Oscar Host Seth MacFarlane Angers Anti-Defamation League With 'Ted' Segment
The media-monitoring Jewish group speaks out against a part of Sunday's telecast, in which a MacFarlane-voiced digital teddy bear joked that Jews control Hollywood.
And the next group to fire outrage at Seth MacFarlane's Oscars performance is … the Anti-Defamation League.
The Jewish group, led by longtime chief Abraham Foxman, issued a statement Monday slamming MacFarlane and the Academy for a segment of the show that it said perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes. The moment featured Mark Wahlberg and Ted -- the foul mouthed, digital stuffed bear that was the center of the summer's mega-hit comedy, Ted -- present the awards for best sound mixing and best sound editing.
During the segment, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) joked that Jews controlled Hollywood and that fealty to the religion was required to work in the industry. "I was born Theodore Shapiro, and I would like to donate to Israel and continue to work in Hollywood forever," he said, to audience laughter -- and Wahlberg's feigned displeasure.
"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," the ADL wrote in its 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."
The missive continued, noting that the international audience for the show might not have known it was a joke.
"For the insiders at the Oscars this kind of joke is obviously not taken seriously," the ADL statement said. "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."
This is not the first time the Anti-Defamation League has complained about a MacFarlane production; in 2009, it fumed over an episode of Family Guy titled "Family Goy," which the group said was guilty of "employing excessive negative stereotypes about Jews and money."