‘Ren and Stimpy’ creator John Kricfalusi: Is he a pedophile?
Robyn Byrd & Katie Rice were teenagers and die-hard Ren and Stimpy fans who got the opportunity of a lifetime to work with the show’s creator, John Kricfalusi . . . or so they thought. Instead, Byrd & Rice came forward with harrowing accounts of how Kricfalusi groomed & sexually abused them when they were still teenagers.
Although these allegations surfaced in 2018, apart from being excluded from the Ren & Stimpy reboot last year, we’ve heard crickets since then.
90s kids will remember the Nickelodeon cult classic famous for getting too much crap past the radar. Ren and Stimpy ran from 1991-1995 and while it’s fondly remembered for pushing the envelope, and John Kricfalusi is still cited as the inspiration for many kids & adult animations shows, these allegations could expose a darker side in the animation world. Here’s what we know so far.
Katie Rice was an aspiring artist with a passion for her craft. When her parents expressed their concerns that she was aiming too high, she wrote to one of her favorite animators, John Kricfalusi. Soon after, the two began corresponding with each other.
While fifteen-year-old Rice didn’t know what was happening until later, John Kricfalusi’s behavior was anything but nice to the teen. In an article by Buzzfeed, Rice detailed that Kricfalusi would masturbate while on the phone with her late at night. “He may like my figure & face. He may adore my mind & ideas. But he does not have regard for my feelings as I do his,” Rice wrote in her diary.
Katie Rice told Buzzfeed John Kricfalusi abruptly stopped talking to her in 1997.
Robyn Byrd’s story ended up becoming more graphic, and her “relationship” with John Kricfalusi was reportedly an open secret in the animation world per Buzzfeed. When Robyn Byrd was thirteen, she sent a video of herself drawing Ren & Stimpy cartoons to Kricfalusi. He began sending her toys & art supplies and set an AOL account up for her.
Things reportedly took a dark turn when Robyn Bird stayed with John Kricfalusi in Las Vegas when she was sixteen. Byrd told Buzzfeed that Kricfalusi groped her “while she was frozen on a blanket he laid out for her.” The following year, Kricfalusi flew her out to LA where she reportedly became his intern & girlfriend.
Per Buzzfeed, John Kricfalusi later admitted to having an “underage” girlfriend on the Howard Stern Show.
John Kricfalusi’s statement
After Buzzfeed released the allegations, John Kricfaluski’s rep released a statement about the allegations. “The 1990s were a time of mental and emotional fragility for Mr. Kricfalusi, especially after losing ‘Ren & Stimpy,’ his most prized creation.”
“For a brief time, 25 years ago, he had a 16-year-old girlfriend”, the statement read, likely referring to Byrd. “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”, the statement concluded. It’s unknown whether he apologized directly for his actions.
John Kricfalusi faced the consequences of the allegations when Ren & Stimpy was rebooted by ViacomCBS. A source told Variety that thanks to the allegations, Kricfalusi would receive “no creative input into and will receive no financial remuneration from the new series”.
According to The New York Times, John Kricfalusi introduced Rice & Byrd to each other, and the women reported he “pitted them against each other” often. “We probably would have been best friends but he decided to make it a contest instead and played us against each other”, Rice recalled.
By coming forward, Rice & Byrd hoped more women would speak up with allegations against John Kricfalusi. Byrd reportedly “ran away” from animation in 2002 and told The New York Times she was trying to rebuild her career. Tony Mora, an art director at Warner Bros. also corroborated that it was “an open secret” that Kricfalusi would sexually harass women & teenage girls. “It’s always been there”, Mora told Buzzfeed.