Seth MacFarlane criticised over Jewish 'stereotype' jokes at Oscars

Ben Arnold
Yahoo UK Movies News
26 February 2013

Seth MacFarlane has angered the US Anti-Defamation League over a joke which it believed 'reinforced stereotypes' of Jewish people working in Hollywood.

The joke in question was during the segment where MacFarlane's bear character from the film 'Ted' appeared alongside Mark Wahlberg to present an award.

[Related story: Oscars host Seth MacFarlane gets mixed reviews]

It suggested that Jewish people run Hollywood, and that financial support of the religion is needed to get ahead in the industry.

“I was born Theodore Shapiro, and I would like to donate to Israel and continue to work in Hollywood forever,” said MacFarlane - as Ted - during the skit, after which Walhberg shot back 'you're an idiot', seeming to disapprove of the joke.

The ADL have now issued a statement about the remark.

“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,” read the statement.

“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.

“For the insiders at the Oscars this kind of joke is obviously not taken seriously. But when one considers the global audience of the Oscars of upwards of 2 billion people, including many who know little or nothing about Hollywood or the falsity of such Jewish stereotypes, there’s a much higher potential for the ‘Jews control Hollywood’ myth to be accepted as fact.

“We wish that Mr. MacFarlane and the Academy Awards producers had shown greater sensitivity and decided against airing a sketch that so reinforces the age-old canard about Jewish control of the film industry.”

Some deemed the joke to be targeting and lampooning such stereotypes, however.

MacFarlane's hosting of the ceremony has garnered decidedly mixed reviews.

Some accused the opening song 'We Saw Your Boobs', about actresses appearing topless in films, of sexism, while others thought the 'Family Guy' creator hit an awkward tone for the traditionally staid ceremony.

The Atlantic headlined its review 'The Banality of Seth MacFarlane’s Sexism and Racism at the Oscars', while USA Today wrote: “Oscars fans have seen a lot over the years, but this may be the first time they’ve ever seen a host use the awards to audition for his own variety show.”

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