Few people think of cartoons and simultaneously think of crimes as serious as sexual harassment and assault.
Unfortunately, the connection between the two seems to be getting stronger and stronger. However, for every cloud, there is a silver lining. Companies in the animation industry are putting forth an effort to stop the problem at the source.
Recently, the media entertainment company Rooster Teeth ended all relationships with voice actor Vic Mignogna following allegations of sexual assault. Mignogna has made an appearance in several animes throughout the years, voicing characters in “Fullmetal Alchemist,” “RWBY,” “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” and many more.
In January, female fans began stepping forward and mentioning incidents in which they’d experienced instances of sexual harassment and even sexual assault from Mignogna.
While this particular round of allegations has been the most recent and attention-getting, Monica Rial, who voices Bulma in “Dragon Ball Super,” took to Twitter saying allegations like this have been made for years.
Thanks for the laughter. https://t.co/blmF849gK0— (((Neil Kaplan))) (@NeKap) February 4, 2019
“This behavior has been going on for 15 plus years,” Rial said. “We’re not going to allow it anymore.”
Mignogna released his own statement on Twitter denying all allegations of sexual harassment/assault, as well as other allegations concerning homophobia, anti-semitism and/or pedophilia.
Nevertheless, Rooster Teeth ended Mignogna’s employment, and only five out of the 18 conventions he was scheduled to appear at this year have kept himon their guest roster.
Allegations of sexual harassment and assault are not restricted only to anime.
In late 2017, Chris Savino, creator of Nickelodeon’s “The Loud House,” was put on an immediate leave of absence following almost a decade of allegations. As many as a dozen women reported inappropriate behavior from Savino.
Allegations included everything from unwanted sexual advances to threatening industry blacklisting after breakups in consensual relationships. Following an investigation, Nickelodeon formally fired Savino.
Due to these incidents, over 200 women from the animation industry—including the likes of Rebecca Sugar, creator of “Steven Universe;” Clio Chiang, story artist for “Frozen” and “Kung Fu Panda 3;” and Wendy Molyneux, writer and supervising producer for “Bob’s Burgers”—have added their signature to an open letter to the animation industry asking for the elimination of sexual harassment and assault.
The letter calls for the main players in the animation industry, like Dreamworks, Disney and Warner Bros., to take action and take allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault seriously, and to put in place “clear and enforceable sexual harassment policies.”
The letter addresses male coworkers as well, encouraging them to stand up against sexist remarks or sexual harassment in the workplace.
While the animation industry is taking strides to make the workplace a safer environment for all of its employees, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Until then, it is comforting to know that animation companies are doing what they can to put a stop to instances of sexual assault and harassment as they occur, and will treat everyone equally, even animation veterans or fan favorites.