Hellena Taylor, the voice actress who previously starred as Bayonetta in the character-action series, issued a statement about why she won’t be returning for Bayonetta 3. In a series of videos on Twitter, she explained that after successfully re-auditioning for the role, she received a final offer of only $4,000 for the entire part.
She described this offer as an “insult” and said, “I didn’t ask for too much. I was just asking for a decent, dignified living wage. What they did was legal, but it was immoral.” Taylor detailed how she had trained for more than seven years in voice and acting training to prepare for these types of roles. In response, she has asked fans to boycott the upcoming game and donate the money they would have spent on the title to charity instead. She justified the call for a boycott as an effort to “stand up in solidarity with people all over the world who do not get paid properly for their talents.”
Revealing her struggles with anxiety and depression due to difficulties finding work in the acting industry, she said, “I’m not afraid of the Non-Disclosure Agreement. I can’t even afford to run a car, what are they going to do, take my clothes? Good luck to them.” Earlier this month, it was announced that Jeniffer Hale, a well-known voice actress who played Command Shephard in Mass Effect, would be taking over as the star of the third game. PlatinumGames had said this switch was partially made by ”various overlapping circumstances,” such as scheduling, which Taylor has refuted.
While PlatinumGames has not officially denied these allegations, Bayonetta 3’s executive director Hideki Kamiya responded on Twitter saying, “Sad and deplorable about the attitude of untruth. That’s what all I can tell now. By the way, BEWARE OF MY RULES.” The last bit likely refers to his infamous Twitter rules, where he blocks people he describes as “brainless insects,” such as those who reply to him in languages other than Japanese. Yesterday, Kamiya’s Twitter account was temporarily deleted, but is back up now.
Voice actress Cissy Jones gave additional context about voice acting rates, explaining that under a US SAG-AFTRA union contract, $4,000 would be the equivalent of about four four-hour sessions, and implied that this would not be enough time to fully voice the main character of a game. She also pointed out that rates for reprising a role would generally be higher than the baseline. Other voice actors like Sean Chiplock explained they received around $2,000 to $3,000 for voicing side characters in Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
This case of alleged low pay with Taylor mirrors other woes in the voice acting industry, such as how a voice actress was reportedly paid only $150 by Crunchyroll for working on the English Dub of Jujustu Kaisen 0, a film that grossed over $30 million in the US and close to $180 million worldwide. Similarly, Crunchyroll is in the midst of an ongoing union dispute after the lead voice actor for Mob Psycho 100, Kyle McCarley, announced he wouldn’t reprise the role of Mob because the company refuses to negotiate even the possibility of working with SAG-AFTRA union contracts. This refusal to negotiate was met with calls to boycott the anime streaming service.