Just call it Stewie’s revenge: producers of the animated sitcom Family Guy have announced they will phase out all gay jokes from their series.
The Fox show debuted back in 1999 to mixed reviews and ran for three seasons before meeting with cancellation. Not long after, Cartoon Network began running the series where it developed a large cult following…so massive, in fact, that Fox revived the show. It’s since become a staple of the network’s Sunday lineup.
Throughout its run, however, Family Guy has met with wide criticism for the crudeness of some of its humor, including jokes branded homophobic or transaphobic by watchdog groups like GLAAD. Now, the show’s producers have said they intend to phase out gay jokes.
“If you look at a show from 2005 or 2006 and put it side by side with a show from 2018 or 2019, they’re going to have a few differences,” producer Alec Sulkin said in an interview. “Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand is not acceptable.”
“If a show has literally been on the air for 20 years, the culture changes,” adds producer Rich Appel. “And it’s not us reacting and thinking, ‘They won’t let us [say those things].’ No, we’ve changed too. The climate is different, the culture is different and our views are different. They’ve been shaped by the reality around us, so I think the show has to shift and evolve in a lot of different ways.”
The move comes after the character Stewie, the nefarious baby of the family, came out as gay in 2018 after years of hints.