Adult Swim severed ties with Roiland in January following reports that he was facing felony domestic violence charges in connection with a 2020 incident in Orange County, Calif. While the case was dismissed in March, numerous other allegations of toxic workplace behavior have since emerged. Now, Harmon — who co-created, wrote, and produced the show with Roiland — says he is "frustrated, ashamed, and heartbroken" over the situation.
"The easiest thing for me to say about Justin has been nothing," Harmon said in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "Easy because he isolated so well and easy because I'm nobody's first choice as a judge of anything or anyone."
He continued, "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."
Michael Buckner/WireImage; Adult Swim 'Ricky and Morty' co-creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon; 'Rick and Morty'
Harmon also noted that the trust of the Rick and Morty fanbase has been "violated," adding, "I'm frustrated, ashamed, and heartbroken that a lot of hard work, joy, and passion can be leveraged to exploit and harm strangers."
Earlier in the conversation, Harmon revealed that he had not spoken to Roiland since 2019, after a final conversation that left him in tears.
"He said things that he'd never said before about being unhappy," Harmon recalled. "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.' But then this conversation became unprecedentedly confrontational."
He chose to stop there. "I think that's as far as I get to take the story," he said. "At that point, we're no longer both there for it, and it starts to become not only unfair for me to continue but totally uncomfortable because, from there, a friendship goes away, and I still don't fully understand why."
Roiland was charged in May 2020 with one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, and/or deceit following a criminal complaint by an anonymous woman who said she was dating Roiland at the time, NBC News reported in January. The Orange County district attorney's office dismissed the charges two months later "as a result of having insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt."
In a public statement, Roiland said he was "thankful" of the outcome, adding, "I'm still deeply shaken by the horrible lies that were reported about me during this process."
The first new episodes of Rick and Morty since Roiland's exit are set to premiere this fall, featuring two new voice actors replacing Roiland in the titular roles.
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