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Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks'

by Sergio
March 28, 2014 12:25 PM
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Aaron McGruder

So everyone was abuzz when it was revealed that Aaron McGruder would not be returning to the fourth season of The Boondocks when it returns to the air on Adult Swim on April 21st. 

People who love the show are fearing the worst, but is all lost? The Walking Dead lost co-creator Frank Darabont after the first season and it's held up very well. Then again, remember In Living Color and how it went straight into the toilet after the Wayans left?

But the question remains, why did McGruder decide the leave the show? There's been all kinds of speculation and theories, but finally McGruder himself has addressed the issue of his leaving on his Facebook page, which one could interpret as saying he has grown past the show and decided to move on.  Or perhaps you'll feel differently.

As he said:

   "As the world now knows, The Boondocks will be returning for a fourth season, but I will not be returning with it. I’d like to extend my gratitude to Sony and Adult Swim for three great seasons".

    "I created The Boondocks two decades ago in college, did the daily comic for six years, and was showrunner on the animated series for the first three seasons. The Boondocks pretty much represents my life’s work to this point. Huey, Riley, and Granddad are not just property to me. They are my fictional blood relatives. Nothing is more painful than to leave them behind".

    "To quote a great white man, 'Hollywood is a business'. And to quote another great white man, “Don’t hold grudges”.

    "What has never been lost on me is the enormous responsibility that came with The Boondocks - particularly the television show and it’s relatively young audience. It was important to offend, but equally important to offend for the right reasons. For three seasons I personally navigated this show through the minefields of controversy. It was not perfect. And it definitely was not quick. But it was always done with a keen sense of duty, history, culture, and love. Anything less would have been simply unacceptable".

    "As for me, I’m finally putting a life of controversy and troublemaking behind me with my upcoming Adult Swim show, BLACK JESUS".

So did he answer your questions or did not?

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  • Lp | August 25, 2014 12:46 AMReply

    John Witherspoon was just interviewed by Sway. He said McGruder sold the rights to Sony. Kept him on as the main writer. Then Sony tried to basically dictate his writing. He left it behind. Sad

  • Unknown | July 31, 2014 8:46 PMReply

    I get it Aaron. Another young brother forced to stay within "certain restrictions" that makes it hard for people to truly express themselves. Another person taken advantage of by Hollywood snakes.

    Thanks Hollywood for constantly trying to define people's cultures....

    Black Jesus---really? I saw the commercial-- why am I not surprised?

  • Jasmine | July 24, 2014 8:55 AMReply

    Yes, season 4 sucked, but truthfully, I wasn't crazy about the show to begin with. It wasn't nearly as funny or on point as the strip. I also so the trailer for Black Jesus and was REALLY hoping it was great and I thought it sucked. I read an article in The New Yorker magazine where Aaron McGruder admitted he used different people to actually write and draw the Boondocks strip cause it was too hard to continue to put out that much content. Hmmm. So far, not too impressed.

  • Austin | July 13, 2014 5:38 AMReply

    I couldn't find his Facebook page where he supposedly posted all that

  • Austin | July 12, 2014 10:33 PMReply

    Aaron McGruder has always been well-versed whether it be his tweets or through his show he always gets his messages out there in an intelligent way but I don't think a lot of people quite understand.

  • Pretty Nell | July 6, 2014 1:10 AMReply

    He loved his characters like they were actual relatives. He wouldn't choose to abandon his best work. Somebody obviously made him give them up. "Hollywood is a business." If you don't play by Hollywoods rules you get black balled. He just addressed his situation by responding in a politically correct manner. I feel as if he didn't give us a real reason for leaving but then again, it would not be safe for him to be honest when dealing with businessmen who control his entire career.

  • Breanne Doria | July 1, 2014 8:02 PMReply

    Season 4 is too short,the last episode was a total rip off.Not only it didn't make a good resolution but also a bad ending of the show.I understand Aaron McGruder has his reasons for not being it's executive producer for season 4 but he should at least reconsider extending the season.
    I can't think of the right words to begin how bad this is.I only wish the season lasted a little longer for at least 15 episodes instead of 10 because the other 3 seasons were longer.I think the executive producer for the 4th season didn't put enough thought into making the season finale.
    Season 4 didn't turn out like i thought it would and now I'm upset because of it. :(

  • Breanne Doria | June 17, 2014 9:26 PMReply

    This is actually shocking to me because not only season 4 of The Boondocks will probably be the last but the creator of the series is stepping down.I admired this show because it viewed the reality of what goes on in life; evolution, politics,government, history, culture etc.Most of all, I loved the characters, each one of them are unique in their own way, like they are real life people created to teach important life lessons.Now I see why this season was way off, it's
    because the show runner/executive producer is not around.
    So PLEASE answer me Aaron McGruder, why did you leave the show behind?Without you around, The Boondocks will probably have low ratings and many fans will be devastated.I only hope leaving your greatest work behind is worth it and I give you great gratitude for giving me and the fans out there hilarious entertainment.I'll miss the show but most of all, the characters.

  • $$$$ | June 17, 2014 1:01 PMReply

    This changed my life but season 4 is bad but 1 2 and 3 were a success

  • Baxter | June 5, 2014 1:57 AMReply

    Rock and Roll GanGstah!!!

    Your Influence On Today's Youth
    They Say It's All Wrong
    They It's All Wrong, They Say It's All Wrong, You're Coming On Too Strong
    Is That Why Every Word You Utter
    is a million seller hit song


  • rose webb | June 15, 2014 12:56 AM

    ...we know the TRUTH...season 4 just isn't the SLAVE CHAINS on this DIVA...!!

  • Steady Ready | June 3, 2014 3:52 PMReply

    "What has never been lost on me is the enormous responsibility that came with The Boondocks - particularly the television show and it’s relatively young audience. It was important to offend, but equally important to offend for the right reasons. For three seasons I personally navigated this show through the minefields of controversy. It was not perfect. And it definitely was not quick. But it was always done with a keen sense of duty, history, culture, and love. Anything less would have been simply unacceptable".
    This quote explains it all!!! Season 4 is clearly not being wrote from a black perspective. It's just none sense, trying to be raunchy, that is actually offensive. I stopped watching after the third episode and hear it's only getting worse. These non-African American writers should be ashamed if themselves.

  • justin reed | June 1, 2014 4:27 PMReply

    Cant lie this season is horrible compared to the 1st 3. Not the same show not the same characters, not the same sting. They old shows blended 2 or 3 stories together every show this version is bone dry and just not funny. I can count how many times I have laughed out loud this season. They always mess up the good stuff why is that? I hope mcgrueder got paid well to leave.

  • Frank | May 28, 2014 7:02 AMReply

    And my last comment was directed entirely in season 4. I will still continue to watch and celebrate season 1-3.

  • Frank | May 28, 2014 6:54 AMReply

    So that's why the Boondocks got so bad! I knew something was missing. As much as I love the show, without Aaron Mcgruder, I won't be watching anymore. Looking forward to the new show though!

  • Antoine bridges | May 21, 2014 8:38 PMReply

    Please come back mr. Mcgruder I'm happy the show is Back on but the writing kind of bad. Please come back please.

  • Yasssss Bethany | May 17, 2014 8:43 PMReply

    Boondocks wasn't suppose to turn into what it turned into. It had a serious critique of African-American Culture and the White power structure in our country but most people couldn't see that and just loved the Boondocks for the comedy (it was extremely hilarious). He probably wanted to end the Boondocks after he saw where the show was headed (where all black shows that get popular head to - Buffoonery and Mockery of Black Culture) so he tried to end it but like he said Hollywood is a business and Sony and Adultswim want to milk the Boondocks for what's left. Knowing this I am reluctant to watch the fourth season. I stand with Aaron, 100%!

  • anon | May 12, 2014 8:35 PMReply

    your putting controversy behind moving on to BLACK JESUS??? I'm assuming that was sarcasam...

  • Mr Bacon Pancakes | May 12, 2014 4:30 AMReply

    Pretty much he out grew the boondocks possibly because it wasn't supposed to run as log as it had been running, season three was not quite up to par with seasons one and two. I personally saw this coming because of something Huey said in an episode once i don't like to look back at my old work, Paul Mooney also said it best don't let success in Hollywood go to your head because them folks will flip the script on you and have you doing things you don't wanna do.

  • admiral awesome | May 10, 2014 11:43 PMReply

    yeah i really hate to invoke the dave chappelle thing here (as i see that a commenter has already described mcgruder as being "chappelled") but i think that's totally what happened here. clearly both dave chappelle and aaron mcgruder have souls, and without invoking a conspiratorial tone that ends up hearkening bad Lou Malnati's Pizza jokes, i think both of them have seen the inner workings of "the hollywood machine" and, metaphorically, have realized that you gotta sell your soul at least a little bit to do things the way that hollywood/media wants it, and both of them had to take a step back to protect their "artistic vision."

    i don't get the vibe that mcgruder fundamentally rejected the whole hollywood system like chappelle did... i think chappelle saw the damage that his show was doing to the black culture as a whole and realized he was cashing out on the downfall of his people for $$$..... mcgruder just realized that "the machine" wanted more episodes ASAP at any cost, quality be damned.... they didn't care if the boondocks was any good.... they didn't care what people thought of the brand... they only wanted MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE so they could capitalize on it and make the most $$$ possible. that's what got him disillusioned with the whole system, not the "actively destroying african-american culture" thing that got to chappelle.

    so while indeed i think they're similar and the comparison is going to always be made, rightfully or otherwise..... still, i think chappelle's rejection was more of the big picture whereas mcgruder was more about quality control.... he just wanted to make sure that every boondocks episode was of a certain level of quality, and chappelle was more wondering if "chappelle's show" was destroying black people as a whole.

  • Frank | May 28, 2014 7:13 AM

    Another interesting parallel is when the wayans bros left the scary movie franchise. Don't get me wrong, all those movies were silly, but I could tell difference when they weren't involved. But the wayans didnt just leave, they were outted.

    As fans of the Boondocks, not just the tv show, its time to do some research. Did Mcgruder walk away or was he outted? In any event, without his hand on the the tv show, I don't see it continuing

  • Dev | April 24, 2014 3:53 AMReply

    People despise the reality of the ignorance that reside in the animated series. The truth is better displayed with ignorance. Both cultures are criticsized based on the current statuses that went under as a reputation years ago. Us black people tend to get offended (personally, not me) by the bold, modest & controversal statements. So are the caucasians, but of course less equally. Be grateful that TV series like these exhist, because the mainstream media's top preference would consist of bullshit. Open your eyes, respect Mr. McGrudders art. It comes in rare form nowadays.

  • rose webb | June 15, 2014 1:04 AM

    ,...yea, DAVE CHAPPELL wouldn't wear a dress and wouldn't take the 50 million to do it...but the WAYONS and other BLACK-AMERICAN actors DID...!!! The great white way tries to strip diversity of dignity by offering millions $$$ to male actors to wear female SLAVE CHAINS longer iron shackles but DEBASEMENT, instead...!!!

  • keepitreal | April 22, 2014 8:29 AMReply

    Sad to say but I will not be watching this show because the show is portraying black folks in a ignorant matter. It's like why Granddad had to move back to the ghetto, why are side characters are being the opening season (Tom). The original episodes where to real for t.v. and the oppressors of the world didn't want to be exposed. I would not be watching this show, I'll stick to season 1,2,3

  • Saywhat | June 8, 2014 7:40 AM

    The show was about portraying black folk in a matter that was ignorant to some but sad to those who read between the lines. That was the message all this time. Only through education were a few able to see the folly in certain aspects about black culture. Huey knows. And if you think like Huey, then the show is very unenjoyable.

  • JC | April 22, 2014 12:34 AMReply

    Looks like he got "Chappelled." For those of you unfamiliar with this term, it is when a Hollywood exec. (usually of the white persuasion) asks his overly-talented and funny writer/creator/director/producer/actor (usually of the black persuasion) to make racially centered jokes for shock value (only). Usually this request comes after said talent has been given a nice salary bump.

    McGruder got "Chappelled" plain and simple but, unlike Dave, he didn't let it keep him off of television. I'm looking forward to "Black Jesus." It's gonna be a riot.

  • Day1 | April 20, 2014 9:47 PMReply

    Ill ask again since you did not answer. WHY DID YOU LEAVE?! Not what did it feel like to leave and what are you doing next!

  • BLACKMAN | April 12, 2014 9:45 PMReply

    BOONDOCKS IS DEAD ... without McGruder. I'd have writer's block too if WHITE enforcers were badgering me 24/7 about silly sh.T.

    I'd grow weary of it all. Unfortunately, in this country, A Merry Ka, money and MO MONEY becomes the ultimate aim over time. And I understand why resisters (McGruder) get their money and retire handsomely.

    Read between the lines people. Most of you are not "critical thinkers."

    He laid everything out in his statement.
    (now re-read it.)

  • Saywhat | June 8, 2014 7:44 AM

    Why did you have to quote critical thinkers? If a word is used out of context or in some other unusual way, such as to include a slang word in formal writing, or when it is being used sarcastically, it should appear in quote. But I don't believe that you are being sarcastic, just direct.

  • Dankwa Brooks | March 31, 2014 5:58 PMReply

    "The Walking Dead lost co-creator Frank Darabont after the first season and it's held up very well." I have to disagree with that! While the ratings are strong, I found that the quality of the series as far as storytelling was never the same.

  • dkskms | April 23, 2014 2:13 AM

    YES! i didnt even know about this before reading this but have many times wondered how such a great show became so mediocre after the first season

  • Marie | March 31, 2014 2:16 PMReply

    "It was important to offend, but equally important to offend for the right reasons."

    That's exactly why I never got into the Boondocks. If you're an artist, you want to ENGAGE people, NOT turn them off. What's the point of purposely offending? All you do is cause people to stop listening. It's possible to reveal human truths (the point of art) without being offensive/insulting; Stewart and especially Colbert do it 5 days a week. Purposely offending people is, IMHO, intellectually lazy.

  • Adam | April 8, 2014 12:35 PM

    Colbert and Stewart most certainly offend people, and I think as the hashtag #CancelColbert proved, there are instances when the shows have offended their viewership as well. They just never offended YOU. Which is fine, I just state that to highlight that those shows aren't as different as *your* perspective and interaction with the programs is different.

  • Vichus | April 5, 2014 1:36 PM

    Sometimes, people will not listen to you, no matter what you say. If you are an atheist, creationists will not listen to you, and vice versa.

    So to offend with a purpose behind it is and has been effective as far as comedy and satire is concerned, because it forces you to face your own views. Also, it's not necessarily that someone like McGruder aims to offend, but he knows that to speak on certain issues will offend.

    In this twitter/tumblr world, everyone is offended by everything, so what can you be gentle about?

  • Tone | March 31, 2014 2:33 PM

    "All you do is cause people to stop listening"

    Can't please all of the people all of the time. It is returning for a fourth season so apparently plenty of people listened and are still listening. It isn't for everyone, but it's for enough people that it has found tremendous success.

  • ThisIsIt | March 30, 2014 8:28 AMReply

    The dude had writer's block for 4 years so they fired him...probably bought him off so he
    wouldn't trash the show as it goes forward without him. Common conspiracy.

  • Fello | June 17, 2014 2:51 PM


    It was the funding for the show. All they care about is ratings, and Boondocks though it had lots of viewers wasn't meeting the numbers the studio wanted so they but it at the tail end of the funding round.

    That affects the show and makes it harder to have continuity if there are two to four years between each season.

  • shay_lafemme | March 29, 2014 11:03 AMReply

    i get most of it, but ...

    "To quote a great white man, 'Hollywood is a business'. And to quote another great white man, 'Don’t hold grudges.'"

    who would he hold a grudge against? the latter quote makes it seem like there is more to the story.

  • CareyCarey/CC | March 28, 2014 10:12 PMReply

    Sounds so nice... I gotta say it twice (for the slow readers)... @Sergio, Tyler Perry, Gigi Young, Charles Judson, AV, SAVANNA MORGAN, Miles Ellison, JMac, Blutopaz, Tanya Steele, Jug, Andre Seewood, Carl, Oprah, Spike and all who have graciously put up with my nonsense and engaged me in conversation over the years, I'd like to say Thank You! Now I am moving on to another play ground. Yes sir, Shadow and Act has been big fun and great balls of fire ( informative too) for 4 plus years, but it's time. It's time I take this show on the road to Twitter and Facebook... ugh, yeah, I know. And I invite you all to follow me @AndyandKingfish. My name is Carey Darnell. That's right, all along I was using my real name (my friends simply know me as "Darnell", most don't even know my first name. I have a brother named "Gary", since our names sounded alike, I've been using the other one since I was a snotty nose kid... and "CareyCarey" was a good cover and a unique handle (I thought so anyway :-))

    All that to say - it has been fun, but it's time to move on and move on up to where everyone seems to be hangin' these days. I know this news is a blessing to many's ears, especially Tambay. That man probably got more complaints about my antics than the post office receives when someone's food stamps don't arrive on time. So see y'all at Facebook/Twitter @AndyandKingfish. Bye now

  • Jerome | March 31, 2014 4:07 PM


    Be well brother.

  • James Madison | March 28, 2014 9:45 PMReply

    Being that this is animation and the show airs in April, aren't the episodes, a few of them anyway, already done?

    I know South Park is on a tight schedule, but I believe they do their writing and animation in-house, while The Boodocks outsource the animation.

  • moorrese | April 1, 2014 12:00 AM

    @jamesmadison Boondocks is done with traditional animation which takes months at a time to complete, South Park on the other hand is done w/paper cutouts, and an episode can be completed in 2-3 days, there's even a documentary about the SP process, they can write, produce, and edit an entire episode in 7 days, no other style has that speed in turn around, its one of the things that makes the show unique, they can hear a current event on sunday and have an episode about it the following sunday, a normal show like boondocks would have to wait nearly a year to do the same thing, and the topic may not even be realavant anymore to ppl. I feel thats one of the reasons boondocks may be hard to write, you can hear a popular topic but u have to consider will it be popular or "water under the bridge" a yr from now and is it worth putting the effort into, meaning Boondocks has to be more timeless and universal in its storytelling.

  • @JayTeeDee | March 28, 2014 2:01 PMReply

    I don't like how some people reacted to this as if the show was automatically going to be bad as result of his departure. Despite what actually happened it appears as if on the surface that the split was amicable especially since he still has a relation with Cartoon Network/Adult Swim to do another show.

    I am curious why the new showrunner hasn't been announced especially since the show will be premiering in less than a month but maybe that still remains to be seen. Could be one of McGruder's protege's. But also another thing let's not pretend that every episode of the Boondocks was golden under McGruder, like every show he had some laugh out last classics, to some chuckles, to some well I don't get it episodes.

    The show has been off air for 4 years and a lot has happened in the culture that they can mine from, prepare for a ton of Obama jokes. I'm more interested in how the show will be after such a long hiatus McGruder or not. But this will be in rotation along with Game of Thrones and Mad Men.

  • Bru-Hed | April 5, 2014 12:33 PM

    Mooreese wrote, "South Park on the other hand is done w/paper cutouts, and an episode can be completed in 2-3 days..."

    Actually, that was the first season or so. It's been CG for a number of years. Moving paper around would basically require stop-motion, which takes a lot of time, as we know from the folks at Robot Chicken.

  • artbizzy | March 28, 2014 1:34 PMReply

    Yeah he answered it. He's ready to move on after twenty years. Why not? The Black Jesus comment was tongue in cheek. He's going to continue to stir up controversy in a different way. Saying "Black Jesus" anything is controversial. Looking forward.

  • @MsWilliamsWorld | March 28, 2014 1:23 PMReply


  • Monique A Williams | March 28, 2014 1:18 PMReply

    Sounds like he sold it so he could be afforded the financial opportunities to do something new, different, fresh. He's been doing it for 20 years, and it's the only thing he's known for. As an artist, that's stifling. Glad he's spreading his wings. And if the Boondocks flops, I'll know it wasn't him.

  • Justin D. | March 28, 2014 1:06 PMReply

    He didn't answer the question at all. Is he saying he left because he was tired of stirring up controversy? If that be the case then why work on a show called Black Jesus? Sounds pretty controversial to me. Perhaps he just wanted to work on something else after years of doing The Boondocks. If so then why didn't he just say that?

  • LaLa | March 28, 2014 12:45 PMReply

    No! Does he still own the rights to the characters? Did he only walk away from the show? Will there ever be a comic strip again (with perhaps a different author)?

  • JD | March 28, 2014 12:41 PMReply

    Not :-)

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