Years before Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse was reported on by The New York Times and The New Yorker, there were jokes made about him by comedians like Seth MacFarlane and shows like 30 Rock. Now, one of the 30 Rock writers is commenting on the series’ jokes about Weinstein from 2012 and 2013.
On an episode of 30 Rock from 2012, the character of Jenna Maroney notes, “I’m not afraid of anyone in show business. I’ve turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions…out of five.” This clip has gone viral over the past week as allegations about Weinstein’s behavior came to light and many have questioned whether the 30 Rock writers knew about it.
In an interview with The USA Today, 30 Rock writer Tracey Wigfield said that they weren’t sitting on a bombshell about the Hollywood producer back then.
“We weren’t trying to hint at any secrets we knew about him,” Wigfield told The USA Today. “I think we were just making a joke based on his reputation.”
This is in contrast to Sethon Oct. 12, who, during the announcement ceremony for the 2013 Oscar nominations, joked that the women nominated for Best Supporting Actress “no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.” MacFarlane recently said on Twitter that this wasn’t just based on rumors he had heard; a friend of his who he worked with on Ted confided in him that she had been harassed by Weinstein.
“It was with this account in mind that, when I hosted the Oscars in 2013, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a hard swing in his direction,” MacFarlene said. “Make no mistake, this came from a place of loathing and anger. There is nothing more abhorrent and indefensible than abuse of power such as this.”
30 Rock actually joked about Harvey Weinstein on one more occasion: in an episode that aired in 2013, Jenna Maroney said, “I know how former lovers can have a hold over you long after they’re gone. In some ways, I’m still pinned under a passed-out Harvey Weinstein, and it’s Thanksgiving.”
Coincidentally, Tina Fey’s new show Good News will air an episode on Oct. 12 all about sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s certainly strange that this is coming just a week after the Harvey Weinstein scandal began, but it was written and produced months ago, and it appears to be more of a reaction to the sexual harassment scandals of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, both of which ocurred prior to the production of the episode.