A decade ago, Byrd says, she reconnected with an artist she had first met through Kricfalusi: Katie Rice, who says the “Ren and Stimpy” creator began hitting on her when she was a minor. He offered her a job in 2000, when she was 18, and then began sexually harassing her, she told BuzzFeed.
Both women reportedly have documents, transcripts of online conversations and witnesses to support their claims. Meanwhile, a lawyer representing Kricfalusi, 62, responded to a list of allegations against him — including sexual harassment, statutory rape and possession of child pornography — with this statement to BuzzFeed:
“The 1990s were a time of mental and emotional fragility for Mr. Kricfalusi, especially after losing ‘Ren and Stimpy,’ his most prized creation. For a brief time, 25 years ago, he had a 16-year-old girlfriend. Over the years John struggled with what were eventually diagnosed mental illnesses in 2008. To that point, for nearly three decades he had relied primarily on alcohol to self-medicate. Since that time he has worked feverishly on his mental health issues, and has been successful in stabilizing his life over the last decade. This achievement has allowed John the opportunity to grow and mature in ways he’d never had a chance at before.”
Nickelodeon fired Kricfalusi in 1992, prior to when Byrd and Rice said they were preyed upon by him. The network declined to comment on the article.
Launched more than a quarter-century ago by Krisfalusi, who directed the first couple of seasons, “The Ren and Stimpy Show” marked a distinct turn toward the surreal in mainstream TV animation, serving as a bizarre blender of hilarity, grotesquerie and camera-winking high jinks that influenced such next-generation shows as “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Adventure Time.”
Kricfalusi is not the only prominent animation creator with a scandal. Last October, Nickelodeon fired “The Loud House” showrunner Chris Savino over allegations of sexual misconduct and threats of retribution made by at least a dozen women, as first reported by Cartoon Brew. Savino apologized for his actions that “created an unacceptable environment.”
Last November, Pixar co-founder and Disney Animation chief John Lasseter began a leave of absence, as first reported by Variety, after he was accused of inappropriate workplace conduct, including unwanted touching. Lasseter said he would return after a six-month sabbatical.