John Kricfalusi, the creator of The Ren & Stimpy Show on Nickelodeon, is being accused of workplace sexual harassment, statutory rape and possession of child pornography in a new story by Buzzfeed News. But that soon escalated to Kricfalusi, who was aged 39 at the time, sending boxes of toys and art supplies to Byrd. She says she subsequently moved in with him, first temporarily, then permanently when she was 17 after graduating from high school.
Rice, now 36, related a similar story to BuzzFeed News, revealing she and Kricfalusi first began communicating via AOL when she was 14.
She began working for him in 2000 when she turned 18 and claims he continued to sexually harass her.
He also claims that Kricfalusi would routinely show off a "stack of Polaroids" taken during sex with Byrd.
Byrd told BuzzFeed that she spoke to a detective regarding the case, but Rice was eventually, allegedly, told by the Los Angeles Police Department that they would not be able to get a warrant. Months later, Kricfalusi is said to have arranged an internship for the still 16-year-old Byrd at his Spumco studio, where the teenage Byrd began, in essence, residing with Kricfalusi as his live-in girlfriend. Meanwhile, Rice says that she owes becoming a better artist to the animator although wished she is not, so she would not have to talk about him anymore. She says his creepy behavior when she was a minor included masturbating over the phone.
Launched more than a quarter-century ago by Krisfalusi, who directed the first couple of seasons, "The Ren and Stimpy Show" marked a distinct turn toward the surreal in mainstream TV animation, serving as freaky blender of hilarity, grostequerie and camera-winking high jinks that influenced such next-generation shows as "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "Adventure Time".
In response to the allegations, the attorney issued the following statement: "The 1990s were a time of mental and emotional fragility for Mr. Kricfalusi, especially after losing "Ren and Stimpy", his most prized creation".
At 18, Rice said she went to work for Kricfalusi.
Numerous studios that worked with Kricfalusi -The Paramount Network, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim- told Buzzfeed that there weren't aware of any sexual harassment claims, but neither plan to work with him in the future. Over the years John struggled with what were eventually diagnosed mental illnesses in 2008.
Kricfalusi's representatives admit to the animator having a relationship with a 16-year-old and said that he was suffering from mental health issues at the time. An ex-girlfriend of Kricfalusi, who asked not to be named in the report, claimed she also found child pornography on his computer in 2007. "This achievement has allowed John the opportunity to grow and mature in ways he'd never had a chance at before".
"He ruined a good bit of my childhood and my early adulthood, gave me PTSD, and forced me to change careers, putting my life 10 years or more behind", Byrd said. "Well, because this asshole told me when I was 13 that I was special, and I don't have any self-esteem, so I believe it".
Nickelodeon and Paramount Network both declined to comment when reached by the Daily News.