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‘Rick and Morty’ co-creator Dan Harmon says he’s ‘ashamed and heartbroken’ after Justin Roiland allegations

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Harmon addressed recent allegations that show co-creator Roiland behaved inappropriately with young women and nonbinary people.
Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland at San Diego Comic-Con 2017 in San Diego.
Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland at San Diego Comic-Con in 2017. Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images file

“Rick and Morty” co-creator Dan Harmon broke his silence on accusations made against show co-creator Justin Roiland, saying in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he felt “frustrated, ashamed and heartbroken” by the news.

Harmon’s comments come in response to NBC News’ reporting. Eleven women and nonbinary people shared thousands of messages with Roiland sent between 2013 and 2022 with NBC News. Nine of the people who spoke with NBC News said Roiland allegedly turned the exchanges sexual and of those nine people, three said they were 16 when they began talking to Roiland. One woman told NBC News that she was forced by Roiland to perform oral sex. Harmon did not address specific allegations while speaking with The Hollywood Reporter.

Andrew Brettler, a lawyer representing Roiland, previously said the allegations are “false and defamatory.” He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday regarding Harmon’s recent comments.

“Trust has now been violated between countless people and a show designed to please them,” Harmon, 50, told The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m frustrated, ashamed and heartbroken that a lot of hard work, joy and passion can be leveraged to exploit and harm strangers.” 

Roiland, 42, had been charged with felony domestic battery and false imprisonment in Orange County, California, over an alleged incident in 2020. The charges were dismissed in March, with the district attorney’s office citing insufficient evidence. At that time, Roiland released a statement titled “justice,” saying the claims were false. 

Following news of Roiland’s alleged misconduct, Harmon said the “easiest thing” for him to say about Roiland was “nothing.”

“Easy because he isolated so well and easy because I’m nobody’s first choice as a judge of anything or anyone,” Harmon said. “This is where I’d love to change the subject to myself, to what a piece of crap I’ve been my whole public life. I would feel so safe and comfortable making this about me, but that trick is worthless here and dangerous to others. It’s other people’s safety and comfort that got damaged while I obsessed over a cartoon’s quality.”

Harmon’s statements to The Hollywood Reporter come two weeks after NBC News published its most recent investigation in Roiland, which documented separate allegations against him.

Representatives for Harmon did not immediately respond to a request for further comment. 

Harmon, who also created the show “Community,” said his final conversation with Roiland, which occurred in 2019 over text, brought him to tears. He said Roiland “said things that he’d never said before about being unhappy … but then this conversation became unprecedentedly confrontational.”

In March, Adult Swim and Disney’s 20th Television Animation cut ties with Roiland. A spokesperson for Adult Swim declined to comment regarding comments Harmon made during the interview. Disney’s 20th Television Animation did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

New voice actors were hired to replace Roiland, who also provided voices for the show’s titular characters. Harmon said he chose to be largely uninvolved in selecting the replacement voice actors. 

“It’s all just sad because the goal is for it to be indistinguishable,” he told THR. “At the same time, it would be absurd to suddenly decide that the entire foundation of your creative project was, oh, coincidentally, unimportant.”