Over a decade before actor Anthony Rapp and several House of Cards crew members accused Kevin Spacey of sexual assault and harassment, Family Guy aired a scene that seemed to reference shady behavior on Spacey's part.
"Help! I've escaped from Kevin Spacey's basement! Help me!" Stewie yelled as he dashed naked through a mall. Did the people behind the show know what was going on long before we did? Family Guy's creator Seth MacFarlane recently addressed the joke at a Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour panel, Entertainment Weekly reports.
He wasn't aware of it at the time, but there were rumors floating around about Spacey, which the show's writers decided to incorporate into the script. "I don’t remember who pitched the joke," he said. "I remember when it was pitched… that was a rumor I had actually not heard and other people in the writers’ room had. And it had to be sort of explained to me: 'Oh, there’s this rumor that’s going on.'"
Producer Alec Sulkin said the reference might have been prompted by reports in 2004 that Spacey called the London police saying he'd been mugged and then retracted the report. He claimed he'd previously been too embarrassed to admit he fell for a trick by a boy who said he had to call his mom then ran off with his phone, prompting Spacey to trip over his dog.
"I think that was something where he was coming off a story where he had been kind of beaten up in a London park, and he claimed that he was walking his dog late at night and fell, and I think that raised a lot of eyebrows," said Sulkin. "It’s one of the things in terms of Standards where if they heard the rumors, as we have, then they’ll allow it."
Last December, Family Guy made another reference to Spacey. At the end of Usual Suspects, Peter wonders, "Wait, he was gay the whole time?"—alluding to the way he tried to cover up Rapp's accusations with a coming out announcement. However intentional the 2005 joke was, the 2017 one's message was clear.