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Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Academy defends Seth MacFarlane despite charges of sexism

By Brent Lang

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is sticking up for Seth MacFarlane and citing artistic freedom against charges that the comedian's stint as Oscar host was sexist.

Slate's Dana Stevens branded as misogynist MacFarlane's opening song "We Saw Your Boobs" and his quips about Chris Brown's abusive relationship with Rihanna. On Tuesday, those charges intensified after two California legislators, Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, sent a letter to Academy President Hawk Koch condemning the host's performance and asking the group to be more careful in the future.

"From topical jabs about domestic violence to singing about 'boobs' during a film's rape scene, Seth MacFarlane crossed the line from humor to misogyny," the legislators wrote.

"In a world where women have historically faced challenges and obstacles when it comes to their portrayal in popular culture, Sunday evening was a setback for women fighting hard to gain appropriate respect as contributors in this industry and society and general," they added.

But the Academy did not agree with their assessment.

"If the Oscars are about anything, they're about creative freedom," an Academy spokeswoman said in a statement to TheWrap. "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."

MacFarlane, who is the creator of "Ted" and "Family Guy," is known for pushing the envelope when it comes to jokes about race and sexism in his shows and movies. He was brought in by the Academy in an effort to broaden the show's appeal to younger viewers.

Lowenthal and Jackson are both Democrats and co-chair the California State Legislative Women's Caucus. Their offices did not immediately respond to request for comment about the Academy's response.

As for MacFarlane, don't look for him to return as Oscar emcee again.

On Twitter, the host responded to questions about whether he would host for a second time by writing, "No way. Lotta fun to have done it, though."

Feb 28, 2013 11:44AM
From a woman....  Seth MacFarlane was hysterical!!!  Loved the show.  Was not offended.  If an actress is ashamed of baring her beast on screen, then she SHOULD NOT do it.  Grow up!!  Stop being such a "woman."  Your giving us a bad rap! 
Feb 28, 2013 11:37AM
"It's called a sense of humor.  You should get one.  They're nice."

- Duckie, Pretty in Pink

I throughly enjoyed the Oscars.I thought Seth McFarlane was funny. Personally, I thought it was one of the best shows in years.Kudos Seth. I look forward to you hosting again.
Feb 28, 2013 11:42AM
Imagine the uproar from men if Ellen Degeneres was the host and performed a "We saw your dongs" song.  Oh, wait, there wouldn't be any uproar...
Feb 28, 2013 11:41AM
This was the only good Oscar show I've ever seen all the way through. MacFarlane rules! 
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