Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi has been accused of grooming and sexually pursuing two underage girls—with one of them allegedly becoming his live-in girlfriend at age 16.
A Buzzfeed News exposé claimed that two women, Robyn Byrd and Katie Rice, have stepped forward to reveal their interactions with Kricfalusi, now 62, in the 90s. The women claimed they were fans of the Nickelodeon animator and reached out to him for guidance in their own artistic careers.
Byrd told Buzzfeed that it wasn’t long after her first letter to Kricfalusi that he sent her gifts and art supplies and set up her first AOL email account. At one point, Kricfalusi visited her in Arizona. It wasn’t long after that Kricfalusi flew the then-16-year-old to Los Angeles and molested her on the floor of his studio, she said.
Before her senior year of high school in 1997, Kricfalusi allegedly flew Byrd, still 16, out to Los Angeles again. This time, however, she became his intern and, briefly, his live-in girlfriend. She said she was 17 when she finished high school in Arizona, returned to Los Angeles, and permanently moved in with the animator.
It wasn’t until 2002 that she gave up her love for animation and broke ties with Kricfalusi, she said.
Byrd, who claimed she suffered from PTSD following the ordeal, said she reached out to Rice, an Internet friend that she would later learn was also victimized by Kricfalusi. Kricfalusi had allegedly introduced the pair online, telling them that he would someday hire them.
While Kricfalusi isn’t accused of sexually assaulting Rice, BuzzFeed reported that he would send her flirty letters and masturbate while on the phone with her. By 2000, Kricfalusi had offered Rice, then 18, a job. That’s when the sexual harassment reportedly began.
Like Byrd, Rice had reached out to the animator when she was young—14, to be exact. By 1996, Kricfalusi would allegedly call Rice and have her say phrases like “Repeat after me: John’s d**k slides in my puzzy.”
“I’m thinking about you very hard right now. And I have a little tickle in my chest,” Kricfalusi allegedly wrote to a teenage Rice, who is now 36.
Rice reportedly worked for the animator off and on from age 18 to about 25. She is believed to have been working for him at the same time Byrd broke ties with Kricfalusi, leading Kricfalusi to gravitate toward Rice and demand her affection, according to BuzzFeed.
Rice said the harassment got worse when they were commissioned to work on a music video for “Weird Al” Yankovic, requiring her to work at Kricfalusi’s home office. It was there that Kricfalusi would allegedly expose himself and make sexual comments towards her.
Rice told Byrd in 2008, “Kricfalusi was doing all sorts of bizarre stuff — waiting naked in his living room for when I let myself into his house to work in the morning, walking around with his weiner hanging out of his pants, telling me that his friend’s advice to ‘get’ me was to just rape me one day.”
However, Kricfalusi’s lawyer told BuzzFeed that Kricfalusi’s advances toward Rice didn’t begin until after the company went out of business. The lawyer denied that Kricfalusi exposed himself to Rice and dismissed the rape comment as a joke.
In addition to the alleged rape ‘joke,’ Rice said she decided to cut ties after finding photographs of young girls—possibly as young as 10 years old—on Kricfalusi’s computer. She told BuzzFeed that she attempted to report the images to authorities on three occasions.
Shockingly, Kricfalusi’s lawyer admitted to the illicit relationship between his client and Byrd. The lawyer told BuzzFeed that Kricfalusi had suffered from various mental health issues at the time. However, Kricfalusi has worked for the past decade to get his life back together, they said.
“The 1990s were a time of mental and emotional fragility for Mr. Kricfalusi, especially after losing Ren and Stimpy, his most prized creation. For a brief time, 25 years ago, he had a 16-year-old girlfriend. 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,” the lawyer said.
[Featured Image: John Kricfalusi/Wikimedia Commons]