Rick and Morty’s writers’ room recently made a move towards gender balance and away from boys club, and the results so far in the show’s long-awaited third season have been superlative. But as EW points out, after the season’s second and third episodes, “Rickmancing the Stone” and “Pickle Rick,” were credited to female Rick and Morty writers Jane Becker and Jessica Gao, respectively, both scribes were attacked on Twitter and doxxed by angry, misogynistic fans.
Show co-creator Dan Harmon spoke to EW about this awfulness, and did not hold back in condemning the trolls, calling their behavior “disgusting.” “I’m on a Twitter sabbatical, so the last thing I saw about that was [the Reddit thread detailing the harassment], and I’ve seen the tweets they’ve sent to the female writer,” Harmon told EW. “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 continued, pulling no punches in his assessment of this unfortunate subset of his show’s fan base:
“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 fucking 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 also pointed out that these trolls are operating under a fundamental misunderstanding of how TV writing happens:
“It’s total ignorance of how writing a television show works. It’s frustrating enough having run Community for several years to see threads like, ‘Oh well, it makes sense this episode was written by Andy Bobrow because when Hilary Winston wrote her episode she tends to linger more on dialogue and Andy is better at the I-want-to-hold-you moments.’ And I want to scream at my computer: ‘You idiots, we all write the show together!’ If you can tell the difference between one writer and another on a show I’m running I’ve probably gotten so lazy that it hasn’t all been blended and refined in the usual process. The reason one person’s name goes on an episode is that someone has to and everyone deserves one of those times at bat where they have to do all the grunt work—they have to do all the outlining, sometimes, if they’re willing to, they can expand into the post-production process. There’s a bunch of reasons why we don’t accurately reflect how many writers contribute to each episode in the credits.”
Rick and Morty, for whatever reason, tends to inspire a great deal of fan entitlement. Whether it’s fans thinking they have the right to harass Harmon and Justin Roiland on Twitter (“Where’s season three?!”) or thinking it’s okay to terrorize the show’s female writers simply for being women, the show certainly does, as Harmon acknowledges, attract a particularly virulent strain of asshole. It’s nice to see Harmon step up and speak out against this kind of garbage person.
Rick and Morty airs Sundays at 11:30 p.m. EDT on Adult Swim. Read our review of the latest episode here, and go inside Gao’s excellent “Pickle Rick” with an Adult Swim featurette here.