Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon deleted his Twitter account following the reemergence of a controversial 2009 sketch video -- but it hasn't permanently damaged his relationship with Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
The video, titled Daryl, is a parody of the serial killer drama Dexter. In the video, Harmon breaks into a house and molests a baby doll, making it clear why the video has raised eyebrows across the internet.
Harmon, who created the NBC comedy Community and co-created Adult Swim's wildly successful Rick and Morty animated series, has been no stranger to controversy for both the content of his series and his personal conduct, and it appears that Cartoon Network understands that:
"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," an Adult Swim spokesperson told CNET by email. "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."
Harmon also issued a statement apologizing for the video, which CNET recieved through his representative:
"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. Nobody should ever have to see what you saw and for that, I sincerely apologize," Harmon wrote.
You'd be forgiven for expecting that Harmon might have faced greater consequences. His departure from Twitter comes in the wake of Disney firing Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn for tweets he had made years ago making light of pedophilia and child rape. Adult Swim is admittedly edgier than Disney, but there are definitely some parallels here.
But for many fans, repercussions like the ones Gunn faced seemed too extreme for Harmon's sketch video, which comes as little surprise to them given Harmon's long-established humor. Here are some reactions from earlier today:
Far-right commentator Mike Cernovich joined in on the response, unsurprisingly, given his role in spreading the tweets that prompted Gunn's firing.
Originally published 1:11p.m. PT.
Update, 8:30 p.m. PT: With statements from Dan Harmon and Adult Swim.
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