‘Rick and Morty’ Co-Creator Justin Roiland Has Been Charged With Domestic Violence.
Content warning: This article mentions allegations of domestic violence.
Few cartoons are more popular with adults than Rick and Morty; the animated series has run for six seasons on Adult Swim.
Now, news has broken that one of the co-creators of the show, Justin Roiland, who also does voice work on the series, is facing charges related to domestic violence, including one count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, and/or deceit. What exactly is going on with Roiland’s charges?
What are the domestic violence charges against Justin Roiland?
The two counts against Roiland were first filed as part of a complaint from the Orange County district attorney in May of 2020, following an incident that took place earlier that year. The incident the case is referring to involves a Jane Doe who was apparently dating Roiland at the time. The complaint states that the incident occurred on roughly Jan. 19, 2020, although additional details about the case are being withheld from the public.
Those details include medical reports, interviews, footage, abuse investigation reports, and police reports, and they are all currently under a protective order.
Roiland appeared in court on Jan. 12 of this year after pleading not guilty to the charges in October 2020. He was arrested in May of 2020 following the initial charges and was then released on a $50,000 bond in August of that year.
Reports suggest that the case has already gone through more than a dozen hearings since Roiland pled not guilty in October 2020. A protective order filed that same month said that Roiland was not to go within 100 feet of the Jane Doe who had made the accusations against him. The order also states that he is not to harass, surveil, or threaten the person named in it, and he must turn in any firearms he owns.
NBC reports that the case is currently set to reconvene on April 27, although no trial date has been set yet. The network also reported that there is a plea deal available in the case. The details of that plea deal have not yet been reported on, although it would obviously involve Roiland admitting some level of guilt in the case.
Roiland’s attorney, Edward Welbourn, commented on the charges in the following statement: “It is hard to overstate how inaccurate the recent media coverage of this situation has been. To be clear, not only is Justin innocent but we also have every expectation that this matter is on course to be dismissed once the District Attorney’s office has completed its methodical review of the evidence. We look forward to clearing Justin’s name and helping him move forward as swiftly as possible.”
What is false imprisonment?
One of the charges against Roiland that has stood out to fans is that of false imprisonment. It sounds pretty serious — what exactly does that entail?
According to Cornell Law’s Legal Information Institute, “A person commits false imprisonment when they engage in the act of restraint on another person which confines that person in a restricted area … An act of restraint can be a physical barrier (such as a locked door), the use of physical force to restrain, a failure to release, or an invalid use of legal authority.”
Roiland’s career has flourished against the backdrop of these charges.
Even as this domestic violence case has loomed in the background, Roiland has continued to find ways to profit off of the massive cartoon franchise that he has been so central to. In 2021, he released an NFT art collection that sold for $1.65 million, and he released a second collection in 2022.
Roiland also serves as one of the voices on the Hulu series Solar Opposites and also served as a creative voice on the series Koala Man, which debuted on Hulu in January of 2023. He is also heavily involved in the game High on Life, which has taken the internet by storm as of late. Although he has not been the sole creative voice behind any of these properties, all of them are likely to be viewed differently in light of the serious charges Roiland is now facing.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.