After managing to stay mostly out of the headlines for several months, Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland was dragged back into the media spotlight this week when a detailed report alleging sexual assault, grooming, and providing alcohol to minors was published by NBC News.
Much of what can be found in the report had previously been posted online by individuals, but the this is the first time that those allegations have been publicly collected in one place and vetted by a third party.
NBC News interviewed 11 individuals who shared thousands of messages sent by Roiland between 2013-2022. Nine of the 11 said Roiland turned their exchanges sexual. Of those nine, three were just 16 years old when the conversations started. NBC News says that people interviewed for the piece also provided photos, videos, social media posts, emails, plane ticket receipts, and Uber records that corroborated their claims.
Seven of the individuals interviewed for the piece had previously posted their allegations against Roiland online, many around the time that felony domestic battery and false imprisonment charges against Roiland became widely known earlier this year. Those charges, stemming from an alleged 2020 incident, were eventually dropped by the district attorney due to a lack of evidence.
NBC News reached out to Roiland’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, who referred to the claims of the interview subjects as “false and defamatory.”
Sexual Assault Allegations
In the article’s most serious allegation, one of the women interviewed alleges that in March 2019, while Roiland was in Boston for a gaming convention, he forced her to perform oral sex on him against her will.
The two matched on Tinder, and Roiland invited the woman out for drinks. She told him that she was only 20 and couldn’t legally purchase alcohol, but when they met up later, he bought her two mixed drinks. After the drinks, they went shopping, and Roiland bought her some clothes before the two headed to his hotel room.
She says that when they got to the hotel, Roiland asked her to perform oral sex on him, and she said no. According to her, he persisted anyway and pushed her head toward his crotch, at which point she stopped resisting.
The two stayed in intermittent contact over the next few months, and in June 2019 the woman confronted Roiland about the night they met. The NBC News article included the content of the text conversation, which reads:
Yeah.. I just want to say that I would never want to say anything or hurt you or be part of that in any way but also the sexual stuff that happened with us was not handled by you in the best way and i just want you to take that into account in future dates, i know it was not black or white but verbal consent is important
S— yeah, I didn’t??
I’m really sorry! F— […]
That’s not cool at all — jeeeesus
That is not me whatsoever… I literally didn’t get consent??
i mean you said after that you thought it turned me on to be forced, I dont think that was your exact word, into it and I told you that I would’ve preferred it didn’t happen
Oh Jesus Christ
I’m really sorry
No I was like not consenting I was like saying no and other things but not very forcefully
Roiland’s attorney didn’t directly address the accusation of forced oral sex but did say that the woman asked Roiland to buy her clothes on the day they met and offered to sell him her pornographic videos several months later. He says the interaction left Roiland feeling “duped and taken advantage of.”
Accusations of Grooming
Three of the 11 people interviewed by NBC News provided proof that they were only 16 years old when Roiland first approached them and that, in each case, he was aware of their age.
Janna Waters, who is nonbinary, was one of the first people to publicly speak out about Roiland and post screenshots of their interactions with him. Waters says they were only 16 when Roiland approached them for the first time, and viewed Roiland as a mentor. Now, Waters believes Roiland was just grooming them.
When Waters was 17, Roiland offered to fly them to his house in L.A. That trip didn’t happen after Waters reminded Roiland of their age. However, when Waters was 20, Roiland extended a new invitation to visit him at the site of his video game company Squanch Games in Raleigh, North Carolina, a few hours’ drive from Waters’ home. Waters says that at the event, Roiland pressured them to drink alcohol despite knowing they were only 20 and didn’t want to. They say that after the party, Roiland invited two other women back to his rental and asked Waters to kiss one of them, but they declined and drove home.
Two of the anonymous interviewees shared text messages in which Roiland referred to them as “jailbate.” One of the women said that while she was still a minor, she told Roiland she wanted to be a video game streamer. In response, he wrote, “I bet you’d do good. Then once you turn 18 you just start cam whoring.”