Vic Mignogna’s response on the petition to cast a different voice actor for Free! Eternal Summer

Vic Mignogna at MCM Birmingham (Nov 2014 - 3)

Free-Eternal Summer-RinWhen the voice cast for the English dub of Free! Eternal Summer was announced by FUNimation Entertainment, not everyone reacted positively to the news. In particular, some were not keen on the casting decision of Vic Mignogna to voice the character Rin Matsuoka.

Someone even went so far as to start a Change.Org petition to FUNimation requesting that they “cast a different voice actor for Rin Matsuoka” because “Vic Mignogna has a history of being homophobic and rude to fans who ask him to sign homoromantic fanart.”

At November’s MCM Birmingham Comic Con an attendee decided to raise the petition with Vic himself.

“I’m reading this now guys,” said Vic, as he picked up the attendee’s phone and read out the opening line in the petition for those that did not know about it, which said, “Vic Mignogna is openly homophobic.”

“What the hell does that mean?” said Vic to the audience.

What follows is Vic’s response to the petition as spoken during his panel at MCM Birmingham Comic Con.

“Because I refuse to sign yaoi, that means I’m openly homophobic. Did you know that? Is that what that means to you? Because I don’t sign that? No, I’m not at all. I’m not the least bit. Are you looking in my eyes? I’m going to do my best to look in the eyes of everybody here. I am not the least bit homophobic. That is a vicious, mean-spirited lie, okay. You think you can help me maybe dispel that a little bit on the Internet? That is garbage and you know where that comes from? It comes from mean-spirited children who are desperate for some attention and they get on the Internet and they say mean things about people, because they want attention. Because every time that has ever been raised, some more… how shall we say… fair-minded people say, ‘Well where’s the proof? Show me proof.’ (pointing) Look at all the video cameras that are rolling, all over, at hundreds of conventions. I’ve never behaved meanly toward anybody. I’ve never spoken anything meanly. There is no reason to believe that.

I’m going to say exactly what happens. Somebody comes up to me and gives me a naked picture of Roy Mustang and Edward Elric making out, and they want me to sign it. Do you think I throw it in their face and cuss them out? Of course not. You know what I do, I go, ‘Ooh sweetie, I’d really rather not sign that, but I’d be happy to sign something else.’ Ipso facto, I’m homophobic. That’s where it comes from. Isn’t that sad? It’s sad that there are people out there that are so mean-spirited. And you know what’s really sad to me… I’m sorry she got me on this little rant, but I need to share this with you. Do you know how many e-mails I get from kids who are bullied? (to the audience) How many of you have ever been bullied? (everyone in the audience has their hand raised) Look around the room for a minute. I get hundreds of e-mails from fans who talk about being bullied. If there was ever a fanbase… don’t get mad Vic… if there was ever a fanbase where you should be accepted, and the people in the fanbase should understand what it’s like to be bullied and hated on, it should be the anime industry, wouldn’t you think? Wouldn’t you think the people that are bullied, the people that are outcasts, the people that are treated poorly and ostracised at school for being a little weird, don’t you think those are the people they should sympathise? Those are the last people in the world that should be hating. Don’t you think? Those are the last people in the world that should be calling people mean names and bullying somebody else.

The vast majority of the anime world is full of wonderful people like you. Positive, enthusiastic, you share your love and your passion with different people, and then there’s just this very small group of people. But the problem is that small group of people makes a lot of noise. Will you help me with something? You guys, be a voice for good. Isn’t that a great idea? Be a voice for positivity. Be a voice of encouragement. Don’t be one of those people, that [go], ‘I’m gonna post hateful things because it will get me some attention and I’m gonna stir up a lot of trouble for this person.’ There are a lot of voice actors that don’t sign unlicensed things. Did you know that? Clearly, that kind of stuff is not licensed, in other words it’s not canon, it’s not part of the official release of the anime. But it’s so difficult when you interact with thousands of people around the world and you try your best to be nice to them, try your best to be kind, generous, open, enthusiastic. But there are some people that if you don’t do exactly what they want…if you don’t do everything they want, they go back to their house and they get on their computer and they post mean things about you. It’s sad. Because you guys can understand how hurtful that is. It makes me more sad than angry. It really hurts my feelings, because I love you guys. You’ll find a hundred videos, maybe more, of how much I love and appreciate you guys and your kindness and your enthusiasm for the work that I’ve been doing for 17 years. And then you see something like that, and you think ‘Why so hateful?’ It makes me sad.”

You can see the video of Vic’s response during his panel at MCM Birmingham Comic Con below.

Amid this a YouTube user by the name of ‘GregSnazzyGamer’ uploaded a video titled ‘An Open Apology To: Vic Mignogna, FUNimation, Professional Voice Actors, and the Free! Fandom.’ Describing himself as an aspiring voice actor Greg states in the video to have done “one of the most hypocritical things” by signing the petition and starting “very horrible Tumblr posts” about the situation. Greg said his reason behind what he did was because “the voice actor I wanted to be Rin wasn’t Rin.”

In the video Greg apologises, claiming that what he did was a “knee-jerk reaction” and that it was something he should not have done. “I’m sorry for being one of the many negative people,” he says “I’m sorry to anyone who is either personally or professionally affected by this.”

Vic himself viewed and responded to the video, saying, “What you said took a lot of courage and maturity, and I have the greatest respect and appreciation for you…I will give Rin every ounce of love and skill that I possess to do the best job I possibly can for you and the other fans of Free!. Your apology is humbly accepted.”

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16 Comments

  1. Rhiannon Grace says:

    Bloody hell, I didn’t realise that my question to Vic caused such a buzz! I’m really glad that it actually made a few people think and even one to publicly apologise (well done – that takes courage!) about the matter. I’m really glad I managed to ask him about the matter now!

  2. GregSnazzyGamer says:

    Welp guess my apology video is on here. Still extremely ashamed that that video had to even be a thing in the first place.

    • KitaKita says:

      Aw Greg, it’s chill, man. You did a respectable thing. 🙂 I only hope other people follow in your footsteps and own up to what they’ve done. A lot of healing starts from that.

  3. Kasia Szczepaniec says:

    people really need to get over this, seriously, especially when vic posted of himself with a red wig and shark sweater, theres a post of a bitch who burns the pic. people, GET OVER IT! funimation owns the rights, OWN THE RIGHTS! THEY choose who they want to play the characters! its THEIR decision! if ur really a fan of free, either get the fuck over it or just dont watch the dub, SIMPLE! is that so hard to understand? do u people need a slap in the face with a fish? JUST DONT WATCH THE DUB IF U DONT LIKE THE CASTING CHOICE! i am personally interested to see how vic does rin becus i wasnt sure who could pull rin off. so i am interested to see how he does becus i look to him on a PROFESSIONAL level. i dont care if he really is homophobic or not, i care more on his WORK and more people should respect for who he is if they want to be respected back!

  4. Shay says:

    Geez this makes me sad. He’s a great voice actor. He shouldn’t sign non-cannon work, it represents the show which has writers and animators and other voices and if he puts his name on it, people will instantly go to the internet with “this is going to be cannon, see” posts. So I totally see where he is coming from. And I love yaoi, like love love it. But there are things you should take into account when you are told no.

  5. Val says:

    Soooo, is no one gonna discuss another big reason people don’t want him to voice Rin? Like the fact that he just doesn’t fit the part at all, he has little no voice differentiation– oh, and the multiple reports of really creepy behavior towards underage fans of works he’s previously acted in? Free! has a fan base of primarily teenage girls, and I am not comfortable with Funimation putting a man who has been repeatedly reported as acting inappropriately towards young girls on a project with such a large adolescent fan base.

    • Nicole Morgan says:

      Has anyone provided any evidence that anything ‘creepy’ happened. I always see this pattern occur:

      Jackass: Vince is a homophobe! (insert rant here)

      Reasonable Person: Not wanting to sign yaoi fanart isn’t Homophobia (explains)

      Jackass: O…oh yeah… well, uh, well, I heard he likes little girls!

      Gee, funny, if anything had ever seriously happened with him trying to predate on an underage girl, I think that would be a bigger deal that some yaoi fangirl getting butt blasted over someone not sharing her fucking interests. It’s not hard for people with agendas to make up stories. Give us a single shred of evidence.

  6. Slipper says:

    Jesus Christ, disliking yaoi does NOT make you homophobic. Leave Vic the fuck alone. Their petition won’t change anything.

  7. Andy Roo Culberson says:

    Vic Mignogna could be a politician. Notice how he talked around the issues, more than the issue it’s self.

    Yeah, I remember signing that petition. I’m not upset over him enough to start boycotting anime he is in. I think his a great voice actor and has worked in a lot of my favorite anime, but for this one, he should be replaced. Free! is a Yaoi. err or I guess Shounen-Ai might be a better tag since it’s more about hints. So the majority of the fans are going to be yaoi fans.If he has issues signing same-sex romance pictures, this is just the worst project for him to be apart of. I can only assume that he signed the contract before reading anything about the show.

    quote
    “”I’m going to say exactly what happens. Somebody comes up to me and gives
    me a naked picture of Roy Mustang and Edward Elric making out, and they
    want me to sign it. Do you think I throw it in their face and cuss them
    out? Of course not. You know what I do, I go, ‘Ooh sweetie, I’d really
    rather not sign that, but I’d be happy to sign something else.’”

    Understandable. He wants to keep his name attached to truth in the show. But Free! is gay. Refusing to sign fanart for Free! is offensive to the fans. If he is not 100% comfortable with it, he is doing the show a disserves.

    • leepicshitposter says:

      Liking yaoi is not normal and fags that like that shit should kill themselves. Free is not gay its a manly show about friendship between boys, not about faggots making out and fucking each other in the ass d=)

      • Andy Roo Culberson says:

        Just because I declined (and in a respectful way I might add) to not let you go down on me in the bathroom at Taco Bell the other night, dose not mean you need to lash out in such an obscene way. It was not you, it was me. I had just eaten two soft tacos and I think the meat was a little undercooked. I was not feeling my best that night. I’m sure you give amazing oral, I was just not in the mood in that moment and it would have been disrespectful of me to allow you to preform you’re art on my member on a night that I could not fully appreciate you’re talents.
        I’ll text you later with a time and location, and we can give it another go.

        • Jojochara says:

          Lmao did u legit just write that for the guy up there wtf, free is not shonen ai or yaoi, not even close. It’s pretty typical relationship wise of sports anime, they never did anything that was solidly hinted homosexual, heck even the writer who wrote free (high speed) didn’t confirm anything, it’s just a show about healing old friendships and feeling the water and comradery, no joke that’s like the whole show.

          • Abby M says:

            Agreed. The thing with a large amount of anime including multiple boys is that they won’t be gay, there will not even be any hints of homosexuality, but fans will force their headcanons on them being homosexual. And what happens is that once the writers hear of it they /may/ give the tiniest bit of fanservice, not enforce homosexuality, but keep their fanbase. The fans will then gulp up the fanservice. They’re given an inch and go a mile

    • Nicole Morgan says:

      First off, not liking Yaoi doesn’t make someone homophobic. People do not have to share the same porn preference as you. Grow the fuck up.

      You are the one acting like a real bigot. Vic never even said he had a problem with homosexual characters or people, all he did was refuse to put his name on creepy slash art, and that is his right. Stop being such an entitled brat. Lets consider for a moment that Roy is a grown man and Ed is a minor, for example. Oh gee, that’s not ‘problematic’ at all! /sarcasm

  8. Joe McDicksmack says:

    Is it true that Vic Mignogna is a great big cock sucking faggot?

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