The Boston Marathon attack
In an episode that aired one month before the April 2013 Boston Marathon attack, Peter Griffin is seen winning the marathon by running a group of runners over in his car. Following the subsequent real-life attack, one of the men responsible ran over his brother while fleeing the scene. Fox confirmed that the episode would never air again in future.
Kevin Spacey’s sexual abuse allegations
During a season 3 episode from 2005, Brian dares Stewie to run naked through a shopping mall shouting, “Help! I’ve escaped from Kevin Spacey’s basement.” While rumours of Spacey’s sexuality were commonplace for years, rumours of sexual abuse were non-existent until 2017, when actor Anthony Rapp revealed that, when he was 14, Spacey sexually harassed him.
Robin Williams’ death
In season 20’s Viewer Mail #2, Peter’s wish that everyone he touches will become Robin Williams comes true. What starts off as a dream soon descends into chaos. In one particular scene, Peter attempts suicide by gunshot, only for the gun to turn into a miniature Robin Williams. In the UK, a May 2014 broadcast of the episode was immediately followed by news that Williams had taken his own life.
The 2020 quarantine
Caitlyn Jenner’s transition
In season 7 episode We Love You, Conrad, Stewie Griffin calls Brian up on Bruce Jenner’s gender, saying: “No, Brian. That’s what the press would have you believe, but he’s not. Bruce Jenner is a woman. An elegant, beautiful Dutch woman.” While the ‘Dutch’ part might’ve been a miss, the rest turned out to be true when Jenner revealed she was trans in 2015.
In a season 5 cutaway gag, original X-Men hero Iceman is lambasted by his wife over his previous whereabouts. When Iceman plays innocent, she asks him to explain a trail of ice leading from their bedroom window to a gay club across the street. In 2015, Marvel Comics made it canon that Iceman is indeed gay.
Brett Ratner’s allegations
At one point in Family Guy’s send-up of Taken, Stewie and Brian attend an auction in which young women are sold to rich predators. Stewie, dressed in drag, dances to Katy Perry’s California Girls while trying to entice the bidders. The voice of the auctioneer then announces a bid of $75,000 and says, “Thank you, Brett Ratner.” In 2017, Ratner was accused and sexual assault by six women and rape by a former talent agency employee.
Paul Walker dying in a car crash
Fans were shocked to see the writers kill off the family dog Brian Griffin in 2013 after he was hit by a car. One week after the episode aired, Fast and Furious star Paul Walker died in a tragic car crash. The link between these two? Brian was the name of Walker’s character in the Furious franchise. A bit of a leap? Yes. But still eerie.
Antonin Scalia’s death
In Meet the Quagmires, first broadcast in 2007, Family makes a reference to Dick Cheney’s notorious hunting incident when Death confirms that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has been shot dead by Cheney in a hunting incident. Nine years later in 2016, Scalia was indeed found dead on a hunting trip.
Will Smith hitting Chris Rock at the Oscars
When Will Smith defended his wife’s precious honour at the Oscars by assaulting Chris Rock, he set social media alight. In and among the discourse and memes were several Family Guy fans pointing out a scene in which Peter rushes up to a stage and punches a man for dedicating a song to Lois.