Voice actor Vic Mignogna has filed a defamation suit against Funimation and some of his colleagues over recent sexual harassment allegations. Mignogna is best known for voicing Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist and Broly in Dragon Ball Z.
Mignogna has been a staple in the anime community, getting several prominent roles over the last decade. According to Mignoga, he also travels to 30-45 conventions a year, which contributes greatly to his income. However, sexual harassment allegations against Mignogna began picking up steam in January as Dragon Ball Super: Broly released in North America. Shortly afterwards, the hashtag #KickVic began to circulate, with enough claims coming forward that Rooster Teeth and Funimation fired him, while a secondary hashtag formed in support of him (#IStandWithVic).
The defamation suit alleges that Monica Rial’s (Dragon Ball Super) and Jaime Marchi’s (My Hero Academia) tweets caused the controversy to “go viral,” according to Variety, leading to Mignogna’s subsequent job loss. Both actresses posted about incidents involving Mignogna on Twitter after other claims had already surfaced. Marchi detailed a personal encounter with him, alleging that Mignogna forcefully grabbed her in order to whisper something sexual in her ear. Rial’s fiancé Ronald Toye is also implicated, citing tweets of his that referred to Mignogna as a “predator.”
Most of the facts section in the lawsuit is devoted to actions taken by Toye, stating that his position as a Funimation employee made the claims more impactful on the outcome of the company’s investigation. The suit goes on to accuse the three of conspiracy to sabotage Vic and his contracts, stating that their actions cost Mignogna his career, and the lawsuit asks for “monetary relief over $1,000,000.00” due to lost work and damage to reputation. Rooster Teeth is noticeably absent from the legal document despite them being the first to publicly distance themselves from the voice actor.
This isn’t the first time Mignogna has flirted with controversy. The voice actor has also been accused of other unprofessional behavior at conventions, such as touching fans inappropriately and yelling at convention staff. Mignogna has issued an apology for some of these actions, though he continues to have his invitations to conventions revoked. He also still receives support from his fan group, the Risembool Rangers, who go so far as to sell signed merchandise on his behalf.
Mignogana’s decision to go forward with the lawsuit is risky. While there’s a chance it’ll clear his name, it’s possible that other stories may come to light during these proceedings. If Mignogna loses, it could force the few businesses that kept him on – like Kamehacon – to drop the actor entirely. The amount of allegations toward him is going to be detrimental to the voice actor, especially with the amount of compensation he wants. Director Brett Ratner tried a similar tactic last year, but ended up dropping the suit due to “cloudy and unclear memories.” It’s doubtful that this case will reach the same conclusion, so expect this story to develop over the coming months.
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Source: Variety, Jamie Marchi, Anime News Network