The English cast of Dragon Ball have been reeling from leaked audio of some of the franchise’s veteran voice talent making obscene jokes while in character, but the saga has begun to unfold into darker territory as allegations of abuse have piled on for voice actor Chris Sabat who is most well-known for his portrayal of Vegeta in the long-running series. Sabat currently works as a voice actor and director at Funimation, a company that localizes anime for Western markets.
In an affidavit released in recent court filings for a related lawsuit, fellow voice actor Chuck Huber (known for his role as Android 17 in the series) outlined several credible examples of Chris Sabat’s alleged behavior – ranging from belittling co-worker Vic Mignogna for his Christian faith, to making homophobic statements about Mignogna, and even creating an environment of sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. Huber states:
“7. I have been a voice actor for Okratron5000, a company owned by Chris Sabat, since 2004 and have been an employee of Deep Space Mustache, a film company founded by Chris Sabat, during 2012-2013.
11. The first time I heard Vic’s name was in a conversation in 2003 or 2004 with Chris Sabat. This occurred while I was recording for a Funimation property at Okratron5000.
12. In that conversation, Chris Sabat verbally disparaged Vic’s Christian faith and speculated that Vic was “actually gay” based on the way he dressed.
13. In that conversation, Chris Sabat stated that Vic was a pedophile who liked “little girls”. Despite these statements, he did not express concerns about risks to fans, which I thought was odd.
18. In virtually all conversations I had with these voice actors when Vic was not present, disparaging remarks were made about Vic. Typical statements included “he’s a prima dona, he’s a douche, he’s a diva, his clothes are gay,” plus comments of his purported infidelity, dislike of his conservative Christian beliefs and personal attacks for his support of Donald Trump. All of these comments were made at one time or another by Monica Rial, Jamie Marchi, Chris Sabat, and others. All of them, however, conceded his ability to do his job.
Huber went on to describe his experience working with Sabat at Funimation, saying that he and others often felt threatened if they spoke out against the toxic work conditions. However, the most distressing of the allegations came later in the affidavit, where Huber alleges that actresses working under Sabat were pressured into sexual favors in exchange for roles. Women who refused were allegedly removed from their roles:
41. When the Dragonball Kai was being recorded in 2007, I heard rumors that actresses had been recast at Funimation for refusing sexual advances by Funimation employees. I consider these rumors credible based on my experience working at Funimation and from direct messages received from a former DBZ cast member.
42. I also heard that actresses who participated in sex with Funimation/Okatron5000 employees were cast in roles. I consider these rumors credible based on my experience working at Funimation”
Huber later states that he and his wife fear retaliation from Chris Sabat in response to the affidavit. Nonetheless, his allegations have gained more credibility as details emerge.
Voice actress Stephanie Nadolny, who previously provided the voices of Kid Goku and Gohan throughout the Dragon Ball franchise, allegedly said that Sabat has been “out to get me and make my life miserable” ever since she “turned down his advances” in a text conversation with a fan:
It is important to note that the actress was replaced at the time the alleged texts claim she turned down Sabat’s advances.
Sabat has unequivocally denied all accusations against him. He released a statement earlier today, saying “The recent allegations of sexual misconduct at Funimation and OkraTron 5000 are deeply disturbing and completely without merit. These libelous statements are based on groundless rumors and are meant to defame me and my company. Never in my career spanning two decades did I ever witness or participate in such conduct.”
The lawsuit which spanned the original affidavit will proceed in a Texas court on September 6.