Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon and Adult Swim on Monday night issued statements about the disturbing video that surfaced over the weekend. It featured a skit from a 2009 Harmon pilot called Daryl, a spoof of Showtime’s serial killer drama Dexter, in which he simulates raping a baby doll.
“In 2009, I made a “pilot” which strove to parody the series Dexter and only succeeded in offending. I quickly realized the content was way too distasteful and took the video down immediately,” Harmon said. “Nobody should ever have to see what you saw and for that, I sincerely apologize.”
In a statement of its own, Adult Swim distanced itself from the offensive content, saying that it “does not reflect the type of content we seek out.” The network stopped short of reprimanding Harmon, noting that he “recognized his mistake at the time and has apologized.” I hear Harmon is continuing on the show.
Rick and Morty has been hugely successful, ranking not only as Adult Swim’s top series but as the highest rated cable comedy series and the second biggest entertainment series on ad-supported cable behind The Walking Dead. After lengthy negotiations, the animated comedy, created by Harmon and Justin Roiland, recently received a massive 70-episode renewal.
“At Adult Swim, we seek out and encourage creative freedom and look to push the envelope in many ways, particularly around comedy,” an Adult Swim spokesperson said. “The offensive content of Dan’s 2009 video that recently surfaced demonstrates poor judgement and does not reflect the type of content we seek out. Dan recognized his mistake at the time and has apologized. He understands there is no place for this type of content here at Adult Swim.”
The video featuring the scene from Daryl, which debuted in 2009 during a monthly comedy sketch festival called Channel 101, surfaced on conservative/right-wing blogs, which is also where information of decade-old tweets about rape by Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director James Gunn first got out before spreading online and leading to Gunn’s firing by Disney. Harmon, who was at San Diego’s Comic-Con, promoting Rick and Morty, deleted his Twitter account in the immediate aftermath of the appalling video’s release on Sunday.