It seems that enough is finally enough when it comes to the backlash that Adult Swim Overlord, Mike Lazzo, has been facing for their first-year series Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace. As reported by splitsider.com, the sketch show has been canceled after just one six episode season.
Show creator Sam Hyde, going by the Twitter moniker of @Night_0f_Fire has long been a fervent embracing supporter of the alt-right gamut of retweeting anything from anti-Black Lives Matter to anti-semetic references to anti-muslim commentaries.
Being the frontman of a television show would make having those kinds of public outbursts problematic for any network. But when he brings some of the same content and symbolism into the show itself, it does a running long-jump across the line of propriety. The series description from the Adult Swim website reads (the capitalization and verbiage is as it appears):
MILLION DOLLAR EXTREME PRESENTS: WORLD PEACE IS A SUPER PURE TRAGICOMEDY ROSARY OF PIOUS PRAYERS BRINGING UNITY, JOY, AND EXCELLENT LIVING TO THE PEOPLE OF ALL SIZES, SEXUALITIES, AND COLORS STARRING MISANDROUS COMEDIOTERRORISTS SAM HYDE, NICK ROCHEFORT, CHARLES CARROL, AND DIRECTED BY ANDY RUSE. WORLD PEACE WILL UNLOCK YOUR CLOSETED BIGOTED IMAGINATION, TOSS YOUR INHERENT RACISM INTO THE BURNING TRASH, AND CLEANSE YOUR INTOLERANT SPIRIT WITH PURE UNAPOLOGETIC AMERICAN FUNNY_COM. OPEN YOUR EYES OR YOU’LL GET THUMB GOGGLES. FOR WHAT NAIVE SLOB EXPECTS HEMLOCK MEDICINE TO TASTE OF MILKSHAKE? FOR THE RECORD, NONE OF US PLAN ON KILLING OURSELVES AND IF WE DO IT’S CIA_MOSSAD
PRAY FOR WORLD PEACE.
Lazzo, had already been facing intense pressure from inside the company as well as from both its partner network Cartoon Network as well as their viewing audience. Buzzfeed reported nearly a month ago that one source told them:
…the Adult Swim standards department repeatedly found coded racist messages in the show, including swastikas, which were removed ahead of broadcast. None of this was enough, according to one of the sources, to convince Lazzo not to air the show.
It seems that it took actor Brett Gelman (Eagleheart) severing ties with the network over the content of MDE to finally get Lazzo to grow a pair sufficiently to cut Hyde and the show loose.
It seems like even smaller jobs are slipping away from Hyde as he tweeted this evening that he had a stand-up comedy gig cancelled that he’d been scheduled to do in Boston.
Now that there’s an open slot on the networks lineup, perhaps they can finally revisit Adult Swim’s poor history of hiring women showrunners and writers (currently only 1 woman out of every 35 men, which for comparison the current industry average is 1 in 5). Granted Lazzo hasn’t had the best of opinions in working with women, as Buzzfeed also reported in October:
One source placed much of the blame for Adult Swim’s lack of female creatives on Lazzo. The person recalled that, for example, during a meeting of Adult Swim and Cartoon Network employees in 2011, the network head was asked if any shows with female comedians were in the works; one source’s recollection of Lazzo’s response was when you have women in the writers room, you don’t get comedy, you get conflict.
The source recalled Lazzo apologizing to women in the office the next day, but noted that it felt as though the damage was already done: “You can’t take that back, and he didn’t really even try.”
Lazzo continues to have a reputation as reported by employees of being a yeller, with it not uncommon to hear Lazzo and other supervisors shouting at and openly reprimanding employees. Such patent unprofessionalism in conjunction with a deeply embedded good-ol-boys environment would likely be an unpleasant for any genuine professional to work in, regardless of gender.
Since he continues to drag his feet until effectively shoved into action, perhaps he’ll take a deep breath and discover that it’s time to practice some inclusion before Lazzo himself finds himself left out in the cold playing straight-man to Hyde’s comedy on a street corner for quarters.