I work up this morning and I found this on Twitter about Funimation:
Funimation Messed Up Big Time
You’ll never believe why Funimation, the company that helped bring anime to the west and kickstarted the careers of countless voice actors, is trending. Someone leaked audio files revealing cast members of Dragon Ball, the franchise that started Funimation, reading lines. Lines from adult fan comics of Dragon Ball, and included some very offensive and even homophobic slurs. I.E., Sean Schemmel using his Goku voice to call his son Gohan an “f-word.”
It seems clear to me that these audio recordings weren’t meant to leave Funimation. I don’t know much about the world of voice acting, but these kinds of stupid remarks aren’t uncommon. The VA’s say them to help get in character or to entertain themselves and make each other laugh. The problem is that I can’t tell if they’re saying it as an inappropriate, but an otherwise harmless, joke, or if there’s genuine malice.
Vic vs. Funimation
Of course, Twitter’s done what it usually does over this: fight a flame war that’s the continuation of another flame war. Back in January, people began coming forward accusing famed voice actor Vic Migogna of sexual harassment. His fellow voice actors, Monica Rial and Jaime Marchi, even said they were victims of his harassment. As a result, Funimation severed ties with Vic, with Rooster Teeth following soon after.
The story didn’t end there. Supporters flocked to Vic’s side, while equally as many decried him on social media. Things have come to a head with Mignonga filing a lawsuit against Funimation, Rial, her fiancé Ron Toye, and Marchi for defamation.
What does any of this have to do with the ongoing embarrassment? A lot. When I took to Twitter, one of the big things people about #funimation was how the recordings are like what Vic got fired over. I think this tweet sums up what many people are thinking:
People are calling Funimation hypocrites for their actions, and to an extent, they’re right. If they’re going to say they don’t tolerate this stuff, then why let the actors do it even as an in-company joke? For that matter, why’d they save the audio files if something like this could happen?
The Ones Responsible
From what I know, the audio files got leaked by Nick Rekieta, a lawyer and YouTuber who supports Vic Mignonga. He even started a Gofundme campaign to help pay for his legal fees. The fact that he’s one of Vic’s supporters makes me wonder. Did he do this out of a genuine desire to call Funimation out on their apparent hypocrisy? Or was it an attempt to attack the company’s character and potentially garner sympathy for Vic? I also don’t know how he even got them.
I just wanted to put that out there.
Disappointment All Around
I’m not mad about what’s happening right now, just disappointed. I think Funimation should do a better job keeping their files safe. I’m equally upset at the people who leaked this stuff online to hurt the company. For all their faults, they helped make anime mainstream, and they do have good people working for them. I’m worried that this will negatively affect those people and the industry as a whole. Some people even think that Toei Animation might take away Funimation’s Dragon Ball privileges over this. I doubt that will happen.
Regardless of who’s right or wrong, I think this could have very adverse effects on Funimation and the industry of dubbing anime as a whole. People will start losing faith in the voice actors and businesses. It’s sad, because a lot of the actors are genuinely good at their work. Even if this doesn’t cause Funimation to cave, it’s obvious this is a big blow to their reputation. They’ll need to work hard to regain people’s trust.
There, I’ve said what I wanted to. I’m out. I’m staying away from Twitter for awhile.