In January, Adult Swim announced that it had cut ties with Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland and would be recasting his voice roles on the show.
The network’s decision arrived less than two weeks after NBC News first reported on Jan. 12 that Roiland had been charged with felony domestic violence in Orange County, Calif., in connection with a January 2020 incident involving an unnamed woman he was dating at the time. The news broke the same day that Roiland appeared in court for a pre-trial hearing in the case.
“Adult Swim has ended its association with Justin Roiland,” Marie Moore, senior vice president of communications for Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults, and Classics division, said in a statement on Jan. 24, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Now, the charges have been dismissed and Roiland is speaking out against being “canceled.”
What charges was Justin Roiland facing?
Roiland was charged in 2020 with one count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, or deceit following an alleged incident that year with an anonymous Jane Doe whom he was dating, according to a criminal complaint filed in May 2020 by the Orange County District Attorney. He was arrested and released on a $50,000 bond in August 2020 and arraigned in October 2020. A protective order was also filed in October 2020 that prevents Roiland from going within 100 feet of the alleged victim.
Roiland pled not guilty and, in a statement, his attorney T. Edward Welbourn called the media coverage of the case “inaccurate.”
“To be clear, not only is Justin innocent but we also have every expectation that this matter is on course to be dismissed once the District Attorney’s office has completed its methodical review of the evidence,” Welbourn said. “We look forward to clearing Justin’s name and helping him move forward as swiftly as possible.”
In the days following the Jan. 12 hearing, multiple people came forward on social media with additional allegations of abuse—including predatory behavior toward minors—against Roiland.
Why were Justin Roiland’s charges dropped?
On March 22, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office dropped the domestic violence charges against Roiland. “We dismissed the charges today as a result of having insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Kimberly Edds, a spokeswoman for the Orange County DA’s office, said in a statement.
Roiland also shared his own statement on social media, writing that he has “always known that these claims were false” and that he’s “grateful that this case has been dismissed.”
“I’m still deeply shaken by the horrible lies that were reported about me during this process,” he wrote. “Most of all, I’m disappointed that so many people were so quick to judge without knowing the facts, based solely on the word of an embittered ex trying to bypass due process and have me ‘canceled.’ That it may have succeeded, even partially, is shameful.”
How have Justin Roiland’s charges impacted the future of Rick and Morty?
As a co-creator, executive producer, and star voice actor of Rick and Morty, Roiland has played a significant role in the massively popular series. The show’s sixth season, which brought in an average of 560,000 live viewers per episode, concluded in December 2022, and a seventh season is already on the way as part of a long-term deal for 70 new episodes commissioned by Adult Swim in 2018.
Now, Roiland’s voice roles, including those of the titular Rick and Morty, will reportedly be recast as the series, which is booked through season 10, moves forward. Roiland’s fellow co-creator, Dan Harmon, will be the lone showrunner.
In the wake of Adult Swim’s decision, Hulu also dropped Roiland from his two ongoing projects with the streamer, the animated comedy series Solar Opposites, which was renewed for a fifth season in October, and Koala Man, which debuted Jan. 9. Both shows will continue without Roiland’s involvement.
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