Adult Swim drops 'Rick and Morty' co-creator after abuse charges
Entertainment companies are severing ties with Justin Roiland, who co-created the popular animated series "Rick and Morty," following recent media reports that he is awaiting trial for 2020 domestic abuse charges.
Adult Swim said Tuesday that it had "ended its association" with Roiland.
"We can confirm the show will continue without his involvement," a spokesperson for the cable channel said in a statement to The Washington Post.
About two hours after the Adult Swim announcement, Squanch Games said Roiland had resigned from the video game studio he co-founded in 2016.
Roiland is part of the duo that masterminded "Rick and Morty" - a sci-fi comedy series that follows the multiverse-hopping adventures of reckless, and slightly sociopathic, genius Rick Sanchez and his chronically anxious grandson Morty Smith. The 42-year-old Roiland - who has also voiced roles in animated shows including "Adventure Time," "Fish Hooks" and "Gravity Falls" - lent his voice to both titular characters in "Rick and Morty," which will cast new voice actors for the show's upcoming seasons, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Roiland was arrested in August 2020 - some seven months after an alleged domestic violence incident involving an unnamed woman, according to court records. He was released after posting a $50,000 bond and, two months later, pleaded not guilty to one felony count of domestic corporal injury and one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, fraud, violence or deceit, records show.
A case summary shows at least a dozen pretrial hearings have been held since January 2021, but the charges against Roiland went unreported by the media until NBC News published a story earlier this month.
T. Edward Welbourn, Roiland's attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post on Tuesday night. Welbourn told Rolling Stone that he looked forward "to clearing Justin's name and helping him move forward as swiftly as possible."
"It is hard to overstate how inaccurate the recent media coverage of this situation has been," Welbourn told the outlet. "To be clear, not only is Justin innocent 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."
Roiland's next pretrial hearing is scheduled for April 27.
Since the allegations against Roiland were made public, "Rick and Morty" fans have wondered what would happen to an animated sitcom that has not only raked up multiple Emmy awards and nominations, and broken viewership records since it premiered in 2013, but also caught the millennial zeitgeist while doing so - injecting phrases like "wubba lubba dub dub" into everyday lexicon and even sparking a saucy controversy at McDonald's.
"Rest assured, 'Rick and Morty' will continue and is already well underway on production for [Season 7]," Adult Swim's spokesperson added in the statement.
The future of Roiland's other projects is unclear. He created "Solar Opposites," an animated comedy that Hulu recently renewed for a fifth season, and produces "Koala Man," which streams on the platform and stars Hugh Jackman.
Hulu did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Post.