Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon will remain employed at Adult Swim, despite the resurfacing of an unsavory comedy sketch that he produced years ago.
The controversial sketch in question came from Harmon’s 2009 pilot Daryl, a spoof of the Showtime drama Dexter. In the video that reappeared online Monday, Harmon’s character attempts to stop serial killers by traveling back in time and sexually assaulting them when they were children. He is seen breaking into a house and appears to simulate rape on a baby doll.
Harmon deleted his Twitter account shortly after the sketch began to circulate, and he released the following apology:
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.”
Adult Swim, which airs Rick and Morty — and recently renewed the popular cartoon for 70 (!) additional episodes — has decided not to fire Harmon, though the network did issue a statement calling the sketch “offensive.”
“At Adult Swim, we seek out and encourage creative freedom and look to push the envelope in many ways, particularly around comedy,” the network said. “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. 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’s imbroglio comes on the heels of similar controversy surrounding James Gunn, who was fired from directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after old tweets of his resurfaced. Gunn has since apologized for the posts — which featured jokes about pedophilia, among other things — and many of his past and present coworkers have urged Disney to rehire him.
Dan Harmon out and about
Dan Harmon out and about
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 20: Dan Harmon attends the screening of '7 Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss By Passing Through The Gateway Chosen By the Holy Storsh' during the Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theatre on April 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 12: Spencer Crittenden (L) and actor/writer Dan Harmon attend the Seeso original screening of 'HarmonQuest' with Dan Harmon at The Virgil on July 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Seeso)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 18: Dan Harmon attends the 2016 Turner Upfront at Nick & Stef's Steakhouse on May 18, 2016 in New York, New York. (Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 12: Erin McGathy (L) and Dan Harmon speak onstage at HarmonQuest during the 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Esther's Follies on March 12, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Heather Kennedy/Getty Images for SXSW)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: (L-R) Ethan Fixell, Dave Ahdoot, actor/comedian Dan Harmon and media executive Evan Shapiro attend the 11th Annual New York Television Festival 'HarmonQuest Live' event at SVA Theater on October 19, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 19: Showrunner Dan Harmon and actress Alia Shawkat attend the Turner Upfront 2016 green room at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Turner)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 15: Writer Dan Harmon speaks onstage at 'The Cast Of 'Community' On Moving To Digital' during 2015 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Austin Convention Center on March 15, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Travis P Ball/Getty Images for SXSW)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Dan Harmon attends The Rick and Morty Press Hour Adult Swim At New York Comic Con 2014 at Jacob Javitz Center on October 10, 2014 in New York City. 24884_010_098.JPG (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/WireImage for Turner Networks)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Writer/performer Dan Harmon attends the Q&A of the screening of 'Harmontown' at The WGA Theater on September 17, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 24: Writer/producer Dan Harmon fixes his hair as he looks at a monitor showing the 'Community' panel during Comic-Con International 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 24, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 16: Dan Harmon attends the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival - 'Harmontown' premiere at LACMA on June 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Araya Diaz/WireImage)