As you may have heard, Seth MacFarlane’s performance as host of this year’s Oscars got some pretty negative reviews (including from me). Now in addition to the carping from powerless television critics, actual elected officials have gotten into the mix.
On Wednesday, two California State Legislature members wrote a letter condemning MacFarlane’s various misogynistic and degrading jokes and asking the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to use better judgement in determining who will host such occasions in the future.
California Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal and State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, both Democrats, wrote a letter to Academy President Hawk Koch (yes, that is the guy’s actual name) asking the Academy to somehow formally disavow MacFarlane’s remarks.
So if this story is going to stay alive any longer this is likely the juncture at which MacFarlane somehow becomes some kind of martyr for free speech and other comedians, even those with much more progressive worldviews, come out to defend him. And I do agree that politicians should tread lightly when using the power of their office to make comments on what was said at a completely private, non-governmental occasion.
However, at the same time the movie industry is simply a major employer in the state that these two particular politicians represent so I think they’re within their rights to comment on the things said at what amounts to that industry’s trade association dinner and request that future hosts not be actively hostile to women working in that industry.
Neither Academy President Hawk Koch (yes, his actual name) nor Academy Spokewswoman Toni Thompson have yet responded to the letter. Earlier this week Seth MacFarlane said on Twitter that there was “no way” he would host the Oscars again.