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Seth MacFarlane on His Weinstein Oscars Joke: ‘This Came From a Place of Loathing and Anger’

By now you may have seen, or at least heard about, the joke Seth MacFarlane cracked a few years ago about Harvey Weinstein while announcing the Oscar nominations. Well, MacFarlane revealed today that there was a specific reason behind that joke.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the video (relevant part starts at the 3-minute mark):

“Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”

The people in the room laughed, but as MacFarlane revealed today, he made the joke in response to what he heard from Jessica Barth.

Barth, who has worked with MacFarlane on Family Guy and the Ted movies, went on the record to Ronan Farrow for yesterday’s explosive New Yorker exposé:

[Barth] told me that Weinstein invited her to a business meeting at the Peninsula. When she arrived, he asked her over the phone to come up to his room. Weinstein assured her it was “no big deal”—because of his high profile, he simply wanted privacy to “talk career stuff.” In the room, Barth found that Weinstein had ordered champagne and sushi.

Barth said that, in the conversation that followed, he alternated between offering to cast her in a film and demanding a naked massage in bed. “So, what would happen if, say, we’re having some champagne and I take my clothes off and you give me a massage?” she recalled him asking. “And I’m, like, ‘That’s not going to happen.’”

When she moved toward the door to leave, Weinstein lashed out, saying that she needed to lose weight “to compete with Mila Kunis,” and then, apparently in an effort to mollify her, promising a meeting with one of his female executives. “He gave me her number, and I walked out and I started bawling,” Barth told me. (Immediately after the incident, she spoke with two individuals who confirmed to me that she related her account to them at the time.) Barth said that the promised meeting at Weinstein’s office seemed to be purely a formality. “I just knew it was bullshit,” she said. (The executive she met with did not respond to requests for comment.)

MacFarlane said today Barth told him what happened at the time, and this factored into his decision to make that joke about actresses pretending to be attracted to Weinstein:

UPDATE –– 4:21 pm ET: Barth tweeted out his statement and defended MacFarlane from people criticizing him for not doing anything:

[image via screengrab]

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Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac