Dan Harmon, co-creator of Rick and Morty and creator of Community, has admitted to sexually harassing to ex-employee Megan Ganz on his podcast, Harmontown. Ganz was a writer for Community when Harmon was still the showrunner. The two have since gone their different ways: Ganz started writing for Modern Family and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, while Harmon worked on Rick and Morty and Harmonquest.
Ganz called attention to the podcast on Twitter, saying “Here’s a weird one for you: Last week, I called out my former boss @danharmon for sexual harassment, and today I’m going to ask you to listen to his podcast.”
— Megan Ganz (@meganganz) January 11, 2018
A few days prior, Ganz quoted Harmon’s tweet with a confrontational question. “Care to be more specific?”
Care to be more specific? Redemption follows allocution. https://t.co/THKaqaF3dN
— Megan Ganz (@meganganz) January 2, 2018
Harmon responded with a seven minute confession in his podcast. You can read the whole confession here (You can also listen to the whole podcast here.)
“I was attracted to an employee. I really want to be really careful about that language because a huge part of the problem is a culture of feeling things that you think are unique and significant because they are happening to you and saying things like ‘I had feelings for’ and ‘I fell for’ and all these things. 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.
That was easy enough to know. I knew that they ran the risk of undercutting people’s faith in my judgement, her faith in her talent, the other writers’ respect for me, the entire production, the audience. I knew I wasn’t doing anybody any favors by feeling these things and so I did the cowardly, easiest, laziest thing you can do with feelings like that and didn’t deal with them and in not dealing with them I made everybody else deal with them, especially her. Flirty, creepy, everything other than overt enough to constitute betraying your live-in girlfriend who you’re going home to every night, who is actually smart enough and respectful enough to ask you ‘do you have feelings for that young writer that you’re talking about, that you’re paying all this attention to?’ and saying to her ‘no,’ because the trick is if you lie to yourself, you can lie to everybody. It’s really easy
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. 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.
And so I let myself keep doing it and it’s not as if this person didn’t repeatedly communicate to me the idea that what I was doing was divesting her of a recourse to integrity. I just didn’t hear it because it didn’t profit me to hear it, and this was, after all, happening to me, right? After a season of playing it that way, I broke up with my girlfriend, who I had lied to the whole time, while lying to myself. Lied to her about why I was breaking up with her, because I thought that would make having inappropriate feelings for a co-worker appropriate if I wasn’t involved.
I want you to be the one to examine this and every step of the way decide for yourself where I’m making mistakes. I don’t want to explain to you what I’ve learned. I want you to look at this and I want it to sound relatively unremarkable to you, because that’s the danger. 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. 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.’”
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. So, I continued to do the cowardly thing. I continued to do the selfish thing. Now I wanted to teach her a lesson. I wanted to show her that if she didn’t like being liked in that way then, oh boy, she should get over herself. After all, if you’re just going to be a writer then this is how ‘just writers’ get treated. 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. I drank. I took pills. I crushed on her and resented her for not reciprocating it and the entire time I was the one writing her paychecks and in control of whether she stayed or went and whether she felt good about herself or not, and said horrible things. 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.
And I lied to myself the entire time about it. And I lost my job. I ruined my show. I betrayed the audience. I destroyed everything. And I damaged her internal compass. 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. On a fundamental level, I was thinking about them as different creatures. I was thinking about the ones that I liked as having some special role in my life and I did it all by not thinking about it. So, I just want to say, in addition to obviously being sorry, but that’s really not the important thing, I want to say I did it by not thinking about it and I got 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 not 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.
The last and most important thing I can say is just think about it. No matter who you are at work, no matter where you work, in what field you’re in, no matter what position you have over, under, or side by side with somebody, just think about it. Because if you don’t think about it, you’re going to get away with not thinking about it and you can cause a lot of damage that is technically legal and hurts everybody.
And I think we’re living in a good time right now because we’re not gonna to get away with it anymore. If we can make it part of our culture that we think about it and possibly talk about it, then maybe we can 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.
“Ironic that the only person who could give me that comfort is the one person I’d never ask,” Ganz tweeted. During the initial confrontation, Ganz wasn’t ready to forgive Harmon. After the podcast, she’s then changed her mind, calling the apology “a master class in how to apologize.”
This was never about vengeance; it’s about vindication. That’s why it didn’t feel right to just accept his apology in private (although I did that, too). Because if any part of this process should be done in the light, it’s the forgiveness part. And so, @danharmon, I forgive you.
— Megan Ganz (@meganganz) January 11, 2018
If anything, let this be a lesson for sexual transgressors to not just give excuses and acknowledge, but to also “give a full account.” Looking at you, sexual harassers with piss-poor “apologies.”
by Lex Celera
images by Getty images