The relationship between Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland and the Adult Swim network has ended following reports of felony domestic abuse in Orange County. “Adult Swim has ended its association with Justin Roiland,” Adult Swim/Cartoon Network/Boomerang svp communications Mairie Moore said in a statement on Tuesday.
The network distributes Rick and Morty, the adult animated comedy co-created by Dan Harmon and Roiland, who voices both titular characters. The news comes not even halfway through the 70-episode order that came from Adult Swim in 2018; that would take it through its tenth season. Although the hit series is slated to continue, Roiland’s voice roles will be re-cast, according to THR.
Initial news of Roiland’s domestic violence charges, based on an alleged 2020 incident, was first reported on January 12. NBC News, the first to report publicly on the case, obtained the criminal complaint in the case, which charges Roiland, 42, with one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, and/or deceit. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in October 2020, and the semi-sealed case was kept out of the public until January 12, 2023.
No trial date has been set, but Roiland could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Roiland’s attorney has insisted that his client is innocent, according to Deadline, noting that “we also have every expectation that this matter is on course to be dismissed once the District Attorney’s office has completed its methodical review of the evidence.”
This is not the first time the series has had one of its creators engaging in alleged disturbing/criminal behavior . In 2018, Harmon came under fire for a supposed TV pilot he created in which he travels back in time to sexually assault serial killers when they’re children in an attempt to thwart future crimes. In the video, he was reportedly seen “simulating rape” on baby dolls. Harmon subsequently released a statement about the video, apologizing for its content and the offense it has caused.