Oscars Host Seth MacFarlane Crossed Line To Bigotry and Anti-Semitism

Talking Bear Skit Was Offensive — and Not Funny, Either

Not Too Funny: Oscars host Seth MacFarlane made jokes about gays, women, Latinas and Jews. Just because he was an equal opportunity offender doesn’t make it any less, well, offensive. Plus, he wasn’t too funny.
getty images
Not Too Funny: Oscars host Seth MacFarlane made jokes about gays, women, Latinas and Jews. Just because he was an equal opportunity offender doesn’t make it any less, well, offensive. Plus, he wasn’t too funny.

By Peter Dreier

Published February 25, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

It seems as though the Oscars writers think that Hollywood is so liberal that they can get away with making offensive comments because everyone knows they’re “just joking.”

I don’t agree.

Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony featured a not very subtle onslaught of sexist, racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic “jokes.”

At a time when America is facing an epidemic of gun violence and debating how to limit the spread of assault weapons, host Seth MacFarlane thought it would be clever to make a joke about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

“Daniel Day-Lewis is not the first actor to be nominated for playing Lincoln,” MacFarlane said. “Raymond Massey portrayed him in the 1940’s ‘Abe Lincoln in Illinois.’ I would argue, though, the actor who really got inside Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth.”

Perhaps hoping to win an award for “most racially insensitive” comment, MacFarlane joked about Lewis’ habit of staying in character during the filming of Lincoln, even when the cameras were off.

“If you bumped into Don Cheadle in the studio lot,” McFarlane said, looking at Lewis in the audience, “would you try and free him?”

MacFarlane also made outrageous remarks about Adele’s weight, gays, women, Latinas and Jews.

It would be difficult to pick a winner in the “most sexist comment” category. MacFarlane sang a juvenile song, “We Saw Your Boobs,” about movie scenes in which former Oscar nominees were topless. Referring to the decade-long quest to find Osama bin Laden by Jessica Chastain’s character in “Zero Dark Thirty,” McFarlane said it was an example of women never being “able to let anything go.”

To those women who lost weight before attending the Oscar ceremony, McFarlane said, “For all those women who had the ‘flu,’ it paid off. Lookin’ good.”

Referring to Latina actresses Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek – both of whom speak impeccable English – MacFarlane said, “We have no idea what they’re saying, but we don’t care cause they’re so attractive.”

After singing “We Saw Your Boobs” with the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus, MacFarlane made a point of explaining that he wasn’t actually a member of the chorus, as if being gay was something to be ashamed of. MacFarlane also observed that the show’s producers had invited the cast of “Chicago” to perform on the telecast because “the [Oscars] show isn’t gay enough yet.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.