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Posted at 7:10 PM ET, 04/30/2010

'Family Guy' animator likens Arizona immigration to Nazi Germany

By Michael Cavna


Something about Arizona's new immigration law has some cartoonists reaching for allusions to Nazi Germany.

"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane (right) has compared Arizona's actions to Hitler's Germany, according to Reuters. His comments come days after New Jersey political cartoonist Jimmy Margulies drew Arizona as Hitler's mustache, sparking criticism from the Anti-Defamation League.

MacFarlane, speaking in a Reuters Television interview, said the Arizona law was more shocking than his own irreverent, hot-button shows. His animated comedies "Family Guy," "American Dad" and "The Cleveland Show" all air on Fox.

"It's too much. It's kind of a slap in the face, it's not the way to handle it. ..." the animator said to Reuters. "Nobody but the Nazis ever asked anybody for their papers."

MacFarlane continued: "Walking down the street, a cop can come up to you and say, 'May I see your papers?' I think they should be required to ask that question in German if the law sticks around."

On Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League cited Margulies's cartoon, which appeared in the Bergen Record, in objecting to Nazi comparisons and analogies being made in relation to Arizona.

Margulies said to Comic Riffs on Thursday: "I do not think it diminishes the memory of the Holocaust to point out that the law in Arizona is uncomfortably reminiscent of Germany's in targeting one or more minorities. Before the concentration camps, there were smaller measures enacted which set the stage for greater acts."

As of Friday, the ADL has not responded specifically to MacFarlane's comments.

MacFarlane's shows frequently draw criticism -- most recently for a "Family Guy" character with Down syndrome who alludes to Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor slammed the episode as an insensitive "kick in the gut" and her daughter Bristol wrote that the show's writers were "heartless jerks."

In a poll concerning that episode, more than 2,000 Comic Riffs readers said they considered the episode's subject matter "fair territory for spoofage."

THE RELATED READ: "NAZI ARIZONA": N.J. cartoonist Jimmy Margulies stands behind immigration cartoon criticized by ADL.

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By Michael Cavna  | April 30, 2010; 7:10 PM ET
Categories:  The Animation  | Tags:  American Dad, AmericanDad, Anti-Defamation League, Bergen Record, Cleveland Show, Family Guy, FamilyGuy, Fox, Jimmy Margulies, Nazi Germany, Sarah Palin, Seth MacFarlane  
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Yes, enforcing our immigration law is obviously exactly like genocide.

Way to trivialize the Holocaust dude.

Posted by: reiflame1 | April 30, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Dayum, dayum, dayum! First I have to forget about replacing my "Heart Like A Wheel" C.D. and now Seth is coming down on the wrong side of this issue too? As a "Gay Urban Hipster" type in Seattle I am sooooooooooo disappointed! One of the most intelligent witty shows on television that's offensive in all the most delightful ways should have been created by someone too smart to base his argument on fear mongering reactionary b.s.!!!

I have to show my papers all the time for all sorts of things, where's the outrage for the last 40 years of that oppression? I never thought I'd disagree with one of my cultural heroes, but Seth automaticly loses this based on Godwin's law. To the rest of you jumping on the Harper Valley PTA bandwagon to trample 70% of Arizona's population, don't expect help when they come to trample your rights tomorrow! READ THE BILL!

Posted by: WhatAreYouPeopleSmoking | May 1, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Mr. McFarlane:

Obviously you do not know anyone with a green card. (Growing up in DC, I know many.)

United States Permanent Residents (aka Green Card holders) must carry their card with them at all times. If an immigration officer asks to see it, they must be able to present it.

While it was never really enforced before, after 9/11, it was enforced more regularly at border crossings. So there is legal precedent for asking non-American citizens to present "their papers" during some form of official interaction.

I realize you're busy cranking out your repetitive cartoon shows, but find some time to do basic research on immigration policy.

Oh, and hey - we as a country are currently involved in a debate on whether or not to have an official national identity card - REAL ID. Just so you realize. It's a dying debate, but it's still active.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | May 1, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse


Got it. We already had a law, but it was not being enforced with enough energy against brown people (not too many Canadians at risk in AZ, right? Be honest.) so we needed a more explicit law to make sure law enforcement would know exactly what group to target. And, just to ensure law enforcement will aggressively target the 'right' group of illegals, we needed to make sure that officers can be sued for not racially profiling to an acceptable degree. Sounds perfectly rational and not at all like something that the nationalists and nativists in post WWI Europe would have done--you remember, those guys whose desire to protect the sanctity of their ethnic heritages resulted in the fascism and 'national socialism' that created the need for WWII? But who's comparing?

This isn't about them (illegal immigrants). It's about us and what sort of government intrusion into our personal lives we will tolerate in the name of ticketing (this joke of a bill does not even allow for deportation--just a fine and release back to the community) some gardener in Phoenix for raking while Mexican. It does nothing to actually solve the immigration problem--only manages to offend and threaten legal citizens of Hispanic ethnicity (or those who look like they may be) and create an absolute no-win situation for law enforcement. It's more or less putting a salt-soaked Band-aid on a gaping arterial wound. Good thinking...

Posted by: Mickey71 | May 1, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse


I'm not saying I support the law. I understand the frustration that has spawned it, but I don't support it.

But I AM saying Seth MacFarlane isn't exactly an expert on immigration policy or history, and it might be better if he didn't spout off about the topic.

In the 1920's, South and Eastern Europeans were the "wrong" immigrants and were actively barred from entering the country via the Johnson-Reed Act. Trust me - in the US, we have a history of targeting the "wrong-type" of immigrant.

I'm just tired of everyone jumping on the Nazi train with this. My family is Polish Roman Catholic, and all the family my great-grandmother and grandfather left behind there were annihilated. Papers had nothing to do with it. It's because - as Eddie Izzard put it best - Hitler was a mass-murdering f***head. He just went after anyone he didn't like, or thought would threaten his rise to power.

The US has enough examples in its' own immigration history of blatant racism and profiling that we don't need to jump to 1930's-1940's Europe for an example of intolerance. It's extreme and all it does is polarize the complicated issue of immigration even further.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | May 6, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

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