Adult Swim has severed ties with “Rick and Morty” co-creator Justin Roiland after he was charged with domestic violence.
Earlier this month newly publicized court records revealed that Roiland was being prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s office due to an incident with a Jane Doe that occurred in January 2020 — a criminal complaint was filed several months later, in May. Roiland has been charged with two felonies: one count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one account of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, and or deceit.
“Adult Swim has ended its association with Justin Roiland,” Adult Swim/Cartoon Network/Boomerang Senior Vice President of Communications Mairie Moore said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Rick and Morty” is a sci-fi animated sitcom that debuted on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block in 2013, where it has functioned as the network’s flagship series for the better part of a decade. The series is surreal, irreverent, and darkly comedic and drew attention for its high concept, low-brow humor, with the naive Morty Smith being dragged across the universe and between alternate realities by his jaded, supremely intelligent, and extremely dysfunctional grandfather Rick Sanchez in a series of escalating misadventures.
In addition to serving as co-creator and executive producer, Roiland was the voice actor for the two lead characters and often adlibbed portions of their dialogue. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Discovery, Adult Swim’s parent company, intends to recast the iconic duo and continue the series, which has been greenlit to continue for another 4 seasons. The show’s official Twitter account confirmed that production on season 7 will continue uninterrupted. Co-creator Dan Harmon will take over as sole showrunner.
— Rick and Morty (@RickandMorty) January 24, 2023
Online reaction to the news was mixed, with fans taking to Twitter to voice their shock, disapproval, and relief.
“How can you continue without @Justin Roiland,” One user tweeted. “That’s like taking Seth McFarlane out of Family Guy… I’m outraged and hope this is a joke.”
“ohhh geeeeez ☹️😳” another user responded.
“Thank goodness.” yet another user tweeted. “ Hate seeing franchises I like ruined by a person. If only Harry Potter could get away from JK.”
Some members of the conversation expressed their disbelief and dismay that outrage was being directed at Adult Swim for canning Roiland and not toward Roiland for the alleged domestic violence. Other users pushed back, saying that it was inappropriate for the company to move forward before Roiland was convicted, arguing for a presumption of innocence
“To be clear, not only is Justin innocent,” Roiland’s attorney T. Edward Welbourn told Deadline. “But 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. We look forward to clearing Justin’s name and helping him move forward as swiftly as possible.”
Roiland pleaded not guilty to the charges in October 2020. No trial date has been set but Roiland will be required to attend a hearing on April 27th.