Seth MacFarlane seemed to avoid the borderline anti-Jewish jibes expected of him during his opening monologue at the 85th Academy Awards last night. The producer and voice actor, who is not Jewish, made up for the omission in the second part of the evening, with a skit involving his stuffed alter ego Ted that some are calling anti-Semitic.
Mark Wahlberg joined his teddy bear costar to present the award for best sound editing. The bit had a rocky start, as MacFarlane—through Ted—began listing some Jewish stars in the audience. The X-rated bear then claimed to have Jewish heritage, revealing that his birth name was Theodore Shapiro. Ted believed this would gain him easy entrance into the “secret synagogue meeting” of the Hollywood elite.
“I would like to donate money to Israel and continue to work in Hollywood forever,” the bear said.
“You’re an idiot,” Wahlberg retorted.
The skit was met with uncomfortable laughter.
“While we have come to expect inappropriate ‘Jews control Hollywood’ jokes from Seth MacFarlane, what he did at the Oscars was offensive and not remotely funny. It only reinforces stereotypes which legitimize anti-Semitism,” a statement from the ADL head read.
Foxman criticized the Oscars for what he saw as a “sad” and “disheartening” use of “anti-Jewish stereotypes for laughs.”
“For the insiders at the Oscars this kind of joke is obviously not taken seriously. But when one considers the global audience of the Oscars of upwards of two billion people, including many who know little or nothing about Hollywood or the falsity of such Jewish stereotypes, there’s a much higher potential for the ‘Jews control Hollywood’ myth to be accepted as fact,” Foxman admonished.