Justin Roiland, the Jewish co-creator of the hit Adult Swim series Rick and Morty who also lends his voice to the two titular characters, is awaiting trial for domestic violence charges against an unidentified former girlfriend filed back in May of 2020, according to a Thursday NBC News report.
Orange County, California prosecutors charged Roiland with one count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one felony count of false imprisonment for a crime he was accused of committing in January of that year. He was arrested, released on bond in August 2020, and arraigned in October 2020, when he pleaded not guilty to both charges.
An October 2020 restraining order demands that Roiland may not harass, threaten, or surveil the anonymous plaintiff and that Roiland may not go within 100 feet of her. The order, which is in effect until October 2023, also forced Roiland to surrender all firearms in his possession.
Media outlets did not pick up on this situation until Roiland’s appearance at a pre-trial hearing this past Thursday when NBC News reported the case. During Thursday's hearing, Roiland’s attorney mentioned that a plea deal remains available to Roiland but declined to disclose the details. The court will reconvene again on April 27 with Roiland present.
Many court documents remain sealed, including the affidavit for Roiland’s arrest, police reports, medical reports, and interview transcripts.
What is Justin Roiland known for?
Alongside Dan Harmon, Roiland created Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, an animated comedy series that has been viewed over 10 billion times globally across linear, digital, and streaming. The show has aired for six seasons and has been renewed for a seventh by Cartoon Network as a part of a larger 70-episode deal. The popularity of Rick and Morty has made it into a billion-dollar media and merchandising franchise—one that is heavily reliant on Roiland’s ideas and voice.
In addition to Adult Swim, Roiland is a crucial asset for Hulu. Not only does Rick and Morty stream on Hulu, but Roiland is also the co-creator and main voice actor for Hulu’s longtime series, “Solar Opposites,” as well as a key contributor to Hulu’s new show, “Koala Man.”
Adult Swim and Hulu have yet to comment. It is not known whether the studios had prior knowledge of the charges.