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LOS ANGELES - If Seth MacFarlane’s joke from 2013 is anything to go by, the allegations of sexual harassment by Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein were an open secret in the film industry.
MacFarlane made the quip while announcing the 2013 Oscar nominations, with Emma Stone co-presenting.
After reading the names of the five female actors in the Supporting Actress category -- Sally Field for “Lincoln,” Anne Hathaway for “Les Miserables,” Jacki Weaver for “Silver Linings Playbook,” Helen Hunt for “The Sessions” and Amy Adams for “The Master” -- MacFarlane said, “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
The audience of reporters and industry insiders chuckled at what probably seemed just like a harmless, awkward joke at the time. But in the face of the many recent allegations against Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault and rape, the joke takes on a whole new meaning and raises a bunch of questions. Was Weinstein’s behavior an open secret in Hollywood? A number of published articles seem to indicate it was, or it was at least speculated about.
Wednesday, as more allegations of sexual harassment and assault continue against Weinstein, The Hollywood Reporter said MacFarlane tweeted praise for “Ted” actress and friend Jessica Barth. According to MacFarlane, Barth confided in him about an interaction she said she had with Weinstein.
“In 2011, my friend and colleague Jessica Barth, with whom I worked on the Ted films, confided in me regarding her encounter with Harvey Weinstein and his attempted advances,” he tweeted. “She has since courageously come forward to speak out. It was with this account in mind that, when I hosted the Oscars in 2013, I couldn't resist the opportunity to take a hard swing in his direction. Make no mistake, this came from a place of loathing and anger.”
“There is nothing more abhorrent and indefensible than abuse of power such as this. I respect and applaud my friend Jessica and those sharing their stories for their decision to come forward, and for being champions of the truth,” he said.
Weinstein has since been fired from his film company as sexual harassment allegations continue. More than a dozen allegations have emerged against the producer.