In defense of Seth MacFarlane as Oscars host

Seth MacFarlane has found himself in more hot water than most Oscarcast hosts, being labeled a misogynist, anti-Semite and homophobe. But did MacFarlane really display these attitudes with his humor?

Of course he didn’t!

The people bestowing these labels (including two female members of the California legislature) are  twisting their reactions to his jokes into fabricated instances of bigotry and prejudice.

The claims of misogyny have been the loudest and most abundant. Those making this claim reference jokes MacFarlane made about Jessica Chastain’s character in “Zero Dark Thirty”, actresses having the flu to slim down, George Clooney’s penchant for younger women and the song and dance number about actresses baring their breasts as evidence of misogyny.

Yes, MacFarlane used dated stereotypes about women and the entertainment industry as the basis for those jokes.

The joke he made about Chris Brown and Rihanna’s rocky relationship can be attributed to bad taste. Later, when MacFarlane remarked that Rex Reed would critique Adele’s performance, he was not making fun of her weight but rather showing how much of an idiot Reed was in singling out Melissa McCarthy’s plus size in his review of “Identity Thief”.

None of these jokes display a hatred towards women, the definition of misogyny. 

The claims of anti-Semitism came from the bit between Mark Wahlberg and MacFarlane’s computer generated teddy bear, Ted. Ted kept saying that if he and Wahlberg wanted to continue working in Hollywood, they had to say they were Jewish and led Ted to say that he was born Theodore Schapiro.

Like some of the jokes about women, this relied on the old stereotype that Jewish people control Hollywood. The fact that many of the moviemen were Jewish was embellished for comedic purposes at last year’s Emmys. The Comedy Directing nominees were asked in pre-taped segments, “What kinds of people make the best comedy directors?” Both Lena Dunham (“Girls”) and Jason Winer (“Modern Family”) answered that it was Jews who did the best job. Jon Stewart has referenced his heavily Jewish staff throughout his 18 Emmy victories. And in 2002, when he won Comedy Supporting Actor, Brad Garrett (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) said, “I just hope that this award breaks down the door for Jewish people who are trying to get into show business,” which was greeted with uproarious laughter.

As for the claims of the host being homophobic, this arose from the opening segment when William Shatner said MacFarlane would come out of the closet in two years. MacFarlane has been asked before about being gay and always said it’s not true without being overly defensive. Indeed, he has been very outspoken in his support of gay rights. 

The people making these allegation should take a look at what they are criticizing. Their gripes are really about how taste and that’s a legitimate thing for which to criticize MacFarlane. Throwing around claims that he hates women, views Jews as inferior and fears gay people makes the accuesers look like fools and does a disservice to those who are true victims of bigotry and hatred.

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