Photo by Gage Skidmore
Community creator Dan Harmon has confessed to sexually harassing Megan Ganz, a former writer on the show who recently called him out for workplace misconduct. The showrunner laid out a detailed admission of his behavior on the latest episode of his Harmontown podcast.
Harmon said female colleagues told him that in order to be part of the solution to systemic sexual harassment in Hollywood, he needed to talk about how he’s been part of the problem. Adding that he wanted to make sincere apologies “a normal part of the process,” Harmon requested that no one should make Ganz feel “revictimized or attacked” in his defense.
He opened by admitting that he was “attracted to an employee,” adding that his position of power as a showrunner created a power dynamic that didn’t excuse his behavior.
“A huge part of the problem is a culture of feeling things that you think are unique and significant because they are happening to you, and saying things like ‘I had feelings for’ and ‘I fell for’ and all these things,” Harmon said. “The most clinical way I can put it in fessing up to my crimes is that I was attracted to a writer I had power over because I was a showrunner and I knew enough to know that these feelings were bad news.”
Harmon said that while he recognized the attraction and his subsequent behavior were wrong at the time, he “did the cowardly, easiest, laziest thing you can do with feelings like that and I didn’t deal with them.” He stated that he was “flirty, creepy, everything other than overt enough to constitute betraying your live-in girlfriend.”
The Rick and Morty creator said he would justify his actions by lying to himself and insisting he was being a mentor. Although Ganz repeatedly said his behavior was making her uncomfortable on both a personal and professional level, Harmon explained, “I just didn’t hear it because it didn’t profit me to hear it. And this was, after all, happening to me, right?”
Harmon said he broke up with his girlfriend to justify his behavior and admitted to telling Ganz, “I love you.” When she rejected him, he turned to alcohol and pills. He also took it out on Ganz in the workplace, treating her poorly and abusing her verbally.
“I crushed on her and resented her for not reciprocating it,” Harmon said. “The entire time I was the one writing her paychecks and in control of whether she stayed or went and whether she felt good about herself or not, and said horrible things.”
“I just treated her cruelly, pointedly, things I would never, ever would have done if she had been male and if I had never had those feelings for her,” he added. “I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it if I had any respect for women. On a fundamental level, I was thinking about them as different creatures. I was thinking about the ones that I liked as having some special role in my life and I did it all by not thinking about it.”
Finally, Harmon implored men to think carefully about workplace attractions, especially where there is a clear imbalance of power, stating, “If you don’t think about it, you’re going to get away with not thinking about it and you can cause a lot of damage that is technically legal and hurts everybody.”
Ganz praised Harmon’s apology on Twitter, calling it “a masterclass” in how to apologize. “He’s not rationalizing or justifying or making excuses,” she wrote. “He doesn’t just vaguely acknowledge some general wrongdoing in the past. He gives a full account.”
Listen to the full podcast here and check out Ganz’s tweets below. The apology begins around the 18:40 mark.