10:05am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Fired Nickelodeon Showrunner Apologizes After Sexual Harassment Allegations Surface
The Loud House creator Chris Savino, fired after multiple women came forward with sexual harassment allegations against him, has apologized.
Savino issued a statement on his personal Facebook page Monday, noting that he was "deeply sorry" and "ashamed" of his behavior.
"I am deeply sorry and I am ashamed. Although it was never my intention, I now understand the impact of my actions and communications created an uncomfortable environment," he wrote. "At every stage of my career, I have sought to uplift my colleagues and cultivate a culture of respect. In this objective, I have failed. I should have known better, I should have acted better, and this has been a difficult, but valuable lesson. I have nothing but the deepest respect for the bravery of the women who have spoken out, trying to create an environment in which they can thrive and reach their fullest potential."
Up to a dozen women have accused Savino, 46, of sexual harassment, unwanted advances and inappropriate behavior, as well as threats of blacklisting female colleagues who were no longer in consensual relationships with him, according to Cartoon Brew, which was first with the news.
"Chris Savino is no longer working with Nickelodeon. We take allegations of misconduct very seriously, and we are committed to fostering a safe and professional workplace environment that is free of harassment or other kinds of inappropriate conduct," a Nickelodeon spokesperson said Thursday in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. The Loud House, which is currently in its second season, will continue to air on Nickelodeon and be in production. Season three is scheduled to premiere in early 2018.
Savino was suspended Wednesday as Viacom has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment. Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami also issued a memo to staff on Thursday after news of Savino's dismissal, encouraging employees to speak out. "In the current climate, it feels necessary to say that if you should encounter an uncomfortable situation at work, or witness one, you are safe to speak up," she wrote. "If you hear something, and are unsure of what to do, you are safe to tell your supervisor or Human Resources. If you need help, in any way, you are safe to ask for it."
Anne Walker Farrell, a director on Netflix animated series Bojack Horseman, tweeted her support for Savino's suspension and was the first to go public with her allegations. And in a series of subsequent tweets, Farrell asserted that Savino had sexually harassed her 15 years ago. She used the hashtag "#MeToo," the viral social media campaign that has seen thousands of women and men come forward with their stories of abuse and assault.
The Loud House is Nickelodeon's No. 2 series among its targeted kids 2-11 demographic, behind only SpongeBob SquarePants at the network. The animated show revolves around Lincoln Loud, a boy growing up in a family with 10 sisters.
Nickelodeon's decision to fire Savino comes after Amazon Studios head of originals Roy Price resigned from the tech giant after one of the company's top producers accused the executive of sexual harassment in an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
In the wake of the New York Times and New Yorker exposés with detailed allegations against Harvey Weinstein, more women are coming forward to share their stories of sexual harassment in a bid to create change in Hollywood.