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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Tom Murray

Rick and Morty co-creator breaks silence on Justin Roiland accusations: ‘I’m ashamed and heartbroken’

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

Dan Harmon has commented on the multiple allegations facing his Rick and Mortyco-creator Justin Roiland for the first time since they surfaced earlier this year.

On 12 January, it was reported that Roiland had been charged with felony domestic violence in connection with a 2020 incident to which he pleaded not guilty.

Weeks later, Rick and Morty’s network Adult Swim announced they were severing ties with the writer, who also voices the show’s main characters.

In March, Roiland was dismissed of all charges, after the Orange County District Attorney’s office announced that there was “insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt”.

Earlier this month; however, NBC News published a new report featuring nine separate accounts of alleged sexual misconduct on Roiland’s part.

The report claims that Roiland leveraged his affiliation with the show in order to pursue young fans.

A lawyer representing Roiland said the allegations were “false and defamatory”.

Justin Roiland (left) and Dan Harmon, co-creators of ‘Rick and Morty’
— ( Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in a new interview, Harmon said he was “ashamed and heartbroken” by his co-creator’s alleged actions.

“The easiest thing for me to say about Justin has been nothing. Easy because he isolated so well and easy because I’m nobody’s first choice as a judge of anything or anyone. 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,” he said.

“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.

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

The Independent has contacted Roiland’s lawyer for comment.

Elsewhere in the interview, Harmon explained that he and Roiland’s friendship fell apart in 2019, which was the last time they spoke.

“He said things that he’d never said before about being unhappy, and I remember saying to him the last time we spoke in person, like, ‘I am worried about you, and I don’t know what to do about that except to give you all the string and also just say I’m scared that you’re not going to come back,’” Harmon said. “But then this conversation became unprecedentedly confrontational.”

This week, Rick and Morty debuted the trailer for its forthcoming seventh series. The two-minute teaser introduces fans to the two new voices who have taken over the roles of Rick and Morty from Roiland.

Unusually, the network has decided to keep the names of both talents confidential until the show’s premiere date on 15 October.

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

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