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INTEREST: 'Far From Perfect': Fans Recount Unwanted Affection from Voice Actor Vic Mignogna


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BottyProductio1



Joined: 22 Aug 2018
Posts: 19
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:13 pm Reply with quote
Illia Sadri wrote:
Okay, I am one of the long time con staff and had been dealing with Vic since the early 2000s. There have been times working with him I've had to affect a good firm, but polite no and move a hand from its place. This was because even by the mid 2000s these rumors were all over and I knew to expect it.

This is no secret.

Here's the dirty fact nobody wants to confront. It was reported. As were many other incidents from attendees and staff. In a dozen or so years stafging and 20 attending there are at least as many incidents from cons alone.

It didn't matter.

As someone still dealing with this crap as a white collar professional who has been fired for reporting being assaulted by coworkers while the assailant kept his job that is kicker. That when I went to their partners and investors (Nickelodeon and Riot and Minectaft among others) with the documentation, they apologized and said it was being treated seriously only for them to keep all relations with this company. They do e-sports for children. But them covering up and supporting the bad guy in a crime was A-ok to do business with.

We continue to ask why these incidents take years to come out and why women do not readily come forward.

We do. We get buried, called not team players bitches and any number of awful terms because boys will be boys and why get so worked up over this.

It has to start mattering.

P.S. shame on ANN because there is zero shot you guys were not aware of the Vic stories. Again, you chose not to speak up. It took Jesse speaking up and it going semi viral for you to care about what women in the community had known for the better part of 20 years.


Honestly, I've heard of his diva antics for years but this is the first I've heard of him groping teenage girls. I thought maybe he pulled something recently which is why it was all over my twitter timeline.

I'm sorry you went thru that.
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Utsuro no Hako



Joined: 18 May 2012
Posts: 901
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:14 pm Reply with quote
stuffb wrote:
I imagine the Gawker lawsuit made a lot of smaller press outfits really, really reluctant to be a first mover on any kind of story like this.


Gawker didn't get in trouble for saying Hulk Hogan was having an affair. They got in trouble for publishing an illicitly recorded tape of him having sex. Also, the rumors about Mignogna predate the Gawker suit by a long stretch.
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Ashley Hakker



Joined: 31 Aug 2016
Posts: 103
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:16 pm Reply with quote
Rainbellz wrote:
Of course it isn't without risks to him but... What else is he supposed to do assuming he is innocent of sexual harassment?


First, here's the deal, the moment you start trying to sink large players within the fandom, you are a potential threat to any player within the fandom. And conventions will have to consider that. This isn't about 'Was Vic Justified Or Not?' it's 'Is Vic a potential threat to us if we get tied into something that make shim lawyer happy again?'

But more critically, to answer your question as to 'What else is he supposed to do?' the answer is 'Nothing'. Vic is a creep, Vic has a loooooooooong recorded history in this fandom of being a creep, but he's not STUPID. He knows that this fandom full of surprisingly forgetful nerds are all to willing to forgive in short order. He's going to keep his head down and see how the dust settles. Maybe he'll stop getting cast in new roles? Maybe a 'new star will rise' to replace him and his demise in this fandom is simply replacement by someone younger and more popular, or maybe nothing will change.

If he sues ANN o the other hand, all he does is makes sure FAR more people know about these allegations and his obscenely protracted history of creepiness and makes it FAR more likely that pressure exists to replace him in future roles.

This is Capitalism, no one gives a shit about what's 'right' or 'wrong', it's 'What's profitable'. Vic's smart move is to try to not become less profitable and that happens by siting down and hoping it fades away enough.
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Illia Sadri



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 22
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:32 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Honestly, I've heard of his diva antics for years but this is the first I've heard of him groping teenage girls. I thought maybe he pulled something recently which is why it was all over my twitter timeline.

I'm sorry you went thru that.


In a lot of ways I was lucky as in I could discreetly address it because I was aware of the antics. Again, on the Vic front I consider that more an annoyance dealt with at a personal level. At the time I repeatedly noted how creepy it was how eager he was with all the underage/borderline underage girls that were around him at all times. Wanted or not he was a man and was always WAY too into it. Again... this was open secret to a fair chunk of the fandom.

And diva is an understatement for the non-creepy underage girls.

But I brought up the experience from my stint working in the video game industry since that has also been around and again.... it keeps happening and somehow when given this information no action is ever taken or it comes so late there is little to be done. Be it at conventions or years later working in the space as a professional, it is damn hard to be a female nerd. Nearly 40 and it's still much harder than it should be.

P.S. Just look at how this is headlined. "Far from Perfect", Vic's own excuse and a sidestep that minimizes what he is. A pervert. Someone who used a position of semi celebrity to engage in contact with often underage girls. Questionable conduct regarding religion and sexuality (he pretty much mandated we let him preach in a panel at cons every Sunday morning).Call this shit what it is. Harrassment. Assault. Pedophilia.


Last edited by Illia Sadri on Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Luckylefty14



Joined: 30 Jan 2019
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:47 pm Reply with quote
Ok, I really wish that this isn't true this does look bad ( heck it's a little creepy because of his age.) and I did hear the rumors of him being semi rude to the fans and him refusing to sign yaoi/yuri ( heck he refused to say that he loves mama because he knows that they meant Kyoya.) But I would be kind of rude if I was tired and constantly going from one con to another on top of your day job. As in for the Yaoi and Yuri? It's against his religious beliefs ( and as a fellow christian I respect him for it) and I'm sure that he didn't mean to be rude about it. But would you be mad if you were forced into doing something? Yes, ya'll have a story about Vic. But all I'm seeing is negative stories. My encounter with him was one of the best nights of my life!! It was on my 18th birthday when I went to a local anime con where he was one of the main guests! At a Q&A panel someone asked if he could sing happy birthday to a friend who wasn't able to make it. So my sister and I mentioned that it was our birthday as well. So he sent us ( and about 11 other people who shared our birthday) and he and the other people at the Q&A sang to us happy birthday. Then we went to the autograph session where he was the sweetest! He signed my Hetalia bandana and did his Greece voice. He even remembered me and called me birthday girl and asked where my sister was when I was getting the last of the autographs before I was due to leave for spring break! He remembered me out of the hundreds of people there, and I wasn't even in cosplay! I don't know about any of your stories with him. And maybe he was nice just for my birthday. But I really don't want to believe that one of the main VAs in my first anime is like this! Call me in denial, but I would rather be happy in denial than having my heart broken knowing that one of the best encounters was with a creep.
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FinalVentCard



Joined: 28 Oct 2018
Posts: 58
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:58 pm Reply with quote
The story about the Jewish Persona 3 fan broke my heart.

My *first-ever* convention was a PR ComiCon that featured Vic as a guest. He made me feel proud because I was seemingly the only person in the crowd that brought him a Persona 3 book to sign instead of a FMA book. I'm fairly agnostic, but I can't imagine how insulted that fan must've felt to have a voice actor he appreciated judge his religion like that, however facetiously he may have meant it to be.

I applaud the people coming forth with these stories. This stuff is messed up, and creeps like that definitely shouldn't be in nerd spaces. A lot of geeks flock together like that because these spaces feel safe. They should be kept that way.

Especially if they're kids. Jeez, man, act your age...
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Oggers



Joined: 29 Nov 2017
Posts: 80
Location: Ontario, Canada
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:06 pm Reply with quote
Luckylefty14 wrote:
But all I'm seeing is negative stories. My encounter with him was one of the best nights of my life!!


Your experiences aren't the same as everyone else's. Just because you were fortunate enough to have a good encounter with him doesn't mean his other fans have. Still, I'm sorry you had to find out about him this way.

I was never a huge fan of Vic's voice acting beyond his performances as Edward Elric (and honestly, I think that's the only role he was ever any good at), so I never went to meet him, but I've heard a lot of troubling stories about him over the years. I'm glad more people are willing to take a stand against him now.
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Mad_Scientist
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:12 am Reply with quote
Illia Sadri wrote:
P.S. shame on ANN because there is zero shot you guys were not aware of the Vic stories. Again, you chose not to speak up. It took Jesse speaking up and it going semi viral for you to care about what women in the community had known for the better part of 20 years.


Just some quick clarification, I'm pretty ANN has been working on this story since before Jesse came out, it was prompted by something else. You can see Bamboo tweeting about how there are a lot of people in the industry that are creeps back on January 15, and how it was a real problem that they weren't called out. But you're right that I'm sure people at ANN had heard the stories about Vic long before now, that was kinda the point of Bamboo's thread, that tons of people knew these stories about apparently a lot more people than just Vic, but everyone was too scared to call them out.

And I definitely understand why ANN as a site would be scared. ANN isn't an anonymous or semi anonymous post or tweet, they are opening themselves up to potential liability by reporting on this. Right now there currently are people organizing a campaign on Twitter to encourage Vic to sue over this article, an article you make clear in other posts that you find lacking and too softly worded. Yet it still may get ANN sued or at least threatened with legal action.

You may find that fear of legal action is a poor excuse, and feel that ANN should have spoken up and done an article like this much, much sooner. Honestly you may be right that they should have, but I at least understand their hesitancy. It's hard to do the right thing when you're scared it will destroy your lives/livelihood.

At the end of the day, though, the past cannot be changed. And I'm happy that, whatever happened before, ANN has done this now. I can only hope that going forward, it gets easier and easier for folks to speak up, not just about Vic but about other people (like unnamed person in Jesse's story) who have done even worse. I know based on some tweets from ANN's CEO that there may be more than one article like this coming, so hopefully the anime industry can finally start to clean house, and these predators can be stopped. The past can't be changed, but going forward we can at least hope to change the future.
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Psycho 101
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:47 am Reply with quote
Mad_Scientist wrote:

You may find that fear of legal action is a poor excuse, and feel that ANN should have spoken up and done an article like this much, much sooner. Honestly you may be right that they should have, but I at least understand their hesitancy. It's hard to do the right thing when you're scared it will destroy your lives/livelihood.
.

I pretty much agree personally with Mad Scientist in almost all aspects of her post. I wanted to bold and highlight a very important part though. Lots of people enjoy the website for various reasons. Be it the columns, the reviews, the forums, or just using the encyclopedia. The fact remains though that ANN is a business. Sure many of the reviewers or columnists might do this part time. Many might have other sources of income. However, many do not. Many rely on their work at ANN as their primary source of income. If they lose that then they are jobless. Plus it's not as if the paid staff here make millions a year personally to where they can afford to lose that pay and not be affected. They're not Le'veon Bell here.

As has been pointed out ANN is not some minor little fan run website that nobody really knows about. We may not be an Amazon.com in terms of public knowledge or use, but we're not exactly JoeSmo.com either, or simply a fan run convention website forum. Not trying to insult those types of forums, so don't take it that way. Putting this article out publicly is no small thing. It is a statement to do so, and it does put a big spotlight on the website in terms of the anime community and business.
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BottyProductio1



Joined: 22 Aug 2018
Posts: 19
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:53 am Reply with quote
Luckylefty14 wrote:
Ok, I really wish that this isn't true this does look bad ( heck it's a little creepy because of his age.) and I did hear the rumors of him being semi rude to the fans and him refusing to sign yaoi/yuri ( heck he refused to say that he loves mama because he knows that they meant Kyoya.) But I would be kind of rude if I was tired and constantly going from one con to another on top of your day job. As in for the Yaoi and Yuri? It's against his religious beliefs ( and as a fellow christian I respect him for it) and I'm sure that he didn't mean to be rude about it. But would you be mad if you were forced into doing something? Yes, ya'll have a story about Vic. But all I'm seeing is negative stories. My encounter with him was one of the best nights of my life!! It was on my 18th birthday when I went to a local anime con where he was one of the main guests! At a Q&A panel someone asked if he could sing happy birthday to a friend who wasn't able to make it. So my sister and I mentioned that it was our birthday as well. So he sent us ( and about 11 other people who shared our birthday) and he and the other people at the Q&A sang to us happy birthday. Then we went to the autograph session where he was the sweetest! He signed my Hetalia bandana and did his Greece voice. He even remembered me and called me birthday girl and asked where my sister was when I was getting the last of the autographs before I was due to leave for spring break! He remembered me out of the hundreds of people there, and I wasn't even in cosplay! I don't know about any of your stories with him. And maybe he was nice just for my birthday. But I really don't want to believe that one of the main VAs in my first anime is like this! Call me in denial, but I would rather be happy in denial than having my heart broken knowing that one of the best encounters was with a creep.


Unfortunately not everyone, as we've seen, has had positive experiences with this guy. I know someone myself who met Vic at a con and said he was nice, but this friend is also a guy.


Also, I thought ANN said in the beginning that they did actually write an article years ago about Vic?
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Tempest
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Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:18 am Reply with quote
Illia Sadri wrote:

P.S. shame on ANN because there is zero shot you guys were not aware of the Vic stories. Again, you chose not to speak up. It took Jesse speaking up and it going semi viral for you to care about what women in the community had known for the better part of 20 years.


I'll accept this criticism. Many of us at ANN have known about Vic's behavior for over a decade. We never wrote about it. Rather than deciding not to write about it, it never even occurred to us to write about it. It took the #metoo movement for us to realize that the we, as journalists, have a responsibility to make people aware of what goes on in these situations.

In regards to the timeline for this, Jesse was not the catalyst. The article was almost finished when Jesse made her statement. Jesse was extremely brave to make her statement publicly and our journalists decided to add it. The catalyst for this was Dylan Keilman. We've been talking about this publicly on Twitter for 2 weeks.

We know about a lot of other terrible people in the industry. We've known about them for years. The whisper network has kept some of our staff from going beyond locked doors with the wrong people. But that whisper network doesn't reach the fans, the 14-year-olds that idolize people in the industry. Shame on us for never reporting it? Sure, I'll agree with that statement. But better late than never. We can do something good now. We're going to do our best to protect our readers and every anime fan or fresh-out-of-university professional from being harassed or worse. Unfortunately there are names that we can't publish yet. People we know who have done bad things, but we don't have enough proof. We don't have the receipts. We don't have the corroboration. Our staff is working on it, and when they get the information, we're working with experts to make sure that when we go to press, we do it right. Someone else might beat us to it; I don't care. I'm not interested in being first on this; I'm interested in doing it right.
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Illia Sadri



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 22
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:33 am Reply with quote
Psycho 101 wrote:
Mad_Scientist wrote:

You may find that fear of legal action is a poor excuse, and feel that ANN should have spoken up and done an article like this much, much sooner. Honestly you may be right that they should have, but I at least understand their hesitancy. It's hard to do the right thing when you're scared it will destroy your lives/livelihood.
.

I pretty much agree personally with Mad Scientist in almost all aspects of her post. I wanted to bold and highlight a very important part though. Lots of people enjoy the website for various reasons. Be it the columns, the reviews, the forums, or just using the encyclopedia. The fact remains though that ANN is a business. Sure many of the reviewers or columnists might do this part time. Many might have other sources of income. However, many do not. Many rely on their work at ANN as their primary source of income. If they lose that then they are jobless. Plus it's not as if the paid staff here make millions a year personally to where they can afford to lose that pay and not be affected. They're not Le'veon Bell here.

As has been pointed out ANN is not some minor little fan run website that nobody really knows about. We may not be an Amazon.com in terms of public knowledge or use, but we're not exactly JoeSmo.com either, or simply a fan run convention website forum. Not trying to insult those types of forums, so don't take it that way. Putting this article out publicly is no small thing. It is a statement to do so, and it does put a big spotlight on the website in terms of the anime community and business.


THIS is the exact problem. Stand up for something, anything that's right. Because absolutely there is a need to get the facts straight, but this is where basic investigation is warranted. I repeat the aspect that this is a literal 15 plus year ongoing issue with lots of photos and collaborating detail. This isn't a one off that you put aside because it is iffy.

The industry, from the conventions to the publishing houses to the fansites are absolutely complicit for letting this happen for so long.

Listen, I get it. I literally lost a job with a gaming startup who does business with a bunch of huge properties because I was assaulted in my own car by a creative director who needed a ride home after getting too drunk at a company party. The assailant kept his job and I was basically told to cover it up lest I get a bad recommendation going forward. I've been in that boat. The companies they worked along with saw this, saw the CEO basically defend herself because she made the guy who assaulted me go to a couple AA meetings while I didn't get so much as an are you okay? And the companies they did business with saw the evidence, even saying how bad this seems and then just decided to do nothing and kept promoting or allowing this company to keep making money knowing they were okay with how this happened.

It's not the fact I or any peer spoke up that is the problem... it's that people care more about covering their ass than going "holy shit, this is wrong. Why aren't we doing anything about this?"

At some point the greater good needs to matter. Again, the facts are there, were there for ages and it just wasn't seen as a big deal. Vic was the worst kept secret of the con circuit.

I can assure you, I can direct you to other staffers from conventions who were punished for calling the Vic shit out.

Because you know what? Some of us are really tired of it just not being the right time or place to not be made unsafe or treated like a sex object.

But please, I'm sure you have more to lecture a nearly 40 year old woman dealing with this her entire life about the risks of daring speak up.
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Crisha
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:38 am Reply with quote
Reading fan's responses and how Vic has built his Risembool Rangers, had fans run his merch store, and then encouraged calls to action on his behalf really drives home the exploitative para-social relationship he's constructed with his fans. How much his persona around fans is sincere and how much is fabricated is debatable, but it doesn't take away the underlying insidious nature of how he markets himself to his audience (largely young females) and utilizes those para-social relationships to defend and further market for him.

And whether or not his hugs or kisses are more wholesome in nature or prurient, he's in a position of power that he can easily abuse and has. And he has a large fan-base that will overlook or forgive him for his actions. People have felt violated by him for what he's done, and they shouldn't be shamed for that. He needs to change his behavior around fans because he genuinely doesn't want to make them uncomfortable, not out of reluctance "because of the climate we live in."


For anyone interested in learning more about para-social relationships, I'd recommend a series of video essays by StrucciMovies.
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Illia Sadri



Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 22
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:58 am Reply with quote
Tempest wrote:
Illia Sadri wrote:

P.S. shame on ANN because there is zero shot you guys were not aware of the Vic stories. Again, you chose not to speak up. It took Jesse speaking up and it going semi viral for you to care about what women in the community had known for the better part of 20 years.


I'll accept this criticism. Many of us at ANN have known about Vic's behavior for over a decade. We never wrote about it. Rather than deciding not to write about it, it never even occurred to us to write about it. It took the #metoo movement for us to realize that the we, as journalists, have a responsibility to make people aware of what goes on in these situations.

In regards to the timeline for this, Jesse was not the catalyst. The article was almost finished when Jesse made her statement. Jesse was extremely brave to make her statement publicly and our journalists decided to add it. The catalyst for this was Dylan Keilman. We've been talking about this publicly on Twitter for 2 weeks.

We know about a lot of other terrible people in the industry. We've known about them for years. The whisper network has kept some of our staff from going beyond locked doors with the wrong people. But that whisper network doesn't reach the fans, the 14-year-olds that idolize people in the industry. Shame on us for never reporting it? Sure, I'll agree with that statement. But better late than never. We can do something good now. We're going to do our best to protect our readers and every anime fan or fresh-out-of-university professional from being harassed or worse. Unfortunately there are names that we can't publish yet. People we know who have done bad things, but we don't have enough proof. We don't have the receipts. We don't have the corroboration. Our staff is working on it, and when they get the information, we're working with experts to make sure that when we go to press, we do it right. Someone else might beat us to it; I don't care. I'm not interested in being first on this; I'm interested in doing it right.


I do appreciate at least some accountability. I am on board with the late is better than never, but I also find this frustrating because I can point to multiple con staffers just on shows I personally worked who were punished for speaking out against these personalities. Before #metoo it was just complaining when women would bring these things to attention and summarily dismissed. That's my grievance in that it took this large movement for it to be seen as at all important to address these issues that were decades in the making.

Versus all the years where everyone spoke about it, knew it and chose to not dig deeper. Hell, among con staff Vic had a couple somewhat vulgar nicknames that is how infamous he was.

As glad as I am to finally see this... 36 year old me is wondering why the heck it didn't matter at age 16 or 26. As are all the other women over the past years whose various experiences were talked about but never acted on. Being a female into these hobbies has always been a challenge not out of necessity but by the choice of those around them who don't bother supporting them. We let more victims happen by complicity.

And yes, we need to stop covering up for despicable people in this industry and others. I can list off a whole host of people in the industry who are mere 'jerks' of the normal sort. That's not the same thing. Surely we can figure there is a line between surly and illegal? Buying girls drinks when under drinking age and inviting them to hotel rooms, letting girls under consent age kiss etc.

I really hope you guys do pursue the other cases. Again... we need to stop making more women and girls into victims because fear wins over justice.
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Zeino



Joined: 19 May 2017
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:00 am Reply with quote
I've heard of the allegations of Mr. Mignogna possibly being homophobic and something of an egomaniac long before. But all this evidence that been brought to light is.... There are no words for how infuriatingly, sickeningly wrong the man's behavior has truly been if these allegations are true. (And I for one am quite convinced that they are.)

Any current roles he has, he needs to lose them. Hell, they should redub Broly with someone else in the role in the DBS movie for the Bluray/DVD. Same goes for JoJo Part 4 and his role as Rohan in it. He is a parasite on the anime fandom that needs to be removed.
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