Justin Roiland, “Rick and Morty” co-creator and star, has been accused of sexual assault.
In the wake of the 2013 debut of Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty,” co-creator Justin Roiland emerged as a towering figure in the animation and video game industry. He became a cultural icon among the youth, and his distinctive artistic style found its way into cannabis culture. Roiland’s career expanded beyond the show, encompassing the production of other animated series, the creation of NFTs, and leadership in a virtual reality gaming studio. Notably, in 2017, a collaboration between “Rick and Morty” and McDonald’s generated such a frenzy that it even led to police intervention at some locations. While a woman who didn’t watch the show reached out to Roiland because of his fame, this encounter would foreshadow a series of disturbing events.
Their initial conversation began with an innocent proposition, “Can we go shopping and have fun, and I’ll give you a fashion show, and we can get coffee and talk!?” To this, Roiland replied positively, suggesting a casual meeting. However, it soon took a troubling turn. Roiland took her to a nearby restaurant and bought her mixed drinks, which left her inebriated. The evening continued with shopping, where Roiland bought her clothes, and eventually, he suggested they go to his hotel room, an offer she accepted. It was in that hotel room that the woman claims Roiland pressured her into performing a sexual act.
In the aftermath, she experienced a whirlwind of emotions, including guilt and shame. She confided in a friend and maintained sporadic contact with Roiland through text messages. Several months later, in June 2019, she confronted Roiland about the incident, highlighting the importance of verbal consent in any intimate encounter. Roiland expressed remorse for his actions, acknowledging his mistake.
However, this disturbing incident is not isolated. Eleven women and nonbinary individuals, interviewed over the span of 2013 to 2022, revealed similar encounters with Roiland, with nine stating that the conversations eventually turned sexual. Shockingly, three of these individuals were only 16 when their exchanges with Roiland began. To substantiate their claims, these accusers provided extensive evidence, including text messages, pictures, videos, and receipts.
Roiland often engaged with fans on social media and dating apps, complimenting them, inquiring about their ages and backgrounds, and occasionally delving into questions about their sexual orientations. He would then propose meetings, sometimes offering to cover expenses. Some encounters ended in allegations of sexual assault, with one woman recounting a Tinder date where she claims Roiland forced her into performing a sexual act against her will. Another woman accepted Roiland’s offer to fly her to Los Angeles, an experience that she believes took advantage of her, given the power dynamics and alcohol involved.
These women, both 20 years old at the time, remain anonymous due to fears of professional repercussions. They presented evidence, including text messages where Roiland apologized for his behavior, particularly for not obtaining verbal consent.
Roiland’s troubles escalated when news of his legal issues emerged in January. Although the charges of felony domestic battery and false imprisonment were eventually dropped in March, they significantly affected his career. Adult Swim and Disney’s 20th Television Animation distanced themselves from him, recasting his roles in “Rick and Morty” and other projects. Roiland also resigned from his video-game studio, Squanch Games.
Screenshots of explicit conversations with fans, purportedly involving Roiland, circulated online, with two individuals alleging that he messaged them when they were 16. Janna Waters, one of the people who shared screenshots of their conversations, started talking to Roiland when they were 16, emphasizing the discomfort of such an age gap.
One incident that emerged involved Roiland reaching out to a 20-year-old woman on Tinder while in Boston for a gaming convention in 2019. The messages began humorously, referencing his “Rick and Morty” character’s voice. However, the encounter reportedly took a disturbing turn.
These allegations and accusations have cast a dark shadow over Justin Roiland’s career, leaving fans and the entertainment industry grappling with the fallout.