Justin Roiland, co-creator and voice actor in the popular animated comedy series "Rick and Morty," has been charged with felony domestic violence of a former unidentified girlfriend in Orange County, California. The incident in question occurred in January 2020, with Roiland being charged in May of that same year. Roiland pleaded not guilty in October.
The criminal complaint went largely undetected by the media before being obtained and reported by NBC News on 12 January 2023. Accordingly, the complaint charges Roiland, aged 42, with "one felony count of domestic battery with corporal injury and one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, and/or deceit."
Roiland's attorney, T. Edward Welbourn, has since released a statement that his client is innocent and expects the case to be dismissed. The case has been the subject of over a dozen court hearings, but a trial date has yet to be set. However, many court records remain sealed, and information about the case, including police body camera footage and abuse investigation reports, is being withheld from the public under a protective order.
According to the protective order filed in October 2020, Roiland is not to harass, threaten or surveil the person named in the order, who remains anonymous. Roiland is also prohibited from going within 100 feet of the person and is required to turn in any firearms he owns or possesses. The order will remain in effect until October 2023.
Despite the ongoing legal proceedings, Roiland's career has continued to progress. In 2021, he released an NFT art collection that sold for over $1.65 million and he also sold his first painting through Sotheby's auction. In addition, he co-created and voiced the main character in Hulu's "Solar Opposites," which has been renewed for a fifth season. Roiland also released a video game “High on Life” in 2022. The game received positive reviews and got high ratings from various gaming publications.
Adult Swim and its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, who also own Cartoon Network, have declined to comment on the case. The sixth season of "Rick and Morty" aired in September 2022, and a seventh season has been ordered as part of a long-term deal for 70 new episodes. This news of the charges against Roiland may impact the further production of the series and the release of the seventh season.
We will endeavor to update you regarding any further developments.