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.
Do you agree with Adult Swim’s decision not to fire Harmon? Drop a comment below with your thoughts.