Nearly six months after the allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein rocked the entertainment industry, more women are still coming forward, with the latest allegations coming against a titan of the animation world. Two women, Robyn Byrd and Katie Rice, have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi, alleging that he was a sexual predator and that he preyed on young girls hoping for a career in animation. The animator's fixation on young girls was such an open secret in the animation world that Byrd was even referenced as, "a girl he had been dating since she was 15 years old" in the 2013 book Sick Little Monkeys: The Unauthorized Ren & Stimpy Story.
Robyn Byrd's relationship with John Kricfalusi started in 1994, after she had sent him a video of herself talking about the drawings she had made and how she wanted to pursue a career in animation, when she was just 13 years old. Much to her surprise, the then 39-year-old Kricfalusi responded with a letter, which lead to Byrd getting toys and art supplies sent to her, and he even set her up with an AOL account, where he told her she could be a great artist. He also visited her at the trailer park where she lived in Tuscon, Arizona, and when she was in the 11th grade, at 16 years of age, he flew her to Los Angeles to talk about her future in animation, where he touched her genitals through her pajamas while she laid frozen on a blanket he set out for her.
In the summer of 1997, before her senior year of high school, he flew her out to Los Angeles to be an intern at his Spumco studio and lived with him as his girlfriend, and after she graduated at the age of 17, she moved in with him permanently. While they broke up briefly in 2000, she left him, and her career in animation as a whole, in 2002. On Kricfalusi's behalf, an attorney responded to the sexual misconduct allegations set forth in this detailed report by Buzzfeed, with the following statement.
"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."
The other woman who came forward, Katie Rice, revealed that, while she never had a physical, sexual relationship with Kricfalusi like Byrd had, he started hitting on her when she was underage, behavior which included sending flirtatious letters to masturbating while talking on the phone with her. When she turned 18 and couldn't find a job in animation, Kricfalusi hired Rice, when he started persistently sexually harassing her. She worked for Kricfalusi off and on between the ages of 18 to 25, but she left him after two separate incidents. One was, while working on a Weird Al Yankovic music video, Kricfalusi had said that his friend's advice to "get" her was just to rape her. The second incident was when she found child pornography on his computer, images of girls she didn't recognize, naked, including one who appeared to be 10 years old with an expression on her face that Rice described as "fearful."
Through an attorney, Kricfalusi denied ever possessing child pornography, although another ex-girlfriend of the artist, who refused to be identified, said she also saw child pornography on his computer. Rice tried three times to report what she saw, although the first two times, she "panicked" while filling out the online form for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, although she successfully reported seeing the child porn to the police at the end of 2017. You can take a look at the extensive report over at Buzzfeed.