John Kricfalusi, creator of the Ren & Stimpy cartoon series, has been officially accused of being a predatory sexual molester of underage girls.
According to BuzzFeed News, teenagers Robyn Byrd and Katie Rice—who were huge fans of the show and animation in general—were initially charmed by Kricfalusi’s success and interest in them. Though Kricfalusi's inappropriate link to underage girls was well known within the Los Angeles animation circle, Byrd and Rice’s accounts mark the first time Kricfalusi has been officially accused, BuzzFeed reports.
The two teenage girls alleged he used their adoration to his advantage. He told Byrd she could become a great artist. Eventually, he flew her out to his Spumco animation studio in Los Angeles, and ultimately, took her to his home. “I thought I was still his little cute friend,” Byrd said. During a visit to Kricfalusi’s home, he allegedly touched her genitals through her pajama pants, leaving her shocked. She was 16 years old at the time.
Byrd reportedly took another trip to L.A. after this initial incident. She then lived with Kricfalusi during summer before her senior year of high school, working as an intern at Spumco. She eventually moved in permanently with him following her graduation. Tony Mora, an art director at Warner Bros. who worked with Kricfalusi , says he was shown a series of photographs that disturbed him. "And then he pulled out these Polaroids of Robyn basically — how can you say it? — going down on him," said Mora. "He’s like, ‘What do you think of that?"
Howard Stern, while doing an interview, referenced Kricfalusi’s Sody Pop character, calling her “a hot chick with big cans and nice legs.” Kricfalusi reportedly grinned, and added, “She’s underage, too.”
The BuzzFeed piece also includes a statement from the animator’s attorney. The statement essentially excuses the the behavior by claiming that the 1990s “were a time of real mental and emotional fragility for Mr. Kricfalusi,” and that while “he had a 16-year-old girlfriend,” it was the pain of losing the reins to his TV show that caused this illegal behavior.
Katie Rice, who says she was never physically assaulted by him, claims she suffered sexual harassment. In one late night call Kricfalusi made to Rice, he reportedly said, “Repeat after me: John’s dick slides in my puzzy.” By the way, the spelling of that last word is how Kricfalusi allegedly wanted Rice to pronounce it. He also allegedly wrote her things like, “I bet you’ll be up to no good. Just like me,” would masturbate while on the phone with her, and asked her, “Do I ever make you tingle?” In an email, he allegedly told her, “I’m thinking about you very hard right now. And I have a little tickle in my chest.” She was 15.
Rice wrote in her diary, “I think this 40 year old man is hitting on me. But he’s never perverted. He is also very nice. He gives me a lot of drawing tips.”
A spokesperson for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim stated that “harassment will not be tolerated,” and the Paramount Network assured BuzzFeed that it has “specific policies and procedures to ensure our employees feel empowered to report inappropriate behavior.” No legal action against Kricfalusi has been initiated.
In light of numerous cases of sexual misconduct coming to light, Robyn Byrd remarked: “I know a lot of people struggle with the ‘art vs. artist’ thing, and I get it. Like, I love Rosemary’s Baby. But would I watch another movie that he made, knowing what I know now? I would say no, I don’t want to watch it. I don’t want any part of that. There’s nice people you can hire. There’s nice people who can make things, there’s nice people who make cartoons. … They’re just as fucking good.”