‘Ren and Stimpy’ Creator Had Relationships With At Least Two Underage Girls
Another entertainment industry predator’s sexual misconduct has been brought to light. A thorough investigative report on Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi reveals the showrunner maintained several relationships with underage female animators, and may have trafficked in child pornography.
BuzzFeed published a comprehensive investigation of Kricfalusi’s relationships with animators Robyn Byrd and Katie Rice, the former of which began in 1994 with a then-13 year-old Byrd corresponding with Kricfalusi over her future career. The Ren & Stimpy creator plied her with toys and art supplies, and the two began a sexual relationship when Byrd was 16 and working as an intern at Kricfalusi’s studio, Spumco. During the mid-90s (and at various points during his relationship with Byrd), Kricfalusi was also sexually harassing and attempting to facilitate a relationship with artist Rice, who was initially underage.
Some of the story’s more disturbing revelations include Kricfalusi bragging about attending Rice’s 15th birthday party, taking lewd Polaroids of Byrd without her knowledge and showing them to fellow animators, as well as several corroborated reports of child pornography featuring prepubescent girls. Kricfalusi’s attorney contested that notion, but did address the animator’s prior relationships with Byrd and Rice:
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.
Reports of Kricfalusi’s inappropriate relationships were apparently an open secret in animation circles (both Byrd and Rice worked at Spumco while underage), though the now-62-year-old creator still managed to screen a new short at an animation film festival in 2016, and animated a Simpsons credit sequence in 2015. The Paramount Network, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim all denied knowledge of complaints against Kricfalusi, while Nickelodeon – who keeps Kricfalusi’s portrait on their office wall – declined comment. The piece also notes that Rice and Kricfalusi collaborated on a music video for “Weird Al” Yankovic, though the parody artist similarly denied knowledge of Kricfalusi’s behavior, and issued no further comment.
The whole troubling story is nonetheless worth your read, but it remains to be seen what – if any – additional actions may be taken.