‘Ren & Stimpy’ Creator Accused of Sexual Misconduct With Teenagers in the 1990s

‘Ren & Stimpy’ Creator Accused of Sexual Misconduct With Teenagers in the 1990s


“Ren & Stimpy,” one of Nickelodeon’s first original shows, ran for five seasons between 1991 and 1995, though Mr. Kricfalusi, who worked as its producer and director, left the show in 1992. (In 2014, he denied having been fired.)

With its edgy sense of humor, the show pushed the limits of what could be considered children’s television. It went on to influence the creators of proudly politically incorrect cartoons including “South Park” and “Rick and Morty.”

Mr. Kricfalusi did not answer phone calls seeking comment. A lawyer speaking on his behalf, Daniel R. Perlman, gave a statement in response to BuzzFeed.

“The 1990s were a time of mental and emotional fragility for Mr. Kricfalusi, especially after losing ‘Ren & Stimpy,’ his most prized creation,” the statement said. “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.”

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Mr. Kricfalusi and Ms. Byrd in Los Angeles in 1999. The two were living together at that point, while Ms. Byrd worked at Mr. Kricfalusi’s animation studio.

Mr. Perlman did not immediately respond to further questions about discrepancies between the timeline offered by his statement and the accounts of Ms. Byrd and Ms. Rice.

A spokeswoman for Nickelodeon declined to comment when asked about the allegations against Mr. Kricfalusi.

In an interview on Monday, Ms. Byrd said she expected more women to come forward with claims about Mr. Kricfalusi. She and Ms. Rice were introduced to each other by Mr. Kricfalusi, who, Ms. Byrd said, later fostered a rivalry between them.

“He pitted us against each other and we hated each other,” she said. “It’s funny — I was only 19, but I thought, ‘He’s replacing me with a younger woman.’”

Ms. Rice agreed in a separate interview, saying, “We probably would have been best friends but he decided to make it a contest instead and played us against each other.”

But six years after Ms. Byrd left the animator for good, she and Ms. Rice began to correspond. They became friends, and when Ms. Rice was approached by BuzzFeed, she and Ms. Byrd deliberated for several months before deciding to go on the record about Mr. Kricfalusi, she said.

“We have to do this,” Ms. Byrd recalled telling Ms. Rice. “Get your courage up. We’re just going to hold hands and jump off the cliff together.”

Until Friday morning there were two pictures of Mr. Kricfalusi hanging in Nickelodeon’s West Coast office in Burbank, Calif., including a portrait and a fabric banner that included an image of his face, according to a person at the network who was not authorized to speak. They were both taken down on Friday.

Ms. Byrd said Monday that the publication of the BuzzFeed article had offered her a remarkable sense of catharsis and that she had received support from many people online. Her therapist has encouraged her to start drawing again, and she has set up a Patreon so that her supporters can help her to pursue a craft she had thought she would never take up again.

“That was going to be my career and I just ran away in 2002,” she said. “But now this is happening.”



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