Seth MacFarlane’s Academy Awards show elicits raised eyebrows, but few complaints

FCC records show only four Oscars complaints received

Written by Mara Berg

Despite raised eyebrows from viewers disgruntled by Seth MacFarlane’s risqué February Oscars show, only four filed written complaints with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Among the complaints was a petition from the Parents Television Council (PTC) that aimed to “hold the Academy responsible for approving racism, sexism and anti-Semitic jokes.

The petition cited the Academy’s statement defending MacFarlane, which stated, “If the Oscars are about anything, they’re about creative freedom … We think the show’s producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and host Seth MacFarlane did a great job and we hope our worldwide audience found the show entertaining.”

Refuting the Academy’s stance, the PTC’s petition sought to ensure that MacFarlane be banned from hosting the Oscars again.

“MacFarlane was brought on board despite his history of rape jokes on programs like ‘Family Guy,’ despite his history of anti-Semitic pot-shots, and race-baiting humor to bring young adult males. And it seems he was successful in doing that. But at what cost?” asked the PTC in an email containing the petition

Some viewers took the liberty of filing their own complaints with the FCC that aligned with the PTC’s views.

Orgy, masochism and a song all about boobs and genitalia were all discussed during this prime time (5:30-9pm) & previously family show. Both my husband & I were greatly offended & disappointed by the lack of class & vulgar topics this award show,” stated an audience member from San Diego

Shame on ABC!!!” scolded another viewer from Huntington Beach, CA. “It’s really sad when I have to jump up for the remote because my children are watching a cute little teddy bear talking about sex and orgies on the Oscars in the 7:00pm time frame,” the complaint continued.

Uproar was muted compared to last year’s Super Bowl when singer M.I.A. flipped off the camera during her performance, sparking 190 written complaints to the FCC. Though viewership for the 2012 Super Bowl was nearly tripl that of the 2013 Oscars (111.3 million viewers for the Super Bowl compared to 40.3 million for the Oscars), that isolated incident sparked a far larger number of complaints proportionally.


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