"And because I finally got to the point where I said to her "I love you" because that's what I thought it was, when you target somebody for two years". Legal counsel that he received advised against it, but he chose to talk about it after getting feedback from women creators he respected, who told him that he should hold himself accountable and be open about how he's been part of the problem if he wants to be a part of the solution. "Things that I would never ever ever have done if she had been male and if I had never had those feelings for her". But did Dan Harmon, creator of Community and Rick & Morty, just give us an example of a good, genuine apology? He said that he was "attracted to an employee", though he's careful not to conflate it with the kind of language that could possibly romanticize a power dynamic; as Ganz's boss and the series showrunner, Harmon had leverage over her. He added that he knew that his feelings for her "were bad news", but he was unsure of how to grapple with his feelings.
Following from this, Harmon spoke and publicly apologised on his podcast Harmontown yesterday about what had happened, saying that he wanted to be "part of the solution and not the problem". "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". "I knew I wasn't doing anybody any favors by feeling these things and so I did the cowardly, easiest, laziest things you can do with these feelings like that", he went on revealing. Harmon said he lied to himself and his girlfriend about his feelings for his mentee - to rebuff complaints about his behavior, he claimed those complaining were being "sexist or jealous". "Just treated her cruelly, pointedly".
Ganz called Harmon's comments "a masterclass in How to Apologize". I drank. I took pills. "I crushed on her and resented her for not reciprocating it and 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 awful things", he said. Humiliated and rejected, Harmon said that he "wanted to teach her a lesson" and punish her for not reciprocating what he believed at the time to be feelings for her.
This downward spiral, he said, continued throughout Community's run, until he lost control of the show and was ultimately fired. I ruined my show.
"And if she hadn't mentioned something on Twitter, I would have continued to not have to not think about it, although I did walk around with my stomach in knots about it, but I wouldn't have had to talk about it", Harmon said.
"I've never done it before and I will never do it again", he admits, adding, "but I certainly wouldn't have been able to do it if I had any respect for women".
"It is a masterclass in How to Apologize".
This time around, Ganz felt an unexpected sense of "relief" from Harmon's apology, one that she said was "not rationalizing or justifying or making excuses" for his behavior. That Ganz found it in her to forgive is wonderful, but equally important is Harmon's recognition of wrongdoing, which he acknowledges he'd never have to do unless his victim put herself in the precarious position of publicly calling him out in the first place. "He gives a full account", she wrote. "It's about vindication. That's why it didn't feel right to just accept his apology in private (although I did that, too)". She also went on to say that she wasn't in a position to say no to him both because he was her boss, and that his romantic attention made her feel uncertain as to whether or not she was actually good at her job.
"I didn't dream it", she wrote. I'm not insane. Ironic that the only person who could give me that comfort is the one person I'd never ask.