Dan Harmon, the creator/co-creator of Community and Ricky & Morty, has admitted to sexually harassing one of his employees in an episode of his podcast. You can listen to the episode here – the apology and confession begins at the 18:40 mark.
The detailed admission of what happened comes after several weeks of Twitter drama surrounding the matter. Former writer Megan Ganz called Harmon out for sexual harassment on Twitter, which led Harmon to issue a non-specific apology for his behaviour.
Obviously, these tweets suggest some level of misconduct, but neither the callout nor the apology address what actually happened. On this episode of Harmontown, Harmon goes into what happened. He says that though he offered the nonspecific apology on Twitter, other female colleagues pushed him to make a fuller apology which takes into account what transpired between him and Ganz.
Harmon opens his confession by noting that he was “attracted to an employee” and that “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 showrunner and I knew enough to know that these feelings were bad news.”
He says that when communicating with Ganz, he was “flirty, creepy, everything other than overt enough to constitute betraying your live-in girlfriend.”
Harmon admits that on several occasions Ganz told him that his behaviour was making her uncomfortable, he says he didn’t do anything about it. “I just didn’t hear it because it didn’t profit me to hear it, and this was, after all, happening to me, right?”
He ended up breaking up with his girlfriend over his feelings for Ganz, and says that he told her he loved her. When she rejected him, he confesses that his behaviour became worse:
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.
Harmon admits that much of what he did came from a certain level of disrespect towards women. “On a fundamental level, I was thinking about them as different creatures,” he said. “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.”
He ends his apology by imploring men to think about the consequences of being attracted to colleagues and co-workers, and acting on those attractions. “Because if you don’t think about it,” he said, “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.”
After the episode aired, Ganz implored her Twitter followers to listen to it, saying that it was a good apology and that she forgives Harmon. “I find myself in the odd position of having requested an apology publicly, and then having received one—a good one—also publicly.”