
Speaking on Access Hollywood Live, Seth MacFarlane’s sister Rachael explained: “He’s incredibly, incredibly critical of himself. So we were saying, <<You were fantastic, it was amazing>>. He said, <<I’m always going to find something>>.”
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