Though he hasn’t worked at Nickelodeon since the early 1990s, brand new information is now just coming to light about creator and artist John Kricfalusi, who is best known for his work on the oft-crude Ren & Stimpy Show. According to a new, in-depth BuzzFeed News report, back in the ’90s, when Kricfalusi was in his 40s, he had multiple relationships with underage girls — between the ages of 13 and 18 — and while this was not exactly a secret, no one stopped Kricfalusi’s inappropriate behavior.
Kricfalusi’s story is just the latest on a long list brought to light by the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements of men abusing their power and using it to prey on vulnerable women — and in this case, children. According to those cited in the story, Kricfalusi also possessed child porn. Meanwhile, there’s supposedly still a portrait of him on the wall at Nickelodeon.
The BuzzFeed report focuses on two women, Robyn Byrd and Katie Rice, who explain that when they were teenagers, they reached out to Kricfalusi, who at the time was working at Nickelodeon and had his own animation studio, Spumco. These two young girls wanted to grow up and be animators, and like so many of us have done in our younger years, they reached out to their idols. Since this was in the ’90s, you couldn’t tweet; rather, they connected with Kricfalusi over hand-written letters, email, and AOL messages.
From there, Kricfalusi invited the girls out to meet him in LA, and he visited them – and in the case of Byrd, she actually moved in with him and started a sexual relationship when she was only 16 years old (the age of consent in California is and was then 18 years old). At the time, Byrd didn’t think this was odd, as it was accepted at the animation studio, and no one there seemed to find it out of place.
There’s even more disturbing stuff in the report, like how Tony Mora, an art director at Warner Bros. who used to work with Kricfalusi, remembers seeing “a drawing [Kricfalusi] made of Byrd, naked, with a dog ejaculating on her” and messages like, “[in] an AOL conversation he told her not to copy and send to her friends, he said, ‘I wnat [sic] to squeeze you,’ and ‘I’m crazy about you, Katie’ ; he asked her, ‘Do I ever make you tingle?'” He would also masturbate on the phone while talking to the girls.
When reached for comment, an attorney for Kricfalusi explained to BuzzFeed news:
“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.”
Unfortunately, that is not an excuse for any man to have a relationship with an underage girl. You can read the whole BuzzFeed report right here, and we look forward to Kricfalusi being held accountable for his actions.