Seth MacFarlane criticized by female California lawmakers

SACRAMENTO -- Top female lawmakers in the California Legislature said Wednesday that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences “struck a new low in its treatment of women” by choosing controversial comedian Seth MacFarlane to host the Oscars ceremony on Sunday.

MacFarlane’s jokes “reduced our finest female actresses to caricatures and stereotypes, degrading women as a whole and the filmmaking industry itself,” wrote Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) in a letter to Hawk Koch, president of the academy.

Lowenthal and Jackson co-chair the California State Legislative Women’s Caucus.


MacFarlane regularly uses hot-button issues like sex and religion as comedic fodder in “Family Guy,” the animated television show he created.

The choice of MaFarlane to host the Oscars was widely seen as a bid to attract younger viewers with more risque humor, but his punch lines about women have been criticized as misogynistic. At one point, he sang a song about which actresses have shown their breasts in movies.

“It is unacceptable for the entity that celebrates film-making and pop culture to have Seth MacFarlane deliver a misogynistic and degrading monologue against actresses who have shown courage in addressing thought-provoking and realistic life experiences on film,” Lowenthal and Jackson wrote in their letter.

They asked the academy to condemn MacFarlane’s behavior and “commit to using better judgment in their future choices of content and hosts.”

It doesn’t look like the lawmakers will need to worry about a repeat performance from MacFarlane. Asked on Twitter if he would host the Oscars today, he said, “No way. Lotta fun to have done it, though.”


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-- Chris Megerian

Twitter: @chrismegerian