With the debate around what constitutes fake news continuing to make headlines, Seth MacFarlane has weighed in on how he feels about Fox News’ portrayal of other media outlets.
On Saturday, MacFarlane — who has worked with Fox Broadcasting Company for nearly 20 years, beginning with the creation of “Family Guy” in 1999 — tweeted that he is “embarrassed to work for” the company. The Tweet was a response to CNN’s Brian Stelter, who had tweeted a quote of Fox News host Tucker Carlson encouraging his viewers to “always assume the opposite of what they’re telling you on the big news stations.”
“In other words, don’t think critically, don’t consult multiple news sources, and in general, don’t use your brain,” MacFarlane wrote. “Just blindly obey Fox News. This is fringe s—, and it’s business like this that makes me embarrassed to work for this company.”
On Monday, “Modern Family” co-creator and executive producer Steve Levitan voiced his support for MacFarlane’s position, tweeting that he’s “disgusted to work at a company that has anything whatsoever to do with Fox News.” “Modern Family” is produced by 20th Century Fox Television.
Levitan retweeted Yahoo TV critic Ken Tucker, who quoted Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s description of the child detention centers along the U.S.’s southern border as “essentially summer camps [or] boarding schools,” and referred to her characterization as “bulls—.” Numerous celebrities, including Judd Apatow, have spoken out against the recent implementation of a zero tolerance policy along the U.S.-Mexico border, leading to the separation of migrant children from their families.
MacFarlane is far from the first celebrity to criticize Fox News, but as an industry vet with a longstanding relationship with Fox, MacFarlane’s commentary may bear more weight.
Fox Broadcasting Company is a subsidiary of Fox Entertainment Group, which also operates Fox News Group. Parent company 21st Century Fox was founded by Rupert Murdoch, and in late 2017 the Walt Disney Company announced plans to acquire most of the company — not including the Fox television network, Fox News, and most of Fox Sports, which under the terms of the sale will spin off as a new entity, New Fox. Comcast, however, has entered a competing offer and the outcome of the proposed acquisition is still uncertain, with Fox meeting to consider Comcast’s bid June 20.
MacFarlane’s “Family Guy” was picked up by Fox in 1999, when MacFarlane sought a more primetime audience for his work and Fox took notice of his college thesis shorts, which centered around an early conception of “Family Guy” characters Peter and Brian as Larry and Steve. Since then, “Family Guy” has aired for 16 seasons. MacFarlane has since created “The Orville,” “American Dad!,” and “The Cleveland Show,” all for Fox.