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The on-stage "joke" about Harvey Weinstein we'd all missed at the Oscars.

Mamamia logo Mamamia 12/10/2017 Caitlin Bishop
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 Video provided by Wochit Entertainment

“Congratulations, you ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein,” Seth MacFarlane jokingly told the nominees for Best Supporting Actress at the 2013 Academy Awards.

He and Emma Stone were presenting the award and his jibe was met with quick and loud laughter from the audience.

It isn’t so funny, now. Not now that Weinstein has been accused by countless actresses, models and former employees of sexual harassment. Accused of asking for naked massages, inviting women to watch him shower, propositioning sex, putting his hands on their bodies.

Just this morning, MacFarlane opened up on Twitter about the truth behind his on-stage remark. He explained it was his way of standing up to Weinstein after he allegedly sexually harassed his friend, Jessica Barth.

But MacFarlane’s ‘joke’ wasn’t the only sign we missed.

© Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

There was a reference in American comedy sitcom 30 Rock – a show co-written by Tina Fey loosely-based on the backstage antics at Saturday Night Live.

In a 2012 episode of the show, Jenna, played by actress Jane Krakowski, tells Tracy Morgan’s character: “Oh please, I’m not afraid of anyone in show business. I turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions… out of five.”

Another gag in 2013 on the same show saw Jenna joke: “Look I get it how former lovers can have a hold on you long after they’re gone. In some ways, I’m still pinned under a passed-out Harvey Weinstein and it’s Thanksgiving.”

Finally, there are rumours the Entourage character Harvey Weingard – a sleazy film producer – is based off of, you guessed it, Weinstein himself.

How have we been joking about this, laughing watching our television screens, as the women who were victims of Weinstein’s harassment sat by?

Actress Kate Winslet believes it’s naivety.

“I had hoped that these kind of stories were just made-up rumours, maybe we have all been naïve,” she said in a statement, ABC reports.

In an industry so obviously engined by a culture of inequality – a rape culture, even –  it’s been easier for everyone to look the other way, to maintain the status quo, to dismiss any reports by victims as misunderstandings to be dealt with using hush money.

We – Hollywood and its fans – cannot let this happen again. The next time we here a joke, a reference, a comedic filler about men taking advantage of women in Hollywood, let this be our lesson.

There cannot be another Harvey Weinstein.

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