My Reaction to the Justin Roiland Controversy
Last week, NBC News reported that Justin Roiland, co-creator of Rick and Morty, appeared before the district court in Orange County, California, for a pre-trial hearing. According to the report, Justin faces felony charges relating to an incident from January, 2020, with a criminal complaint case being filed in May of that year. The alleged incident and complaint charge Justin Roiland with felony domestic violence, along with false imprisonment, involving a woman he was dating at the time. He was arrested later that year and released on bail.
While no trial date has been set at the time of this writing, the news that the co-creator of Rick and Morty was facing criminal charges sent the Internet into a frenzy. While I have kept my head out of the ensuing flame war thus far, what I have seen isn’t very encouraging. Fans seem split, unsure thus far about whether Justin is guilty or not. Some are more concerned at how this is the first the public’s heard about this. In addition, many fans are worried about the future of shows like Rick and Morty and Solar Opposites. Justin’s their co-creator and plays the main characters on both. If found guilty and sent to prison, Adult Swim and Hulu could either replace his role’s with someone else or drop the show’s altogether.
The Leaked DMs Make Things Worse
To make matters worse, this week, screenshots of supposed DMs between Justin and a minor surfaced on Twitter. The DMs depict Justin messaging a teenage girl and using incredibly vulgar and offensive words and phrases.
Not helping matters is Kotaku’s report that Justin’s gaming studio, Squanch Games, was sued by a former employee for sexual harassment. While Justin himself was not involved, his status as CEO means he’ll still get the flak for it.
I went on Twitter to look at fan reactions to these further allegations, and the results are not good. Many fans are disgusted with Justin Roiland and plan to turn their backs on his shows. Some have even brought up the very real possibility that Adult Swim and Hulu could either cancel or choose not to renew Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites, and Koala Man. With Rick and Morty having recently finished its best season in years, the time couldn’t be worse.
What Do I Think?
What do I think about all of this, though? I have been a fan of Justin Roiland for years, ever since I first heard him play the Earl of Lemongrab back on Adventure Time. I love Rick and Morty and think its one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and Justin is hilarious as the titular duo. So, it begs the question: how do I feel about these accusations? Truth be told, I don’t know.
I don’t know enough about what’s happening, as this story only broke a week ago. More details will likely surface in the coming months, and I know that many fans will be paying attention to them, myself included. As we learn more, I’ll be able to form a better opinion on what’s going on. However, at the moment, I feel disappointed and sorry. I am disappointed that Justin might be the latest show creator to do stupid stuff like this. I’ve lost all respect for him if this is true.
More than that, though, I feel bad for the people who work on his projects. The people who work on things like Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites, and High on Life are all talented individuals who worked hard to entertain us over the years. Thanks to this scandal, though, the future of their work could be in doubt. They shouldn’t have to waste years of their lives because of the mistake of someone else like this. I want these shows to continue, but if they get dropped, I hope the people who work on them can continue working in the industry if they wish to. At least they deserve that much.
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