Rick & Morty co-creator Dan Harmon is hitting back at a particularly toxic portion of the hit Adult Swim show's fan base that has targeted the show's female writers for harassment online.
Rick & Morty's third season is enjoying the best reviews of its already critically lauded run, striking the perfect balance between complex, high-minded science fiction concepts and weird, scatological laughs. It's Adult Swim's biggest original hit in many years, but a sadly predictable issue has come up behind the scenes.
The show made an effort to make its writers' room more gender-balanced for the third season, and new writers Jane Becker and Jessica Gao have been the targets of some ugly harassment on Twitter from a certain segment of the show's fans. In an interview with EW, Dan Harmon condemns the attackers, lamenting what women in the entertainment industry are often forced to endure.
“I was familiar going into the third season, having talked to Felicia Day, that any high-profile women get doxxed, they get harassed, they get threatened, they get slandered. And part of it is a testosterone-based subculture patting themselves on the back for trolling these women. Because to the extent that you get can get a girl to shriek about a frog you’ve proven girls are girly and there’s no crime in assaulting her with a frog because it’s all in the name of proving something. I think it’s all disgusting.”
Harmon goes on to further express his repulsion at people trying to co-opt his show as some sort of bastion of white male identity.
“These knobs, that want to protect the content they think they own — and somehow combine that with their need to be proud of something they have, which is often only their race or gender. It’s offensive to me as someone who was born male and white, and still works way harder than them, that there’s some white male [fan out there] trying to further some creepy agenda by ‘protecting’ my work. I’ve made no bones about the fact that I loathe these people. It f—ing sucks. And the only thing I can say is if you’re lucky enough to make a show that is really good that people like, that means some bad people are going to like it too. You can’t just insist that everybody who watches your show get their head on straight … And I’m speaking for myself — I don’t want the show to have a political stance. But at the same time, individually, these [harassers] aren’t politicians and don’t represent politics. They represent some shit that I probably believed when I was 15.”
Harmon notes his female writers faced this same issue when he was running NBC's Community, and that it's not only misogynistic, but also exhibits a fundamental misunderstanding of how TV shows are written.
It's essentially impossible for a show to determine what sort of people make up its fan base, but it's good that Harmon is pushing back against this sort of behavior.
Rick & Morty season 3 airs Sundays at 11:30PM on Adult Swim.