The #MeToo Movement Will Influence How 'Family Guy' Handles A Controversial Character

Creator Seth MacFarlane is behind the episode.

Fox's long-running animated series Family Guy plans to address controversial character Glenn Quagmire in an upcoming episode inspired by the #MeToo movement. The show has long made light of Quagmire's repeated sexual harassment and assault of women.

According to the Huffington Post, showrunner Rich Appel told reporters at San Diego Comic-Con that the show starts working on episodes a year before they air. "So the Me Too stuff became such a cultural force while [we] were thinking of next season, and we are taking it head-on with an episode around Quagmire," he explained.

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Quagmire's defining characteristic is his obsession with sex. In one episode, he shares explicit photos of an underage girl as he is arrested for statutory rape. In another infamous moment, he is seen assaulting Marge Simpson in a fake onscreen advertisement for The Simpsons

Appel added that series creator Seth MacFarlane, who voices Quagmire (as well as many other characters on the show) was behind the decision to tackle the character's behavior. "We're trying to be pretty fair about the whole history of the character," he said. "Seth encouraged us and even took a special interest while we were writing the episode."

As the Huffington Post points out, MacFarlane and his show previously called out the behavior of men such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey before they made headlines for their alleged abuse. Last October, MacFarlane tweeted that his joke about Weinstein at the 2013 Oscars "came from a place of loathing and anger," as his friend Jessica Barth had told him about the producer's "attempted advances" on her.

Family Guy's apparent willingness to address a problematic character stands in contrast with how The Simpsons has responded to complaints about Indian-American character Apu. Although voice actor Hank Azaria has said he would support a change and possibly even give up the role, the show's creator Matt Groening has brushed off the negative response, saying that "people love to pretend they're offended."

Of course, Quagmire is only one of many controversial characters and moments on Family Guy. The series is known for pushing the envelope, and has drawn criticism over the years from such groups as the Parents Television Council. In 2010, GLAAD and other LGBTQ groups spoke out against the show's depiction of Quagmire's father coming out as transgender. Whether the series plans to address any of its other problematic elements remains to be seen. 

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