With a few celebrities noting that they had heard rumors about Harvey Weinstein over the years, it begs the question whether his alleged sexual misconduct was an open secret in Hollywood.
It may have been to comedy writers.
As people following the stories about Weinstein try to determine who knew what and when, some are pointing to jokes made over the years about the producer and women.
In 2013, actor and “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane drew both laughs and groans with a bit about Weinstein during a nominations announcement for the Academy Awards.
“Congratulations,” MacFarlane said as he stood with actress Emma Stone after announcing the nominees for best supporting actress. “You five ladies no longer have to pretend you’re attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
Weinstein currently stands accused by multiple women of alleged incidents of rape, harassment and misconduct.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein denied the rape allegations in a statement provided to CNN on Tuesday.
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” the statement read. “Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”
On Wednesday, MacFarlane tweeted that a colleague had confided in him about an alleged encounter with Weinstein prior to 2013.
“Make no mistake, this came from a place of loathing and anger,” MacFarlane wrote.
In 2012, Time magazine named Weinstein “The Most Powerful Man in Hollywood,” noting he had transformed from “the tantrum-throwing blowhard of a few years ago, known for careening around town in his chauffeur-driven black Escalade, his hefty midsection straining his shirt’s bottom buttons” to a producer with a softer side.
But an episode of “30 Rock” that year took a dig at Weinstein.
In a scene featuring the characters Jenna Maroney and Tracy Jordan (played by Jane Krakowski and Tracy Morgan), Jenna explains that she’s not afraid of anyone in Hollywood, joking she “turned down intercourse with Harvey Weinstein on no less than three occasions…out of five.”
Jenna made another reference to Weinstein the following season, this time in discussing exes.
“I know how former lovers can have a hold over you long after they’re gone,” she says. “In some ways, I’m still pinned under a passed-out Harvey Weinstein, and it’s Thanksgiving.”
The Hollywood Reporter published a story in 2011 about the HBO comedy “Entourage.”
The series featured a foul-tempered and foul-mouthed character named “Harvey Weingard” played by Maury Chaykin, who Weinstein was not initially a fan of, according to the publication.
Cast member Kevin Connolly told THR that Weinstein once confronted him about the character
“I’m at a party. Harvey Weinstein just came over and told me to tell my producers they’re dead,” Connolly said. “‘Tell them if they ever mention my name again, they’re dead.'”
The exchange made its way into one of the show’s episodes, and according to THR, Weinstein later called series creator Doug Ellin to say he enjoyed it.