‘BuzzFeed’ reports on two women who reached out to John Kricfalusi as teenage fans in the 1990s who say they had years-long relationships with him -- with one becoming his live-in girlfriend at the age of 16.
In a lengthy article by BuzzFeed News Reporter Ariane Lange, Robyn Byrd and Katie Rice recounted tales of reaching out to Kricfalusi as teenage Ren & Stimpy fans in the 1990s. Kricfalusi’s responses led to years-long relationships with the Byrd and Rice, with Byrd at one point living with the animator when she was 16.
Each woman produced letters, emails and transcripts of online conversations with Kricfalusi to back up their stories. Each also had witnesses corroborate parts of their stories.
Both said they were willing to come forth with their tales after the sexual misconduct allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein opened a floodgate of such tales, tarnishing the reputations and careers of dozens of high-profile men in the entertainment industry.
While Byrd tells BuzzFeed that police explained Kricfalusi’s alleged crimes, which include statutory rape and possession of child pornography, occurred too long ago to prosecute now.
Byrd and Rice wanted to make it publicly known that Kricfalusi -- regarded by many as a legend in the animation industry – had behaved in this manner in the hopes of preventing further abuses by Kricfalusi or others like him with power in the industry.
An attorney representing Kricfalusi was provided a list of allegations from BuzzFeed prior to publication of the article and responded with a 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.”
Networks that employed Kricfalusi -- Spike TV, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim –- all said they were unaware of any sexual harassment claims made against the animator while he worked for them.
Nickelodeon declined to comment on Byrd and Rice’s allegations.