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Rick and Morty and Community creator publicly apologises for harassing former colleague

Writer and producer Dan Harmon issued the public apology after being called out on social media by his former colleague, the writer Megan Ganz.

THE CREATOR OF popular US TV shows Rick and Morty and Community has publicly apologised for harassing a former colleague while he worked with her.

Writer and producer Dan Harmon issued the public apology after being called out on social media by his former colleague, the writer Megan Ganz.

Harmon had been Ganz’s boss while she worked on the popular US sitcom Community.

Ganz responded to a tweet last week from Harmon where he said 2017 was “The Year of the Asshole. Myself included”.

She asked him to be more specific.

What followed was a public back and forth between the two on Twitter, where Harmon said he was “filled with regret and a lot of foggy memories about abusing my position, treating you like garbage”.

“I would feel a lot of relief if you told me there was a way to fix it. I’ll let you call the shots. Til then, at least know I know I was an awful boss and a selfish baby,” he said.

Ganz responded that Harmon should “figure out to give me some relief and I’ll return the favour”.

Following from this, Harmon spoke and publicly apologised on his podcast Harmontown yesterday about what had happened, saying that he wanted to be “part of the solution and not the problem”.

The apology 

Speaking on the podcast, Harmon explained what had happened while the pair worked on Community together.

(You can listen to the full account here, from about 18 minutes in)

After a disclaimer, he launched into a long account of what had happened and gave an apology. He didn’t name Ganz directly.

“The most clinical way I can put it in fessing up to my crimes is that I was attracted to a writer I had power over because I was a show runner and I knew enough to know that these feelings were bad news,” he said.

He said he did the “cowardly, easiest, laziest thing you can do with feelings like that and didn’t deal with them”, and that by not dealing with them he made the writer deal with them.

“Flirty, creepy, everything other than overt enough to constitute betraying your live-in girlfriend who you’re going home to every night…” he said.

He said that he lied to himself, his girlfriend and everyone else about what he was feeling, and why he was giving the writer so much extra attention.

“And so that’s what I continued to do telling myself and anybody that threatened to confront me with it that if you thought what I was doing was creepy or sexist or unprofessional it was because you were the sexist or jealous,” he said.

I was supporting this person, I’m a mentor, I’m a feminist, it’s your problem, not mine. You’re the one who actually is seeing things through that lens.

He said it was communicated to him multiple times that he was being inappropriate with the writer and “divesting her of a recourse to integrity”.

He said he then broke up with his girlfriend, who he had “lied to entire time, while lying to myself”, and then his behaviour got worse.

“I broke up with my girlfriend and then I went right full steam into creeping on my employee. Now it was even less appropriate, after all,” he said.

“Now I wasn’t in danger of being a bad person. After that season, I got overt about my feelings after it wrapped.

I said ‘I love you,’ and she said the same thing she had been saying the entire time, in one language or another: ‘Please, don’t you understand that focusing on me like this, preferring me like this, liking me like this, I can’t say no to it and when you do it, it makes me unable to know whether I’m good at my job.’

“Humiliated”

“And because I finally got to the point where I said to her ‘I love you’ because that’s what I thought it was, when you target somebody for two years. And it was therefore rejected that way, I was humiliated,” Harmon said.

He said that after that he continued to do the cowardly thing and now “wanted to teach her a lesson”.

He said he treated her badly at this point, “and that was probably the darkest of it all”.

“I’m going to assume when she tweets about it and refers to ‘trauma’ that’s probably it,” said.

Just treated her cruelly, pointedly, things I would never, ever would have done if she had been male and if I had never had those feelings for her.

He said he lost his job and ruined the show over what he had done to Ganz.

And I moved on. I’ve never done it before and I will never do it again, but I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it if I had any respect for women.

He said that he had fundamentally thought of women “as different creatures” and that following what had happened he had gotten away with it by “not thinking about it”.

“And if she hadn’t mentioned something on Twitter, I would have continued to not have to think about it, although I did walk around with my stomach in knots about it, but I wouldn’t have had to talk about it,” Harmon said.

He said that it was important to “think about it” and that he hoped society could “get to a better place where that stuff doesn’t happen”.

“So that’s it. Please don’t hurt her. Please don’t make this worse on anybody but me,” he said.

Response

Ganz responded on Twitter, accepting Harmon’s apology.

“I find myself in the odd position of having requested an apology publicly, and then having received one—a good one—also publicly,” she said.

He’s not rationalising or justifying or making excuses. He doesn’t just vaguely acknowledge some general wrongdoing in the past. He gives a full account.

She said she didn’t expect “the relief I’d feel just hearing him say these things actually happened”.

“This was never about vengeance; it’s about vindication.

Because if any part of this process should be done in the light, it’s the forgiveness part. And so, @danharmon, I forgive you.

Following working on Community, Ganz has gone on to write for Modern Family, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and other shows.

Read: Actor Catherine Deneuve under fire for signing open letter denouncing #MeToo movement

Read: Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis accused of rape and sexual assault

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About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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