'Family Guy' cartoon condemned for antisemitism

By Lauren Davidson, March 27, 2014
Family Guy: ‘antisemitic motifs’ (Photo: AP)

Family Guy: ‘antisemitic motifs’ (Photo: AP)

The creator of the American cartoon series Family Guy is again in the spotlight over concern that his comedy is offensive to Jews.

Seth MacFarlane has been accused by Jewish campaigners of including antisemitic stereotypes in a recent episode of the show.

In the episode, called Three Acts of God, the lead character, Peter Griffin, and his friends go to Jerusalem where they are surrounded by clones of Mort Goldman, a nerdy-looking Jewish character from previous episodes. A friend of Peter’s starts throwing pennies at the Jews, who scoop them up.

A spokesperson for the Anti-Defamation League in New York described the scenes as “outrageous”.

He said: “There are times when MacFarlane’s proclivity for dabbling in classic antisemitic motifs, such as the charge that Jews are money-grubbing and greedy, or the notion that Jews control Hollywood, which he used in the Oscars sketch last year, clearly cross a line.”

But the spokesman added: “We do not believe that Seth MacFarlane is antisemitic. He is an equal opportunity offender and in his show and comedy sketches he routinely skewers Jews, Muslims, Christians, homosexuals and people of other backgrounds.”

A representative for Seth MacFarlane did not respond to a request for comment.

Family Guy has faced criticism for previous depictions of Jews. One episode parodied Schindler’s List, while the Fox television network retracted another over fears that its content — Peter’s desire for a Jewish accountant — might offend.

Last updated: 10:45pm, March 27 2014