If you haven’t heard the name Megan Ganz before, you’ve probably laughed at one of her jokes. As a sitcom writer, she’s added her wit to shows like Community, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Modern Family.
Last week, the writer took to Twitter to call out her former Community boss, show creator Dan Harmon, for harassment she faced while working for him. While she wasn’t necessarily expecting anything more than a simple apology in response, what she ended up getting is what she now describes as “a master class” in apologizing.
On Harmon’s podcast, Harmontown, the producer and writer dug right into the accusations. “I was attracted to an employee,” he starts around the 18-minute mark. He then explains that he was trying to use his position of power over Ganz to get the romantic relationship with her that he wanted.
Harmon knew that, as Ganz’s boss, the 45-year-old showrunner should have put any romantic feelings aside. But he didn’t. Instead, he says, he harassed her, being flirty and creepy. He was so infatuated with her, he says, that even his live-in girlfriend had to ask him what’s up and he brushed off her accusations.
But his denial to his girlfriend crossed over into an in-office denial as everyone started to take notice of how Harmon was treating Ganz. He offset the questions by deflecting the blame back onto those who asked him about his behavior.
“[I was] telling myself and anybody that threatened to confront me with it that if you thought what I was doing was creepy or sexist or unprofessional it was because you were the sexist or jealous,” Harmon admits.”I was supporting this person, I’m a mentor, I’m a feminist, it’s your problem, not mine. You’re the one who actually is seeing things through that lens.”
Harmon then admits that even though Ganz repeatedly told him that she was uncomfortable, he didn’t stop because he didn’t want to hear it. After breaking up with his girlfriend, Harmon admits that his single status made him go full tilt towards Ganz, waiting for their current season to be done before declaring his love for his employee.
But he finally heard Ganz when she said that his attention was unwanted. 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 was humiliated,” he admits. “So, I continued to do the cowardly thing. I continued to do the selfish thing. I wanted to show her that if she didn’t like being liked in that way then, oh boy, she should get over herself. After all, if you’re just going to be a writer then this is how ‘just writers’ get treated. And that was probably the darkest of it all.”
With Harmon admitting that he went into a self-harm spiral, which eventually led to him losing his job at Community, he says he understands that the whole situation happened because of how he truthfully saw women at the time.
“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. On a fundamental level, I was thinking about them as different creatures.”
The Rick and Morty showrunner closes his apology by saying that he wants men to stop and think about how they think about women, truthfully, and that today’s current climate is one he welcomes, because he wants our culture to be one where we openly talk about these hard truths and move forward making the world better. Finally, Harmon asks for people to be gentle with Ganz, saying, “Please don’t hurt her. Please don’t make this worse on anybody but me.”
For her part, Ganz was very grateful for the apology, explaining, “This was never about vengeance; it’s about vindication. That’s why it didn’t feel right to just accept his apology in private (although I did that, too). Because if any part of this process should be done in the light, it’s the forgiveness part. And so,
@danharmon, I forgive you.”
What makes this apology so different from, say, the one James Franco attempted earlier this week, is that Harmon not only copped to his mistakes, but looked deep within himself to understand why he did such things. Realizing that he didn’t see women in the same way as men must have been a hard truth to discover, but he did so, and admitted it. His apology should be one that others look to in the future if they are accused of sexual misconduct themselves.
What do you think of this lengthy apology? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Seeso)