As the devastating fallout from the accusations against Harvey Weinstein continues to spread throughout Hollywood and across industries, attention has naturally turned toward the wider, pervasive culture of sexual harassment and assault, and the insidiousness of the “open secret.” Stars like Matt Damon and George Clooney have claimed to have been ignorant as to just how bad Weinstein’s behavior allegedly was, but others have admitted to knowing more, and not doing much about it. For example—Seth MacFarlane, whose name arose among the controversy earlier this month when a video of him announcing the Oscar nominees in 2013 recirculated online: “Congratulations,” he said to the nominees for Best Supporting Actress, “you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.” According to MacFarlane, this was meant as a “hard swing” at Weinstein, after he learned that a close friend had been on the receiving end of the producer’s unwanted advances.
Now, it would seem MacFarlane has known about much more than just Weinstein’s inappropriate behavior: As a Twitter user has pointed out, a Family Guy episode from all the way back in 2005, Season 4, included this knock on Kevin Spacey:
On Sunday, actor Anthony Rapp came forward to allege that in 1986 a 26-year-old Spacey made sexual advances toward him when he was just 14 years old. Spacey has not exactly denied the claim, stating that he doesn’t remember it happening as Rapp describes, but has offered his “sincerest apologies for what would’ve been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior” if it had. Spacey also used his response to officially come out as gay, which has not gone over well considering this could be viewed as a way not only to deflect from the accusations, but also to conflate homosexuality with alleged sexual interest in underage minors. (Interestingly, this Family Guy crack, which suggests Stewie was locked in the actor’s basement, could be interpreted as doing the same—at least some viewers have read this as a nod only to his rumored homosexuality.)
Not unlike MacFarlane, 30 Rock also subtweeted open secrets long before they broke wide—see Cosby and Weinstein—but in light of how swift the pushback has been within Hollywood, maybe going forward, creators in the know will do more than just use this knowledge as a punchline? One can hope, at least.