With Seth MacFarlane named next year’s Oscars host, a parents group is renewing its longtime campaign against the envelope-pushing writer-producer-actor.
The Parents Television Council is asking its members to file Federal Communications Commission complaints against Sunday night’s premiere episode of MacFarlane’s American Dad, which airs on Fox. The PTC accuses the episode of a graphic verbal and visual reference to oral sex and ejaculation (see photo) while airing at 8:30 p.m. in some parts of the country, “when there are millions of children in the audience.”
“Is the man that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has selected to host next year’s Oscars telecast, following in the footsteps of such Hollywood legends as Bob Hope and Johnny Carson?” asked PTC president Tim Winter. “In the past, American Dad and MacFarlane’s other programs have included scenes mocking people with Down syndrome, implying father-daughter incest, a man masturbating a horse, a baby eating horse sperm, and a character eating vomit and excrement out of a baby’s diaper.”
In the episode, there’s a SUV that runs on carbon, oxygen, and potassium called the “Hummie C.O.K. Guzzler.” One character says, “Wouldn’t it run cleaner if they added another carbon molecule before the potassium? Then it would guzzle C.O.C.K.”
The PTC likely faces an uphill battle as the organization’s efforts to censor broadcast shows have been dealt a few recent setbacks. The PTC was a heavy driver behind complaints against Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction,” but in June the Supreme Court refused to review a lower-court decision that threw out the FCC’s $550,000 fine against CBS. And though the high court decided to keep the FCC’s indecency rules in place, it also dismissed fines against Fox and ABC. According to one report, the FCC has now scaled back its enforcement of indecency complaints.
The FCC once fined Fox $25,000 over a disputed 2010 episode of American Dad which contained another semen joke. But the fine more of a procedural penalty against the network for refusing to give the FCC certain materials regarding the episode rather than the content itself.
In 2008, MacFarlane fired back at the PTC, saying getting a protest letter from the PTC is “like getting hate mail from Hitler.”
“They’re literally terrible human beings,” MacFarlane said. “I’ve read their newsletter, I’ve visited their website, and they’re just rotten to the core. For an organization that prides itself on Christian values – I mean, I’m an atheist, so what do I know? – they spend their entire day hating people.”