On New Year’s Eve, Community and Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon tweeted, “This was truly the Year of the Asshole. Myself included. We don’t have to make 2018 the Year of the Mensch but I hope it can be the Year of the Not as Much of an Asshole. #RealisticGoals.” The admission, vague as it is, was not totally surprising: Harmon was a notoriously impetuous showrunner during Community’s heyday at NBC, and was fired from the show in 2012. A 2014 behind-the-scenes documentary about his podcast Harmontown often showed him berating his girlfriend and friends.
On Tuesday morning, comedy writer Megan Ganz — who worked on Community from 2010 to 2013 and now works on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — quote-tweeted the admission and asked Harmon to explain.
Care to be more specific? Redemption follows allocution. https://t.co/THKaqaF3dN— Megan Ganz (@meganganz) January 2, 2018
Harmon responded several hours later and apologized to her in broad terms for abusive behavior when she worked on his show.
Was just shown this. And a previous sub tweet I think was about me. I didn’t want to add narcissism to injury by naming you without permission, but I’ve talked on my podcast about the lines I crossed. I will talk about it more in any way that you think is just. I am deeply sorry.— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) January 3, 2018
i’m filled with regret and a lot of foggy memories about abusing my position, treating you like garbage. I would feel a lot of relief if you told me there was a way to fix it. I’ll let you call the shots. Til then, at least know I know I was an awful boss and a selfish baby.— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) January 3, 2018
Though this is not the first confession of abuse to come out on Twitter in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, it is so far unique in that Ganz both solicited the confession on Twitter and engaged with it there, declining Harmon’s apology and explaining why it wasn’t enough.
I wish my memories were foggier. I wish there was a way to fix it. It took me years to believe in my talents again, to trust a boss when he complimented me and not cringe when he asked for my number. I was afraid to be enthusiastic, knowing it might be turned against me later.— Megan Ganz (@meganganz) January 3, 2018
You want relief? So do I. I want to watch the first episode of television I wrote again without remembering what came after. Figure out how to give me that relief and I’ll return the favor.— Megan Ganz (@meganganz) January 3, 2018
Harmon responded again, apologizing for “selfish, childish shit,” and implying that he has made some kind of effort to change his behavior since 2012. The conversation then splintered into two different threads, one about the “wall” he says he put up between himself and his co-workers after the incidents referred to by Ganz, and one about what — if anything — he should do publicly to make amends with her.
I haven’t listened to your podcast, but I don’t think walls are the answer. Unless you put them up with male coworkers, too. Otherwise you’re falling into the Mike Pence School of Gender Relations that says men can’t be trusted with women’s phone numbers.— Megan Ganz (@meganganz) January 3, 2018
I’ll reiterate, if and when you want me to do something - a public letter, a co-sign on your letter, a book, pamphlet, public whatevering, I will support it, I will nod, I will verify, I will suffer and atone. But it has to be at your behest, or it’s just more dansplaining.— Dan Harmon (@danharmon) January 3, 2018
Ganz ended the conversation saying that she is “working towards” forgiving Harmon, which would be noble in any context, but is especially so given that Harmon had just inserted an incredibly stupid pun into an apology.
I appreciate your attempts to make amends and your acknowledgement of fault. That doesn’t sound as tidy as “I forgive you,” but that’s not my feeling yet. I’m working towards it all the time, for my benefit more than yours.— Megan Ganz (@meganganz) January 3, 2018