A series of salacious allegations spread across social media that popular anime voice actor, Vic Mignogna – famous for his work in Street Fighter, Dragon Ball Z and Fullmetal Alchemist – was engaged in sexual misconduct and molestation. These allegations culminated in a hashtag called #KickVic.
The #MeToo-style takedown obviously didn’t go over well with Mignogna, who decided to face the issues head-on at the recent Bak-Anime 2019 event that took place over the weekend between February 2nd and February 3rd in Bakersfield, California.
One of the fans attending the event, Helen Ibarra, captured a 14-minute video from Mignogna, who delivered a teary-eyed speech before getting into the Q&A at the convention panel.
He often repeated that he didn’t want to trudge up any negativity during the session, so he avoided berating, belittling, or abasing the individuals and outlets that made the claims against him. Instead he focused on saying that he would be improving himself, being more in tune to the feelings of the fandom, and that he never intended to offend anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable by giving out hugs and kisses.
You can view the video below, which was posted up on Facebook on February 2nd, 2019.
Today at Bak-Anime 2019. A message from Vic Mignogna. (Sorry if I shook the camera a lot I was really emotional about what Vic said in this.)
Posted by Helen Ibarra on Saturday, February 2, 2019
[Update: There’s an alternate upload of the video after the Facebook post was taken down.]
Near the end of the video, Mignogna stated…
“Any kind of claims or assault, or – I don’t even want to use those words – or molestation, or abuse… [shakes his head] No.
“And my heart hurts for the people that actually have been, or anyone that feels that. I am mortified to even think that I’ve made somebody feel that way. And in our current setting you have to be more careful. Right? And I’m just a dumb old man. I’ve been doing this for so long… when you get affirmation from so many people you start to believe it. When five-hundred people walk up and tell you how much they love you and appreciate your work, you start to believe that crap. And then you start to assume ‘Well, she likes me, and they like me, and they all like me, so she probably likes me, too’. Well, maybe not. Right? She’s different and deserves the respect, and her space, and she may have her own opinions. And that’s really where I’ve messed up.”
Previous to that, Mignogna explained that he took it for granted that hugging fans, getting close, kissing them on the cheek or the forehead was a common thing because so many fans asked for hugs or kisses, and he assumed many fans wanted that when they got close to him. However, later he apologizes to any fan who didn’t feel like reciprocating that kind of gesture.
This interlude before getting into the actual Q&A at the panel came just days after Anime News Network published a hit-piece on Mignogna, recounting various tales told through social media accounts, as well as using a Facebook post from cosplayer Jessie Pridemore as the crux of the piece to paint the voice actor as a lascivious deviant.
However, none of the allegations against Mignogna contained any substantial proof, which is why they oftentimes have never quite stuck, as outlined in the podcast over on Anime Outsider. The same happened with Pridemore’s tale, which was called into question after another voice actor, Todd Haberkorn, poked holes in her version of events by providing receipts that her claims of sexual misconduct within the anime voice acting community weren’t quite as she had depicted.
Over the last week Mignogna and Haberkorn have been running damage control for their acting brands, hoping to stave off any potential long-term damage to their careers, as well as attempting to reconnect with their fans.
These bloated allegations resurfacing come at a time when outlets like Anime News Network and Anime Feminist claimed that false rape allegations were an “imaginary boogeyman”. I tend to doubt that the two aforementioned voice actors are imagining the harm being done to their careers right now.
(Thanks for the news tip Ebicentre)