Dan Harmon apologized Monday for a decades-old video that caused an online furor because it portrayed pedophilia.
“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,” he said in a statement obtained by TheWrap Monday night.
Adult Swim, the network that airs Harmon’s hit animated series, “Rick and Morty,” also released a statement, saying: “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.
“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.”
Some conservatives, most notably right-wing provocateur Mike Cernovich, fueled online outrage over the 2009 sketch “Daryl,” a parody of Showtime’s “Dexter.” The “Rick and Morty” and “Community” creator left Twitter after the emergence of the sketch, in which he plays a therapist who sexually assaults babies.
In the skit, created in the same year Harmon’s show “Community” debuted on NBC, Harmon makes the deadpan, joking assertion that he has shot a pilot for Showtime. He then presents footage in which his character Daryl (who speaks in a “Dexter”-style voiceover) prescribes sleeping pills to a patient so that Daryl can sneak into the man’s home and rape his newborn baby, which is played by a doll. Later, Harmon’s character sexually assaults another baby — again, a doll.
Harmon attended a live taping of his “Harmontown” podcast at the the Hayworth Theatre Dynasty Typewriter in Los Angeles on Monday night, but at time of publication he had not mentioned the matter.
The “Daryl” sketch was originally posted on Channel 101, Harmon’s monthly short-film competition for sketch comedy.
Channel 101 is designed to parody the way studios make TV: Participants shoot five-minute “pilots” that the audience votes on. The Top 5 shows are “renewed” for another episode the following month. One example of success from the festival is “Yacht Rock.”
The video resurfaced recently as part of a coordinated online campaign against left-leaning figures on Twitter. Last week, James Gunn lost his job directing the next “Guardians of the Galaxy” film after Cernovich and others flagged his old Twitter jokes about pedophilia and rape.
The conservatives pointing out the old jokes say that liberals should be held to the same standards as conservatives who are ousted over offensive remarks. But critics of the effort say there’s a difference between old jokes that were deliberately designed to offend and public statements made in apparent seriousness.