A life turned upside down
On January 16th, the latest Dragon Ball motion picture, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, debuted in American theaters. The film features the voice talents of Sean Schemmel as Goku, Christopher Sabat as Vegeta, Chris Ayes as Frieza, and Vic Mignogna as Broly.
Best known for his voice work as Broly in four Dragon Ball movies, and as Edward Elric in Full Metal Alchemist, and for his iconic on-screen role as Captain James T. Kirk in the award winning fan series Star Trek Continues, Mignona is now becoming famous in an entirely different way.
The stories have been an undercurrent in his career for more than a decade. His unwanted advances toward underage fans and poor treatment of convention staff has been boiling to the surface for years. Now the cloud of behind-the-scenes accusations has become too big to ignore.
The accusations against Mignogna are numerous and come from fans as well as co-workers in voice acting.
Many of his accusers’ accounts of the events sound similar, and their reasons for not reporting their incidents all stem from the same reason: he is worshiped by his fans. Fellow voice actors who have worked with or near Mignona often state that their reasons for not reporting his impropriety stem from fear of being blacklisted from future work.
Accusations from his fans also come from a variety of viewpoints. Cosplayers tell of inappropriate statements and simple assaults (i.e. grabbing and or holding,) to anti-semitic remarks and homophobia.
Several fan accounts have been corroborated by multiple sources, pictures, and Mignogna’s professional web page with few exceptions in the accounts. Many of his fans are teenagers or just minors, which has led to some speculative accusations of pedophilia.
The situation is complicated by varying quality of the reports, which range from very credible to completely fabricated. The claims of homophobia, for example, mostly stem from Mignagna refusing to autograph drawings of softcore gay porn involving characters he has portrayed. Speculations of pedophelia may be equally off the deep end, extrapolating from documented unwanted advances toward teenage fans. While some photos seem to corroborate claims, other photos of Vic do not clearly demonstrate events but are captioned in such a way as to make the photos seem evidential.
Mignogna has not taken this lightly. At first, he expressed a belief that these were laughable and preposterous, but he has began responding to the allegations with rebuttals and explanations for his behaviors as coming from a very affectionate family. He has expressed that he meant no harm and that nobody should be made to feel that way.
In a recent appearance, Mignogna offered an apology for his past actions and explained that he had “gotten lazy” in his interactions with fans. He vehemently denies all accusations and has been silent on his twitter account since the allegations. In response, many of his fans have leveled threats at some of his accusers. Vic Mignogna broke his silence on his Twitter account to rebuke his fans and to express his lack of involvement in any of the threats, that he doesn’t condone these actions and that he is not involved in any proposed violence.
In response to the mounting allegations, Funimation has ceased working with Mignogna on current and future anime projects. He has most recently worked on Morose Mononokean, in its second season and that show has recast Mignogna’s characters. Rooster Teeth, the producers of the popular American anime RWBY, has also ended their relationship with Mignogna, citing similar concerns. Mignogna had been working on staff at Rooster Teeth, not only on production but as a regular cast member on RWBY.
Fandom has reacted as well. Since the misconduct allegations surfaced, several conventions have dropped Mignogna. At the time of reporting, only five of 18 conventions to have scheduled the voice actor for appearances this year have retained him.
While some of the reports give the appearance of being possibly true, other allegations are muddied by being true only from a certain point of view, and still others were completely fabricated. There may be no single truth to be had.