When you think of #AdultSwim, it's likely that you're drawn to their giant roster of sensory blasting shows such as #RickAndMorty, #VentureBros or #RobotChicken, and ponder the amount of acid a person needs to drop before concocting such brilliant mind-fuckery. It's unfortunate then, that we have to interrupt your daydreams of rainbows and Poopy Buttholes to inform you that one of the network's biggest stars — Brett Gelman (Eagleheart, Dinner with Friends with Brett Gelman and Friends) — has quit amid some divisive comments surrounding sexism in the Adult Swim workplace.
Somewhat of an Adult Swim veteran — having served as a creator, writer and actor for the network — Gelman's abrupt departure came as quite the shock to many, though he made his reasoning extremely clear: Adult Swim — and its creative director Mike Lazzo — appear to have a systematic aversion to women as far as the network's content is concerned.
Leaving a cap-locked flurry of tweets behind him as he left the building, Gelman cited a couple of articles that delve deeper into the issue. The first — a follow-up to one published by Splitsider early last month that points out that, over Adult Swim's upcoming 47 projects, not one is headed by a woman — features a series of quotes from Lazzo, in which he seems to dig a hole for himself by writing the following demented statement on Reddit:
“What I actually said was — women don’t tend to like conflict, comedy often comes from conflict, so that’s probably why we (or others) have so few female projects.”
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And while Lazzo continued to accurately summarize that laughable statement as "dumb," the nail was already in the coffin for Gelman:
His second post to Twitter links to a deeper investigation courtesy of Buzzfeed News, which comments on Adult Swim's political agenda — largely in reference to the "Alt-Right" show Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace — and expands the conversation from a lack of female headed projects to a general absence of female characters across the board.
And, as a testament to his stance, and hopefully one that proves an inspiration to others witnessing sexism — or any kind of discrimination — within their workplace, he ended on the following message:
Yet, his perception of the goings on at Adult Swim isn't one held by all employees; in fact, Gelman's ex-colleague, programming director Kim Manning, has come to the station's defense, taking to Reddit to discuss both Gelman's departure and the allegedly hostile working environment:
“I am a woman. I have worked at Adult Swim since 2002. There are SO MANY of us here. We are strong, smart, funny, outspoken women, and absolutely, positively would not be in this building if we were mistreated. Most of us were drawn here by our love for the programming. Many of us have big roles that shape the direction and sensibility of the ‘network’ (which is really just a block of programming), including myself.”
"Are there problems here? OF COURSE. Does Lazzo yell sometimes? ABSOLUTELY. Have I ever felt unwelcome here? NO. Do I have amazing benefits? YES. Have I been given every opportunity I felt like reaching for? OH MY GOD, YES. Is this an amazing place to work? YES. YES. YES. Should we make more stuff with women? YES, ABSOLUTELY."
And while that doesn't solve the pertinent issue of Adult Swim being behind the times in terms of staff and character diversity (as Buzzfeed News states, at AS only 1 out of 34 credits go to women, in contrast to an average 1 out of 5 average across TV and film), it does indicate that they'll start making steps to tackle the problem.
Do you think Adult Swim needs to introduce more diverse content?