NEW YORK - A powerful Jewish watchdog group Monday criticised a sketch from Sunday night’s Academy Awards ceremony in which host Seth MacFarlane’s character “Ted,” an animated bear, tells actor Mark Wahlberg that if “you want to work in this town” you have to be Jewish.

Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation league, issued a statement calling calling the sketch “offensive and not remotely funny.”

The statement said, “While we have come to expect inappropriate ‘Jews control Hollywood’ jokes from Seth MacFarlane (American actor hosting the ceremony), what he did at the Oscars was offensive and not remotely funny. It only reinforces stereotypes which legitimise anti-Semitism. It is sad and disheartening that the Oscars awards show sought to use anti-Jewish stereotypes for laughs.

“For the insiders at the Oscars this kind of joke is obviously not taken seriously. But when one considers the global audience of the Oscars of upwards of two billion people, including many who know little or nothing about Hollywood or the falsity of such Jewish stereotypes, there’s a much higher potential for the ‘Jews control Hollywood’ myth to be accepted as fact. “We wish that Mr. MacFarlane and the Academy Awards producers had shown greater sensitivity and decided against airing a sketch that so reinforces the age-old canard about Jewish control of the film industry.”