While announcing the Best Supporting Actress nominees at the 2013 Oscars, Seth MacFarlane made a joke about Harvey Weinstein which has now taken on a new life and meaning following the allegations of sexual harassment made against the producer.
"Congratulations," MacFarlane said to the five nominated actresses. "You five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein."
Emma Stone had been presenting the nominations announcement with him, and his quip prompted laughter from the audience.
The Family Guy creator has now revealed that he made the joke in a bid to defend and protect his former Ted co-star Jessica Barth, who confided in him about an experience she had with Weinstein in 2011.
Barth recounted the incident in a New Yorker exposé in which she claims Weinstein "alternated between offering to cast her in a film and demanding a naked massage in bed".
MacFarlane explained in an impassioned post on Twitter: "In 2011, my friend, colleague Jessica Barth, confided in me regarding her encounter with Weinstein and his attempted advances.
[Jessica Barth at the Ted 2 premiere in 2015]
"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 decisions to come forward, and for being champions of truth."
Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Léa Seydoux are among the numerous women who have recently spoken out to accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct in a New York Times report published on October 10. Allegations reported vary from rape to sexual harassment.
Their accounts come less than a week after the newspaper broke an investigative report on Weinstein.
Weinstein has "unequivocally denied" allegations of non-consensual sex, and a spokesperson from him has responded to the October 10 article with the following statement: "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr Weinstein.
"Mr Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.
"Mr Weinstein has begun counselling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance."
Weinstein was recently fired from The Weinstein Company which he co-founded, and BAFTA has also suspended his membership from the organisation.
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