Adult Swim came under fire this year after it was revealed that they have no projects in the works by women, and now, one of the network’s stars has taken a stand by refusing to work with them going forward. On Twitter, Brett Gelman revealed that he’s “severed ties” with Adult Swim, particularly after EVP/creative director Mike Lazzo took to Reddit to explain that the lack of female creators was because “women don’t tend to like conflict” in the writer’s room:
Adult Swim’s Mike Lazzo Takes to Reddit to Defend Lack of Female Creators https://t.co/fjxE8FYx7z THIS IS THE REASON I HAVE SEVERED TIES— Brett Gelman (@brettgelman) November 14, 2016
@brettgelman no more dinner withs then? — Dorks Walmart (@vice_reversa) November 14, 2016
Not with them https://t.co/9ctHXTWSjz— Brett Gelman (@brettgelman) November 14, 2016
Another reason Gelman cited for his decision is Adult Swim’s support and promotion of Million Dollar Extreme, a show that was ordered to series earlier this year and has made less headlines for its content and more headlines for its hateful, largely alt-right fanbase who attacked a Buzzfeed writer with vicious anti-Semitic insults and photos after he covered the show’s white supremacist supporters and underlying politics more closely.
I know this and I have stopped working with them. Not to mention the misogyny of their policies https://t.co/fJ3Pm4lUGT — Brett Gelman (@brettgelman) November 10, 2016
@fatalpert yes— Brett Gelman (@brettgelman) November 14, 2016
Gelman’s last Adult Swim special Dinner in America aired back in July. In our interview with him about the special, here’s what he told us this about how white liberals approach racism in the US; it’s applicable to any marginalized group and provides some more context for his decision:
It’s a big thing that’s present in the white liberal community. That, “I’m talking about it so I’m doing something.” No, you’re just talking about it. And you’re talking about it usually to other white liberals. You’re not really doing anything here. Talking is not action. Don’t just look at what you say. Look at how you socialize. What is your work environment? What do you actually do to help legislation along to protect people who are in a more compromised position than you are? I would assume that intelligent white people will see this special and go, “Well… yeah. Yeah, I do that.” There’s the whole ‘white idiot makes racist comments without realizing it’ joke and as they try to dig themselves out of the hole, dig an even deeper hole. We wanted to show that archetypal comedy character, but then show what actual darkness lies behind that.
Last month, Paste reported that Adult Swim has been taking meetings with women in response to the news, so to see Gelman sever ties with them over their lack of action – especially considering he’s an Adult Swim regular who is much more aware of how it’s run behind-the-scenes than we are – is the only productive update to come out of this story since we first covered it in June. With a Donald Trump presidency upon us where the US president will be advised by a white nationalist, make moves to overturn Roe v. Wade, intimidate those who speak out against him, and limit the rights of the free press, now is the time for comedians to do their part to fight against hate, bigotry, and prejudice within their workplaces and communities. Props to Gelman for following his own advice and getting the ball rolling on the Adult Swim front – hopefully his decision will inspire others to do the same.
UPDATE: Tim Heidecker tweeted out some words of support for Gelman and explained that his production company Abso Lutely will “continue to push for and develop shows made by women”:
My thoughts on my lover @brettgelman pic.twitter.com/49g0oozdBy — Tim Heidecker (@timheidecker) November 14, 2016
Read our interview with Gelman about his decision to leave the network here.