Why I Chose to #KickVic

Why I Chose to #KickVic

Image for postImage by Kirsten Candelore

To the common anime fan, Vic Mignogna was a kindhearted, loving, and affectionate soul. He manages to bring in crowds upon crowds of fans to meetups, convention panels and has gained a massive following due to his success in the anime dubbing community.

To some, he was something much worse: a harasser to colleagues, convention staff, and under-aged fan-girls.

As of mid-January of this year, the 56-year-old voice actor has been accused of harassing numerous women and children in his career. Claims of these occurrences have gone back as far as 2010 but have started to gain traction due to the recent theatrical release of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, in which Mignogna voices the titular character.

Many of the stories involve Mignogna acting flirtatiously towards his fans (groping, fondling, etc.) without their consent, especially when some were underaged. As more and more stories became prevalent, the hashtag #KickVic started to make its rounds online.

I almost was one of the people who threw their hat in the ring. However, I decided to hold my tongue until decisions were made before deciding to tackle my stance on the issue.

Here we are now.

As you all might have guessed, I am choosing to #KickVic for both mine and numerous others? experiences.

In my past, I have only had one physical interaction with him because of the actions taken on his part. Since then, I?ve always had this very off-putting feeling about him. I would grow uncomfortable with his voice, I felt like I really couldn?t enjoy anything his voice was prominent in, which was what made me switch to the original Japanese dubbed versions of anime in my younger years.

His voice is what made me dislike certain characters that I would have loved had they been voiced by others.

When I met Vic, I had just turned 14. My parents decided to give me a ticket to go to Orlando?s comic convention: Megacon. I had been ecstatic to go just because of Vic?s appearance and I was such a huge fan at the time due to his roles as Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, Spirit in Soul Eater, and Tamaki Suoh in Ouran High School Host Club.

The moment I had arrived with my dad, I asked to stand in line to meet Vic. I didn?t want to walk around and take in the convention experience, no, I just wanted to meet the guy I had asked to see. After much reluctance, he had dropped me off at the signing area.

Immediately, we noticed that Mignogna?s line was mobbed, as was the norm of any of his appearances at conventions.

My dad only told me that he?ll be walking around and for me to stay by the line when I was finished and to text him. All I said was ?OK? and thanked him for letting me do it my way.

God, I wish he didn?t.

An hour passed and I had soon made it to the front of the line. I could already feel my heart rate increasing the closer and closer I had gotten to the voice actor. He was really right there and I was meeting him. It felt like a dream!

The moment of truth finally came after a few more minutes of waiting. I was greeted with a warm smile and an immediate hug from the man. His hold seemed tight. I felt slightly suffocated being pressed completely against him, but I didn?t care back then.

?Hi there, sweetie,? Mignogna said, ?How are you doing today??

I managed to stutter out a reply of ?I?m really good? or something along those lines, obviously starstruck by the man before me.

We chatted for a little bit, mainly me gushing over his voice and how big of a fan I was. In an instant, I would burst out how it was my birthday and I got to meet him as a present.

I recall his face lighting up as he immediately asked, ?Would you like me to sing you ?Happy Birthday?, sweetie??

How could I say no at that point? I nodded quickly.

I was then pulled to him, my body pushed completely against his own. His hand rested below my waist. I froze, but still remained calm as best I could. Thoughts ran through my head: he?s touching me there… Oh my god, is this a small mistake? This is embarrassing. I DON?T like this.

Yet, I sat there and just took it.

He began to sing, pressing his mouth close to my ear, calling me his ?princess? as he sang. Alarms were going off in my head; why couldn?t I retract myself from him? I acted embarrassed, making it seem like I liked it, yet internally, I felt like crying.

I didn?t want to cause a scene in front of the numerous fans behind me, nor any convention goers around it. While it was silly to think at the time, I feared I?d get thrown out of the con, so I just took it.

The moment he pulled away, he kissed me on my cheek, and I left with a quiet farewell.

Since that day, I really have disliked the thought of Mignogna around me and any people that spoke highly of him online. I always thought that I was the odd one out and that this had only happened to me, but as of recent events, I was wrong.

I sympathized with these people who spoke up about their experiences and only supported them, ignoring the opposing hashtag that had made its rounds along with #KickVic: #IStandWithVic.

With the rise of these hashtags, it only prompted Vic to respond on his Twitter with an apology.

Image for postCredit to @vicmignogna on Twitter

Yet, this reply came with numerous cosplayers and voice actresses speaking up against him. Jessie Pridemore, a famous online cosplayer posted her own experience with Mignogna on her Facebook. She speaks of how she was taken advantage of while drunk at a convention by two unnamed, but well-known voice actors. Rumors made its way to Vic, who assaulted her by pulling on her hair and insinuating that the only reason she liked a certain anime because of the voice actor who had sex with her was in it. This prompted Pridemore to run away in tears.

Like many others, Pridemore never spoke out because of the backlash that she might face had she done it immediately. ?I know this will probably tarnish me getting invited to cons. It?s why I started moving away from working for anime companies. I?ve become really good at ignoring shitty people over the years. But it is long past time that this comes out to light,? Pridemore wrote.

Along with this story, Jamie Marchi, a voice actress who has worked closely with Mignogna took to Twitter to tell her story.

?As [Mignogna and I] said hello, he stood to the side of me and started running his fingers through my hair. Now, I do work in an affectionate industry; we hug a lot, and on occasion, will give a kiss on the cheek. But even for an affectionate environment, this felt off,? Marchi wrote.

Marchi spoke of how Mignogna pulled her hair and whispered something sexual. Marchi pushed it to the back of her mind until recently when others spoke about his actions.

?Some dismissed it, like me. Others felt too ashamed or scared to say anything. I struggle with the guilt I feel for having been so dismissive of his actions. Had I been able to speak up then, maybe less women would have had to experience what happened when they were unable to get out of Vic?s grasp,? Marchi wrote.

Since then, Mignogna has been facing the backlash with being fired from two prominent entertainment companies (RoosterTeeth and Funimation) and banned from numerous conventions.

While some continue to stand with Mignogna, more choose to oppose him and celebrate the voice actor?s termination. I am one of those people.

I do believe people deserve second chances in life, but when someone has been getting away with actions such as these for so long, I can only hope their career is sullied from now on. Mignogna can apologize all he wants, but I will always see him as a disgusting creep from my experience and the allegations that have made light.

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