This week, a variety of organizations cut ties with Justin Roiland following the revelation that he was being charged with domestic abuse. The news potentially changes the direction of several projects, including the future of his most high-profile project Rick and Morty. However, studios have responded to the departure, but it is just the beginning of the story.
Domestic abuse in 2020
The charges come from an incident with an anonymous woman in January 2020. Charges were filed in May of the same year. He was charged with one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, and/or deceit.
Several pre-trial hearings have occurred and the case is set to land back in court on April 27 of this year. Clearly, a lot of people had hoped that evidence presented in pre-trial hearings would dismiss the case or exonerate Roiland. As that has not happened, various organizations have had to make difficult decisions about the future of their intellectual properties.
Three organizations have ended their relationship with Roiland. The first was Squanch Games, the videogame studio that he co-founded. The studio recently released High on Life, which features Roiland's voicing a character that sounds suspiciously like Rick. Roiland resigned last week from the company, likely in anticipation of the troubles ahead. The company didn't announce it until late on Tuesday.
Next, Adult Swim announced that they had ended their relationship with Roiland, as well. Roiland was the co-creator of the immensely popular Rick and Morty, served as an executive producer and voiced both of the titular characters. Adult Swim, the network on which the series airs in the US, has said that the series will continue with new voice actors being brought in, and Dan Harmon helming the ship solo.
Following these announcements, Hulu also announced that they were ending their relationship with Roiland. He has served as co-creator of Solar Opposites and also voices one of the characters, again sounding suspiciously like Rick. It appears that Roiland associated most with the self-destructive sociopath enough to do that voice for nearly everything. Currently, plans for the future of the show are unknown.
Since the announcements of his resignations and firings, additional accusations have come forward. While normally the policy should be to wait for proof, these allegations come along with receipts in the form of screenshots. The new accusations revolve around messages sent to females of various ages on social media.
One comes from Allie Goertz, a musician who publishes music on YouTube under the name Cossbysweater, a seemingly ironic name for the story that is to come. She claims that Roiland messaged her following her recording of a concept album revolving around Rick and Morty titled Sad Dance Songs. Roiland allegedly asked her to record another song and used some colorful language. She was uncomfortable enough to never watch the show again.
After this revelation, another woman came forward and claimed that Roiland had messaged her when she was 15 and also used colorful language. In fact, he referred to her specifically as "jailbait" and claimed that she was going to inevitably become a cam girl when she turned 18, suggesting that he knew her age during the discussions.
Now, it's important to note that these accusations have not been proven and no charges appear to have been filed in either of these cases. However, with screenshots to back them up, and the sudden response from all of the studios, it might just be true.