Nickelodeon Fires 'Loud House' Creator After Sexual Harassment Allegations
Multiple women have come forward and accused animator Chris Savino of inappropriate behavior.
Loud House creator Chris Savino's time at Nickelodeon has come to an end. The Viacom-owned cable network has fired Savino days after multiple women came forward with sexual harassment allegations against the animator. 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 (Oct. 18) as Viacom has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment. Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami also issued a memo to staff on Thursday (Oct. 19) 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. Read Zarghami's memo to staff, below:
Nickelodeon is incredibly successful at the moment and continues to thrive because of the people who work here. You put your heart and soul into what you do. And we are committed to giving you the tools and resources you need to succeed and thrive here.
Something we have long provided, as has the whole of Viacom, is a commitment to fostering a safe and professional workplace environment. It is one of our foundational principles, and it is non-negotiable. This principle is not an idea that can be pushed solely from the top down. It is everyone’s responsibility to contribute to our culture, to value one another, and to promote inclusivity and respect on all levels.
I have been at the company for more than 30 years, and since the beginning of my time here, I have come into the office, and left it every day, feeling that we are doing good work, that we are good people, and that it is a privilege and responsibility to create great characters and stories for kids. 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. 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.
We value each and every one of you just as much as we collectively value our audience, and I am proud of the incredible brand and business we have built.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.