If you’re a fan of English-dubbed anime, then you’re likely to be familiar with Vic Mignogna’s work. He’s best known for his role as Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, but has also done voice work in Yu Yu Hakusho, RWBY, Ouren High School Host Club, and Naruto Shippuden, to name a few. His most recent work includes Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and the Dragon Ball Super: Broly film. You could throw a dart at a list of English-dubbed anime and you’d most likely hit one that Mignogna has done a voice on. He’s one of the anime community’s most prolific and recognized voice actors. Oh, and he’s also a total creep.
Following the release of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, accusations of sexual harassment have surfaced against Mignogna, some dating back to 1989. Stories and rumors of Mignogna’s behavior have been making the rounds online for more than a decade but it stayed as an open secret, where people who knew about a certain person’s behavior would quietly warn everyone to keep their distance from that certain person. Now, Mignogna’s behavior is being addressed publicly, and that is thanks to his alleged victims themselves, who have bravely come forward with their experiences with the voice actor and refuse to let his behavior continue.
In a recent article, Beth Elderkin of io9 spoke with “more than 25 voice actors, cosplayers, industry professionals, convention employees, and former fans about their experiences with Mignogna.” Several of them asked not to be named and are referred to in the article under pseudonyms in fear of retaliation from Mignogna or his fans. Their stories “paint a picture of a 56-year-old man who aggressively hugs, grabs, touches, kisses, and propositions women—often without asking for their consent.”
One voice actor, called Charlotte in the article, recounts her experience at a convention in the late 2000s where Mignogna grabbed her and aggressively kissed her, forcing his tongue in her mouth. She tried to pull away but he would pull her back in and continue forcing himself on her. Charlotte recounts how Mignogna backed her up to the bed, she fell down onto it and Vic got on top of her. Luckily, she was rescued by a knock at the door when a friend came to check on them. Another woman, called Rachel, describes her experience with Mignogna at a convention in 2008. Outside their adjacent hotel rooms, Vic held her in a tight embrace and wouldn’t let go. Vic later knocked on the shared door between their two rooms, and when Rachel ignored it, Vic called her room. When she answered, Mignogna propositioned her to have sex with him even though they were both in relationships, stating, “Open the door, nobody has to know.” I recommend reading the piece on io9 to get the full picture and read the accounts of the other victims who came forward.
As a result of these reports, Rooster Teeth, the company behind the anime-inspired series RWBY, has cut all ties with Mignogna and dropped him from the series, of which he had been a main cast member for the past four seasons. Funimation has also removed Mignogna from The Morose Mononokean 2, recasting his role to Ian Sinclair. Mignogna had denied the allegations at first, but on February 13, he issued an apology to his victims and stated an intent to seek counseling for his behavior. Then, just one week later on February 20, he spat in the face of that apology and is now pursuing legal action.
I admit, I was shocked when I first heard this news. A part of me didn’t want to believe it. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is one of, if not, my favorite anime of all time, and it’s one of the only anime that I prefer the English dub over the original Japanese voice acting (not to take away from Romi Park, the Japanese voice of Edward Elric, who does a fantastic job). Mignogna has also been recently cast in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure as one of my favorite characters in the series. I can understand why some fans would want to come to his defense, he’s been involved in so many series that people love and grew up with. However, after reading the testimonies of his victims I can see no way of possibly defending him, yet there are plenty of people hurling abuse at the women who came forward and those who are openly supporting those women.
When Monica Rial, the voice of Bulma in Dragon Ball Z Kai and Dragon Ball Super, spoke out against Mignogna and talked about her experience with him, she was met with hateful comments, harassment, and even death threats. Rial has spoken about how her private information has been doxed and her address and phone number are being passed around. Her local authorities drive past her house every day to make sure she and her family are okay. Mignogna’s defenders have convinced themselves that there is no evidence, the women who came forward are lying, and this is all part of a conspiracy to destroy Mignogna’s career. It’s disgusting to see this kind of response from people defending Vic. Even if Rial and the 20+ women who also spoke out against Mignogna are in cahoots in some elaborate, decade long conspiracy to take down one man, doxing and death threats are unacceptable.
There is no conspiracy to ruin Mignogna’s career. The only person who ruined his career was Mignogna himself. Over 20 women have spoken out against him, each saying they were assaulted in similar ways. Even Mignogna’s ex-fiancé of 12 years came out in support of the women who came forward. Not a single voice actor in that industry has defended Vic because his behavior has been known as an open secret for years. There’s a reason that staffers at Phoenix Comicon, now called Phoenix FanFusion, would alert coworkers over the radio when Mignogna was in the area, to make sure that a 19-year-old female staffer wasn’t in the same area. They called it “Code Vic.”
(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris)