The producers behind Family Guy shrugged off a suggestion that they already knew about actor Kevin Spacey's alleged sexual misconducts before it became a news headline despite that an old episode of the series referenced the allegations.
Seth McFarlane admitted that he has no idea who pitched the story before the episode came out on TV over a decade ago. The creator and voice actor for the Fox animated series denied that he knew of Spacey's alleged sexual misconducts at that time.
"I don't remember who pitched the joke. I remember when it got pitched, that was a rumor I had actually not heard and people in the writer's room had. And it had to be sort of explained to me," McFarlane said during a panel interview at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour on Thursday.
A video from a 2005 episode of Family Guy surfaced after allegations of sexual harassment against the former House of Cards alum grabbed headlines in October. The video shows a baby Stewie running naked through a shopping mall in a panic as he calls for help.
"Help! I've escaped from Kevin Spacey's basement! Help me!" yells the youngest of the Griffin family.
Family Guy with the Kevin Spacey reference twelve years ago... creepy. pic.twitter.com/bVbEOLlAwz
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) October 30, 2017
McFarlane could not remember who came up with the joke although he credited it to another writer. Executive producer Alec Sulkin also could not remember who pitched the idea. However, he explained that the joke was probably a coincidence since everyone heard the rumors at that time. Sulkin also explained the context of the rumor.
"I think that that was something where he was coming off a story where he had been kind of beaten up in a London park, and he claimed that he was walking his dog late at night and fell, and I think that raised a lot of eyebrows," Sulkin added in the same panel interview.
Co-executive producer Rich Appel further explained that it is one standard procedure to pitch a rumor if it is already under public knowledge. Another standard is when the rumor seems outrageous that no one could possibly believe that it is true or that the rumor has come to pass already.
"When they were aired, you thought, 'Well, this is never going to happen,'" Appel said.
Family Guy later referenced Spacey's admission that he is gay in episode 8 of season 16. The December episode titled "Crimes and Meg's Demeanor" shows Meg, Peter, and Lois watching the end of The Usual Suspects on TV. Anyone familiar with the 1995 film knows that the end reveals that Spacey's character has been lying the whole time. However, Peter had a different reaction when he learned about the plot twist.
"Wait, he was gay the whole time?" Peter says.