(1) MIGNOGNA FILES SUIT. Anime News Network reported in January that a Twitter thread accused dub voice actor Vic Mignogna of homophobia, rude behavior, and making unwanted physical advances on female con-goers. He’s now filed suit claiming several individuals and a corporation have damaged his professional career.
The Polygon story, “Anime voice actor Vic Mignogna sues Funimation after sexual misconduct fallout”, begins:
Anime voice actor Vic Mignogna has filed a million-dollar lawsuit against Funimation and industry colleagues Monica Rial, Jamie Marchi, and Ronald Toye in Tarrant County, Texas District Court. In the suit, Mignogna claims that a sexual harassment investigation that ended in his removal from several projects, constitutes defamation, interference in business, and civil conspiracy.
This comes after a wave of misconduct accusations which resulted in Mignogna’s removal from Funimation’s The Morose Mononokean 2 and Rooster Teeth’s RWBY. Allegations first started to surface around the release of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, in which Mignogna voices the title character.
Anime News Network is also covering the suit: “Vic Mignogna Sues Funimation, Jamie Marchi, Monica Rial, Ronald Toye”.
Mignogna is seeking “monetary relief over $1,000,000.00” in part due to Funimation no longer contracting him for future productions, as well as conventions canceling his appearances. Mignogna and his lawyer are also seeking “judgment against the Defendants for actual, consequential and punitive damages according to the claims … in amounts to be determined on final hearing, pre- and post-judgment interest at the highest rate permitted by law, and costs of court” in addition to “such other and further relief to which he may be justly or equitably entitled” and “general relief.”
Mignogna is represented by Ty Beard of Beard Harris Bullock Hughes in Tyler, Texas.
The lawsuit alleges that Sony executive Tammi Denbow told Mignogna in mid-January she was “investigating three allegations of sexual harassment against him,” and that on January 29 “Denbow and another Sony executive informed [Mignogna] that his employment with Funimation was terminated” following an investigation. Denbow is listed on LinkedIn as “Executive Director, Employee Relations at Sony Pictures Entertainment.” Sony Pictures Television Networks acquired a majority stake in FUNimation in October 2017.
The Bounding Into Comics story details some of the accusations.
The suit claims that “Ronald (a Funimation agent or employee) has tweeted more than 80 times that Vic sexually assaulted or assaulted Monica, more than 10 times that Vic sexually assaulted or assaulted three of his “very close friends,” more than 10 times that Vic has been accused of hundreds and possibly thousands of assaults, and at least 17 times that Vic is a “predator.” It also points to a number of tweets made by Rial and Marchi.
(2) BROAD UNIVERSE. Broad Universe is “a nonprofit international organization of women and men dedicated to celebrating and promoting the work of women writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror.”
According to its Frequently Asked Questions page:
Who can join?
Anyone who supports our mission is welcome to join. You don’t have to be a woman or a writer – just interested in supporting the work of women writers in science fiction, fantasy and horror.
Why do your readings and events only focus on the works of some members?
Our readings and events are designed to promote women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
However, the question has been freshly raised — Who’s allowed to participate in Broad Universe’s Rapid-Fire Readings (RFR) programs at cons?
Jean Marie Ward, who put together the RFR for RavenCon, surfaced the issue in a long Facebook post:
This is a heads-up on a problem related to Broad Universe participation in upcoming cons.
As you know, I organized the RavenCon RFR. When I submitted my invoice for the poster, BU Treasurer Marta Murvosh informed me that men weren’t allowed to read. This came as a complete shock, since I’ve been organizing RFRs—and submitting invoices for posters—for years. When I objected, Marta advised me that it would only be okay if the man depicted in the poster identified as non-cisgendered. Otherwise, he couldn’t read…but maybe he could moderate.
I said no. It was too late to change line-up. Moreover, it would have been grossly unfair to a member who prepared to read in good faith, with no prior warning that it was not allowed…
(The poster expense has been reimbursed, but the main controversy is still under discussion.)
… It’s not right to ask them to host events that violate their anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. Likewise, I will not knowingly participate in or organize any event for an organization that practices discrimination or accepts money under false pretenses.
Finally, as an officer of BWAWA, I am obliged to inform to inform the cons that look to me to moderate their BU-related programming (Balticon, Dragon Con, Capclave and all BWAWA-associated events, such as the 2014 and 2018 World Fantasy Cons) of the potential liability issues created by BU’s current policies. Some of the women responding on the BU forum thought I was bluffing when I said this could cause a number of major cons to drop all BU events. It wasn’t a bluff, or a threat. It was a statement of fact. In the absence of a commitment to change the problematic policies before they have to go to print on program materials and signage, both Balticon and Dragon Con will drop all BU programming. In the absence of a policy by mid-summer, there will be no RFR at this year’s Capclave. It won’t even make the preliminary list of panel ideas.
Balticon reportedly has addressed the issue by keeping the event and renaming it.
Jason Gilbert identified himself as the male Broad Universe member who read at RavenCon.
Jason Gilbert: I am the male member who was included in the Ravencon BU Rapid Fire Reading. I had a blast doing it, and enjoyed listening to my friends read. I was the only dude in the room. I thought my membership and the money I paid for that membership was my way of supporting women and the BU cause. Had I known that my membership was nothing more than a handout to an organization that excludes members from participating in BU events based on their gender, I would never have signed up or supported BU. I feel excluded, a little betrayed, and angry for my friends who are catching the heat and consequences for allowing me to participate. I am the other Co-Director of Programming at ConCarolinas, and I will also be reporting to the concom on the discriminatory practices of BU, as it directly violates the ConCarolinas anti-discrimination policy. I will also be canceling my membership, and will no longer support Broad Universe. Jean Marie Ward, I am sorry you are having to deal with this, and thank you for letting me read during the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading at Ravencon. I truly thought I was supporting an honest organization.
There is extensive discussion on Broad Universe’s Facebook page, including Morven Westfield’s appeal to give BU’s Motherboard time to work:
Morven Westfield: Please give the Motherboard a chance to find out what’s going on. I am saddened that the conventions dropped us without hearing the Motherboard’s side of the story, but I understand they probably want to err on the side of caution. Please give the Motherboard time to investigate this.
Someone recently commented (sorry, I’m reading too many things and can’t remember who said what) that bisexuals are endangered by the current policy of not letting men read. I’m not trying to stir anything up, but I am asking sincerely, how so? If a bisexual, pansexual, or asexual person identifies as female, she can read. It’s not sexual orientation, but gender. Remember that when Broad Universe formed, it was to help women overcome the problems they encountered in a male-dominated publishing industry because they were women, not because they had a different sexual orientation.
…To all who are reading this, let me reiterate what Inanna said. “The MotherBoard is not a bunch of fiendish con-artists who sit around chortling as we think up ways to cheat our members.” As I said before, I think it’s a communication error. In looking through my emails I found reference to a Broad Universe brochure we used in 2010 that said that only women would be allowed to read in RFRs. The wording was taken from our web page at that time. So something happened after 2010.
Also, it appears that Broads on the East Coast were still going by the 2010 and earlier policies (men not allowed to read), but other parts of the country were regularly allowing that, and it seemed like both halves were unaware what was going on. In other words, miscommunication.
Please bear with the Motherboard as they try to sort this out.
(3) ELLISON FANZINES. Edie Stern alerts Harlan Ellison fans to some new items at Fanac.org:
For those that are interested in Harlan’s early fannish career, Fanac has something nice for you today. We’ve uploaded 6 issues of his fanzine Science Fantasy from the early 1950s. Not only is there writing by Harlan, but by Bob Bloch, MZB, Dean Grennell, Algis Budrys, Bob Silverberg and more. Scanning by Joe Siclari. You can reach the index page at: http://fanac.org/fanzines/Harlan_Ellison/
(4) CHILDREN IN PERIL. Fran Wilde makes a point about the parallels of life and fiction. Thread starts here.
(5) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 20, 1937 — George Takei, 82. Hikaru Sulu on the original Trek. And yes, I know that Vonda McIntyre wouldn’t coin the first name until a decade later in her Entropy Effect novel. Post-Trek, he would write Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe with Robert Asprin. By the way, his first genre roles were actually dubbing the English voices of Professor Kashiwagi of Rodan! The Flying Monster and the same of the Commander of Landing Craft of Godzilla Raids Again.
- Born April 20, 1939 — Peter S. Beagle, 80. I’ve known him for about fifteen years now, met him but once in that time. He’s quite charming. My favorite works? Tamsin, Summerlong and In Calabria.
- Born April 20, 1949 — John Ostrander, 70. Writer of comic books, including Grimjack, Suicide Squad and Star Wars: Legacy. Well those are the titles he most frequently gets noted for but I’ll add in the Spectre, Martian Manhunter and the late Eighties Manhunter as well.
- Born April 20, 1949 — Jessica Lange, 70. Her very first role was Dwan in King Kong. Later genre roles are modest, Sandra Bloom Sr. in Big Fish and Constance Langdon / Elsa Mars / Fiona Goode / Sister Jude Martin in American Horror Story.
- Born April 20, 1951 — Louise Jameson, 68. Leela of the Sevateem, companion to the Fourth Doctor. Appeared in nine stories of which my favorite was “The Talons of Weng Chiang” which I reviewed here. She segued from Dr. Who to The Omega Factor where she was the regular cast as Dr. Anne Reynolds. These appear to her only meaningful genre roles.
- Born April 20, 1959 — Clint Howard, 60. So the most interesting connection that he has to the genre is playing Balok, the strange child like alien, in “The Corbomite Maneuver” which I remember clearly decades after last seeing it. Other than that, there’s very he’s done of a genre nature that’s even mildly interesting other than voicing Roo three in three Winnie-the-Pooh films.
- Born April 20, 1959 — Carole E. Barrowman, 60. Sister of John Barrowman. John and Carole co-wrote a Torchwood comic strip, featuring Jack Harkness, entitled Captain Jack and the Selkie. They’ve also written the Torchwood: Exodus Code audiobook. In addition, they’ve written Hollow Earth, a horror novel. She contributed an essay about her brother to the Chicks Dig Time Lords anthology.
- Born April 20, 1964 — Crispin Glover, 55. An American actor and director, Glover is known for portraying George McFly in Back to the Future, Willard Stiles in the Willard remake, Ilosovic Stayne/The Knave of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, Grendel in Beowulf, Phil Wedmaier in Hot Tub Time Machine, and 6 in 9. He currently stars in American Gods as Mr. World, the god of globalization.
- Born April 20, 1964 — Andy Serkis, 55. I admit that the list of characters that he has helped create is amazing: Gollum in The Lord of the Rings films and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, King Kong in that film, Caesar in the Planet of the Apes reboot series. Captain Haddock / Sir Francis Haddock in The Adventures of Tintin (great film that was), and even Supreme Leader Snoke in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Last year, he portrayed the character of Baloo in his self-directed film, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle.
(6) THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE. Out there, not here. Timothy the Talking Cat finds the path to success in “Beyond the Bounds of Genius: Chapter 6”.
Chapter 6: Cattimothy House – Birth of an Empire
LONDON! The heart of the world of publishing. It was here that I would build my empire! I immediately set off to the zoo to visit the penguins. Strangely, they were untalkative and showed no sign of controlling a vast business of iconic paperbacks. They mainly waddled around an enclosure with excellent views of Regent Park…
(7) YOU’VE HEARD THIS VOICE BEFORE. Radio Times tells about the voice casting for an H.G. Wells project: “David Tennant to bring The War of the Worlds to life in new HG Wells audiobook collection”.
If the BBC’s upcoming War of the Worlds TV adaptation wasn’t enough for you then buckle up, because a new project by Audible is bringing the works of novelist HG Wells to life with a series of star-studded audiobook adaptations.
Former Doctor Who star David Tennant is set to narrate alien invasion classic The War of the Worlds, while Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo will tackle The Invisible Man.
Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville will narrate The Time Machine, with Harry Potter and Star Trek: Discovery star Jason Isaacs lending his voice to The Island of Doctor Moreau and Versailles’ Alexander Vlahos reading The First Men in the Moon.
(8) THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD. LROC graphs the movements of the first astronauts on the surface of the Moon: “Apollo 11”.
Astronauts Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin landed the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) in Mare Tranquillitatis [0.67416 N, 23.47314 E], at 20:17:40 UTC 20 July 1969. They spent a total of 21.5 hours on the lunar surface, performing one Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) and collecting 21.5 kg of lunar samples. Astronaut Michael Collins orbited the Moon in the Lunar Command Module (LCM), awaiting the return of Armstrong and Aldrin from the surface. Apollo 11 was the first lunar landing, however it was the fifth manned Apollo mission, earlier missions laying the ground-work for Apollo 11.
(9) OUR POSITRONIC PROSECUTORS. CrimeReads’ M.G. Wheaton surveys sf’s attitudes towards artificial intelligence and suggests that someday machines will make our lives better and won’t such be vehicles to crush us or take our jobs. Or maybe not: “Why We’ve Decided That The Machines Want to Kill Us”.
…While hardly the first filmic thinking machine to read the tea leaves and decide to either wipe out humanity (Terminator), subjugate it (The Matrix), or rid us of our freedom of thought (everything from Alphaville to any Borg episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation), Age of Ultron wins the prize for its antagonist coming to that conclusion the fastest.
So, why is this? Why does HAL 9000 decide the only way to complete his mission is to kill all the humans aboard his ship in 2001: A Space Odyssey? Why does Colossus, the titular super-computer from Colossus: The Forbin Project start out friendly then conclude the only way to end the Cold War is to seize all the nukes and demand subservience in return for not setting them off? Why as early as 1942 when Isaac Asimov laid down his Three Laws of Robotics did he feel the need to say in the very first one that robots must be programmed not to ever hurt humans as otherwise we’d be doomed?
I mean, are we really so bad?
Well, as we’re the ones writing all these stories, maybe it’s not the machines that find us so inferior….
(10) ASIMOV IN THE COMICS. CBR.com’s Brian Cronin recalls “When Isaac Asimov Became a Muck Monster Who Fought Superman!”.
Perhaps in response to Asimov’s rebuttal in 1980, he showed up in a Superman comic book at the end of that year in a story by Cary Bates (with artwork by Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte) in Superman #355. Here, Asimov is, instead, Asa Ezaak, and he is a bit of a condescending jerk to Lois Lane at a science conference….
…He plans on injecting himself with a special “potion” that gives him gravity powers! He is now Momentus!
Yup, he’s now a big ol’ muck monster…
(11) AHH, THE CLASSICS. Next time you’re in Northumberland, visit The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi:
‘The Museum of Classic Sci-Fi’ is a permanent exhibition, nestled in the historic, Northumberland village of Allendale. Situated beside the market place square, visitors will embark upon a nostalgic tour of some of the genre’s most influential imagery and themes. Featuring a substantial and eclectic collection of over 200 original screen-used props, costumes and production made artefacts; the museum tells the story of the Science-Fiction genre and acts a visual ‘episode guide’ to classic era ‘Doctor Who’. In addition, artist Neil Cole has produced unique paintings and sculptures, to enhance the impact of the presentations.It includes a “Doctor Who Gallery” –
(12) GOOD DOG. SYFY Wire nominates these as “The 8 best dogs in science fiction”. Number 4 is —
Ein from Cowboy Bebop
Oh, Ein. Sweet, sweet Ein. Where would the Cowboy Bebop team (especially Edward) be without this data dog? This super-intelligent corgi has all the charm of a pup and all the computing power of a… well… a computer. He’s the best of all worlds.
Now we just have one question: Which lucky corg will play Ein in the upcoming live-action Cowboy Bebop?
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Hampus Eckerman, Mike Kennedy JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Darren Garrison.]
I got the impression from:
That this wasn’t the first time she’d organised a Broad Universe event with male writers. I’m not really sure why it would be a shock, otherwise.
Looking at the comments on fb it seems to be a membership issue. Previously BU had a two-tiered membership system (full and supporting) with full according benefits including access to events and space to sell on their con table etc, now (since 2013) there’s only full — and men with memberships are pretty upset at the idea of signing up for those benefits and being rendered ineligible.
It seems like bad design to me.
Heather Rose Jones: I’m also concerned that this might be the leading wedge of an “anti- programming focused on marginalized groups” campaign, similar to campaigns attacking affirmative action programs (without every concerning themselves with the still-entrenched bias that the AA programs were trying to counter).
Based on my reading of all of the publicly-available comment threads, there seem to be a lot of women who are active, supportive BU members and are upset to discover that what they thought were equal memberships are not — not that they are upset about BU’s actual goals. This sounds like a communication problem that has developed over a period of at least several years to me, not an attempt to sabotage affirmative action efforts. Gail Z. Martin, a very well-known author and vocal feminist is one of them, and I find it extremely unlikely that she would be part of an attempt to sabotage BU’s goals of promoting women authors.
This is being presented by some people as being started by a man throwing a tantrum — when in fact it was started when a woman was refused reimbursement by the governing body for promotional expenses for doing things she had been doing, and getting reimbursed for, for years. The guy’s comment (graceless as it might be) came in rather late in the discussion.
If the regional group’s practices have diverged over a period of years from what the main board was expecting, then it’s an issue of communication. I expect that some of the people who are upset will withdraw from the group, those who stay will have a refreshed understanding of what’s expected, and the group’s activities will go on as usual once things settle down.
I definitely think allowing men to pay for a membership THEN barring them from the benefits of membership is a messed up system by any balance. What the answer is is beyond me; I still think one (cis) man at an event doesn’t undermine its feminist bent any more than one woman doesn’t undo the effects of a massive testosterone fest, but I also don’t want to see a group intended to promote women swamped with men demanding their place at the table.
And if there’s been a token dude at the table before, then this is a case of needing the rules clarified long term and not decided on a whim or based on who happens to get the invoice.