Chris Savino, creator of Nickelodeon’s hit series The Loud House, was put on an immediate leave of absence last week, Cartoon Brew has learned exclusively.

The suspension follows extensive allegations of sexual harassment from employees at Nickelodeon against the 46-year-old animation industry veteran.

According to people within the studio, as many as a dozen women have come forward to accuse Savino of inappropriate behavior, ranging from unwanted sexual advances to threats of industry blacklisting after the end of consensual relationships with co-workers.

Rumors of Savino’s behavior date back at least a decade, and have followed him through multiple productions that he has worked on over the years.

Nickelodeon did not confirm that Savino was not currently at the studio. A Nickelodeon spokesperson told Cartoon Brew:

“Viacom is committed to the safety and well-being of our employees, and to fostering a workplace free from harassment. As a matter of policy, we do not comment on specific employee matters, but we take all allegations of this nature very seriously, investigate them thoroughly and take any necessary actions as a result.”

It is not known how Savino’s leave of absence from the show will affect the rest of the crew or production of the series, which follows the adventures of Lincoln Loud, a boy growing up in a family with 10 sisters.

The series has been a major ratings hit for the network. The Loud House has rivalled Nick’s rating juggernaut Spongebob Squarepants. Nick reported last December that Loud House was their number two series in the 2-11 demo, averaging 950K viewers per episode, slightly behind Spongebob’s 984K average.

If you wish to share additional details about the situation, you can send a messages to amid [at] cartoonbrew [dot] com. Requests for anonymity will be honored.

UPDATE #4 (FRI, 11:45AM PST): One of Chris Savino’s accusers has detailed his sexual harassment to Cartoon Brew. The disturbing details include offers of work in exchange for sexual favors, and explicit text messages. The artist told Cartoon Brew that she was unable to accept a work offer at Nickelodeon due to his presence at the studio.

UPDATE #3 (THURS, 4:50PM PST): Nickelodeon has confirmed that it has fired Chris Savino from the company and that he is no longer involved with The Loud House, which will continue production.

UPDATE #2 (WED, 5PM PST): Anne Walker Farrell, who is currently a director on Netflix’s Bojack Horseman, had called out a predatory figure in animation last August. After Cartoon Brew’s story was published yesterday, she confirmed in a series of tweets that it was Chris Savino who had harassed her 15 years ago when she was starting out at Cartoon Network. With her permission, Cartoon Brew is reprinting some of her tweets below:

Walker Farrell represents a new person making charges against Savino, in addition to the dozen women that we reported in the original story. She is the first woman to go public with her charges. The other women in the original report have been asked not to speak with the press as they are part of an active HR investigation at Nickelodeon.

Walker Farrell additionally gave this comment to Cartoon Brew:

I think you can enjoy a show while still recognizing (and calling out!) bad behavior from its makers. It doesn’t bother me that people like Loud House, what infuriates me is Savino’s long-term predatory behavior. I hope Nickelodeon’s HR department and the animation community at large can come together to put an end to it.

UPDATE: An artist who requested anonymity has shared a story with Cartoon Brew about an earlier incident that involved Savino at Nickelodeon:

This took place about 4 years ago. Chris [Savino] was working with the development program at Nickelodeon. A woman close to me had a project that was being developed under his supervision. He got her personal contact information under the guise of “helping her develop the project off hours.” He presented himself as a mentor. He then proceeded to send her unwanted text messages that were lewd and sexual in nature on more than one occasion. When she turned down his advances, her development project was let go. He is a classic case of a predatory male using his status and power over a female subordinate. As with most victims, she was worried of how speaking out against him would affect her career and no action was ever taken.

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