‘Ren & Stimpy’ Creator John Kricfalusi Accused of Preying on and Sexually Abusing Underage Girls, Possessing Child Porn

kricfalusiToday, Buzzfeed published a very tough-to-read piece titled “The Disturbing Secret Behind An Iconic Cartoon” that details what’s reportedly been an “open secret” in the animation world for decades: John Kricfalusi, the creator of Nickelodeon’s animated series Ren & Stimpy and founder of animation studio Spumco, has been publicly accused of preying on, grooming, and sexually abusing/harassing underage girls for years, particularly young aspiring animators who were fans of Kricfalusi’s work and had looked up to him as a creative mentor. Two women, Robyn Byrd and Katie Rice, spoke to Buzzfeed on the record about the horrific treatment they received from Kricfalusi while he pursued them sexually as minors, and the allegations include sexual harassment, statutory rape, taking sexually explicit photos of one of them and sharing them with Spumco employees, and storing child porn on his computer. Here’s an excerpt, where Byrd shares just one of her many accounts about Kricfalusi:

Soon, she said, she began receiving boxes of toys and art supplies from 39-year-old Kricfalusi, better known as John K. He helped her get her first AOL account, through which he convinced her he could help her become a great artist. He visited her at the trailer park where she lived in Tucson, Arizona. “I thought I was still his little cute friend,” she said. And then, when she was still in 11th grade, he flew her to Los Angeles to show her his studio and talk about her future. She said that on the same trip, in a room with a sliding glass door that led to his pool, he touched her genitals through her pajamas as she lay frozen on a blanket he’d placed on the floor. She was 16.

Here’s another excerpt from Rice, who says she never had a sexual relationship with Kricfalusi but had been sexually harassed by him since she was a minor and later worked for him at Spumco:

Rice said the sexual harassment got worse when she worked from Kricfalusi’s home office, particularly when they were working on a music video commissioned by “Weird Al” Yankovic. (The musician said he was not aware of any of the behavior described in this story and declined to comment further.) In an email reviewed by BuzzFeed News, Rice told Byrd in 2008 that Kricfalusi “was doing all sorts of bizarre stuff- waiting naked in his living room for when I let myself into his house to work in the morning, walking around with his weiner hanging out of his pants, telling me that his friend’s advice to ‘get’ me was to just rape me one day.”

Through an attorney, Kricfalusi denied exposing himself to Rice, and said that the rape comment was just a joke.

An attorney released the below statement to Buzzfeed on Kricfalusi’s behalf:

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.”

The Buzzfeed report sheds a light not just on Kricfalusi’s years of sexual misconduct but the long-term ramifications that predators like Kricfalusi, not to mention all the employees who were aware of his behavior but looked the other way, have on young women just trying to break into an industry. “I just kind of got swept up in the whole thing,” Byrd told Buzzfeed, saying that as a teen, she just thought that having sex with Kricfalusi was something “I was supposed to do as an adult woman.” Rice echoed Byrd’s sentiment, telling Buzzfeed, “I know what everybody’s gonna say: Why didn’t you just leave? Well, because this asshole told me when I was 13 that I was special, and I don’t have any self-esteem, so I believe it.” Read the full report here.

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