The ALS Therapy Alliance, an organization dedicated to finding a cure to the devastating and fatal disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), has taken issue with a joke featured in MacFarlane's new comedy "Ted."
In one scene, actor Mark Wahlberg's character is involved in an argument and yells at his rival, "From one man to another, I hope you get Lou Gehrig's disease!"
ALS is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease after the famous baseball player who was diagnosed with the disease in 1939.
In a statement, ALS Therapy Alliance spokesperson Traci Bisson slammed MacFarlane's decision to include the joke.
"We want to make it clear that ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, is not a laughing matter for people and families suffering from this life-threatening illness. The punch line in the movie 'Ted' comes at the expense of people afflicted with ALS."
"We just want to stop this alarming trend before it becomes too widespread. We work every day with a dedicated community of supporters to raise awareness and funds, aiming to wipe out ALS."
"We hope the filmmakers move beyond the unfortunate way Lou Gehrig's disease is used in the film and join us in finding a positive way to raise awareness and research funding to help find a cure."
"Obviously, you know, it wasn't our intention to really offend anybody," said Wahlberg. "Seth wrote the material, so you've got to take it up with him."
According to the ALS Association
, an estimated 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time. About 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year.