Dan Harmon, co-creator of the Adult Swim animated cartoon Rick and Morty, is the latest Hollywood star to be called out for something dumb he posted online years ago. In this case, Harmon apologized after a 2009 comedy sketch resurfaced in which he plays a baby-rapist.
The sketch was the second and final installment in a series called Daryl, which was supposed to be a spoof of Showtime's Dexter. It shows Harmon simulating sex with a baby doll. The video's existence hasn't been a secret over the last nine years, but no one really paid much attention to it, and Harmon went on to achieve mainstream success—first with NBC's Community and later with Rick and Morty.
But the skit received widespread attention this week. Polygon reports that discussion about the video spread across 4chan—a forum not ordinarily known for delicate sensibilities when it comes to offensive comedy—and the story was eventually picked up by a popular right-wing subreddit called The_Donald. Soon, far-right provocateurs such as Mike Cernovich and Ethan Ralph were telling their Twitter followers about it as well.
Harmon was quick to apologize for the sketch. "In 2009, I made a 'pilot' which strove to parody the series 'Dexter' and only succeeded in offending," he said in a statement today. "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." Harmon also deleted his Twitter account.
Adult Swim has condemned the video but said it accepted Harmon's apology. "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," the network said.
It doesn't look like Harmon's career will sustain as much damage as that of James Gunn, director of the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Like Harmon, Gunn made some disgusting pedophilia-themed jokes years ago; as with Harmon, right-wing trolls gleefully sounded the alarm years later. But Gunn was fired and Harmon wasn't.
As I wrote yesterday, these crusades are nothing more than acts of retaliation against the left (Gunn and Harmon are both anti-Trump liberals), perpetrated by far-right hypocrites who are just as committed to weaponizing P.C. culture as anyone on the other side of the spectrum.