'Rick and Morty' creator apologizes after an unearthed offensive sketch emerges online
This year hasn't been a good one for Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon. Back in December 2017, Harmon was accused of inappropriate behaviour by a former writer on his sitcom Community. After he posted a tweet declaring that 2017 was "the Year of the Asshole," he stated that his New Year's resolution was to be "not as much of an asshole," and made allusions to his own misconduct working with female coworkers. This statement was later corroborated by American comedy writer Megan Ganz, who stated that Harmon had asked her out and made her uncomfortable. The backlash was immediate and vocal.
But now Harmon has found himself in even hotter water, over a recently resurfaced nine-year-old online comedy sketch, which many viewers have deemed to be highly offensive.
The sketch in question, entitled "Daryl," is a parody of the hit Showtime TV show Dexter, in which Michael C Hall plays a serial killer who murders other serial killers. Harmon's outrageous sketch involves him playing a man who sexually abuses children in order to prevent them from growing up to be sex offenders. The video in question shows Harmon simulating sex with a plastic baby doll, as a way of satirising the murky ethics involved in the show. The video was removed from YouTube while Harmon was employed by NBC as community's showrunner, and for a time the sketch was forgotten about.
However, now a number of members of the far-right have brought the clip back up on forums including 4chan and Reddit, sparking a wave of intense criticism. As a result of the backlash, Harmon has now deleted his Twitter in an effort to avoid online harassment.
Harmon has since apologised for the sketch, stating: "In 2009, I made a 'pilot' which strove to parody the series Dexter and only succeeded in offending ... I quickly realised the content was way too distasteful and took the video down immediately. Nobody should ever have to see what you saw and for that, I sincerely apologise."
Adult Swim, the network responsible for airing Rick and Morty, has also released the following statement: "At Adult Swim, we seek out and encourage creative freedom and look to push the envelope in many ways, particularly around comedy. 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 apologised. He understands there is no place for this type of content here at Adult Swim."
This isn't the first time that Adult Swim has been forced to respond to controversial content; they were forced to cancel the sketch comedy group Million Dollar Extreme's show World Peace after it was alleged that the trio had numerous ties to the alt-right.