Dan Harmon, co-creator of hit cartoon comedy Rick & Morty has apologised after an offensive sketch came to light, that he wrote nearly a decade ago.
The sketch, which parodied serial killer drama Dexter and featured a character simulating sexual assault on a doll, was written by Harmon in 2009. It was brought to new attention via a far-right Reddit channel and subsequently made news across the world.
"In 2009, I made a 'pilot' which strove to parody the series Dexter and only succeeded in offending," wrote Harmon in a statement.
"I quickly realised the content was way too distasteful and took the video down immediately. Nobody should ever have to see what you saw and for that, I sincerely apologise."
The sketch was published back in 2009 on the website Channel 101 but was deleted in 2012. However, it has resurfaced recently, creating a media furore.
Harmon has subsequently deleted his Twitter account after being hounded by users of notorious Internet forum 4chan, as well as accounts linked to the alt-right.
Dan Harmon and co-writer/producer Justin Roiland. Credit: PA
It is thought that Harmon was targeted because of comments that he has made in the past regarding Donald Trump, which angered supporters of the US President.
"If they get to take scalps for someone making racist jokes, we get to take scalps for them making paedophilia jokes," wrote one commenter on 4chan, referring to Harmon's criticism of Roseanne Barr, a comedian who was recently embroiled in a scandal regarding tweets that she wrote about Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to Barack Obama during his presidency, which were widely condemned as racist.
Adult Swim, the Cartoon Network division that airs Rick & Morty, added a further statement to Harmon's comments that criticised the 2009 sketch but accepted the apology from the show's co-writer and producer.
Credit: Adult Swim
The statement read: "At Adult Swim, we seek out and encourage creative freedom and look to push the envelope in many ways, particularly around comedy.
"The offensive content of Dan's 2009 video that recently surfaced demonstrates poor judgement and does not reflect the type of content we seek out.
"Dan recognized his mistake at the time and has apologised. He understands there is no place for this type of content here at Adult Swim."
Harmon has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.
After the Charlottesville alt-right rally last year, he said: "The President has a difficult time, and he has no repercussions to fear really, except for some Nazis not voting for him.
"He couldn't bring himself to do it, and that's as close as you're going to get from a coward to saying, 'I'm a Nazi.'
Featured Image Credit: PA / Adult Swim