Author’s Note – Update: The original headline of this article, Dragon Ball Super Voice Actor Monica Rial’s Initial Story Remains Consistent, did not accurately reflect the contents of the story. The use of the term “consistent” was solely in reference to her deposition statements being similar to the very first recollection of the alleged assault posted to her Twitter account and was not meant as an endorsement or vindication of Rial. The author accepts that a poor word choice has caused confusion, apologizes profusely, and has updated the title and article accordingly.
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Following Ron Toye and Vic Mignogna, Dragon Ball Super voice actor Monica Rial has given her deposition in the ongoing defamation lawsuit brought against her by Mignogna.
Giving her deposition to Carey Christie, a member of the Beard Harris Bullock Huges law firm and Mignogna’s legal team who was chastised during Toye’s deposition by Rial and Toye’s attorney Casey S. Erick, Rial’s deposition begins with a standard discussion of Rial’s background, with Christie confirming facts presented by Rial, such as her work history and social media accounts. While discussing Monica Rial’s employment with Funimation, Rial notes that Funimation does not regularly provide employees with updated company policies (1:18:13)*:
*Please note that all transcripts have time codes which correspond to the below deposition video, provided by Nick Rekieta.
Christie: Are there any written policies for Funimation that you receive?
Rial: I don’t quite understand what you mean by “written policies”.
Christie: So like, like an employee manual or anything that kinda tells you what they expect of you?
Rial: If there was, I would’ve received it when I started, so I surely don’t have that anymore, but they do have their posted things all over the building explaining different policies, where to exit if there’s an emergency, that kind of stuff.
An Issue for Funimation
According to attorney Nick Rekieta, who has been streaming the depositions of all parties involved in the lawsuit exclusively on his YouTube channel, this could be an issue for Funimation, as:
“Monica and Ron have both said that there was an investigation, they had facts, testimony, mountains of evidence, and that’s why he was fired. But if they don’t have an employee handbook with discernable policies about sexual harassment, and they didn’t fire him for cause according to the terms of his contract, then what did they fire him for?”
Later in the deposition, Rial recalls, through tears, the alleged hotel room assault perpetrated upon her by Mignogna in the mid-2000s (1:42:29):
Rial: Sunday, when they all left, Stan Dolan, the convention chair had said, you know, “we’re going to all go out to dinner with the staff and we’d like for you guys to go. And we agreed and then Vic said “Hey, can you come by my hotel room? There’s something I want to show you.” I think it was the Fullmetal Fantasy film that he had done, his fan film. And so I went to his hotel room, because like I said, I had been flirting with Rawly [Pickens] all weekend and [Mignogna] was dating a friend of mine named Michele Specht. So I went with him to the hotel room. He played for me the video and, in the middle of the video, he grabbed me by the arms and he turned me around and he started kissing me and I was raped when I was 15 years old, and so, for me, it was a very difficult moment.
I was frightened, I was scared, I didn’t know what to do. When I was 15 I had fought back and that didn’t end well for me, so I just kinda went along with it, knowing any minute Stan would open the door, and he kept kissing me and kinda pushed me back on to the bed and actually got on top of me and I still have a very visual, like a nightmare, actually, the feeling of looking at the door and thinking “How do I get out of this? How do I get out of there without ruining the friendship we had built?” And then Stan came to the door, and when Stan came to the door, he jumped up and ran to the door and I kinda covered my face, because being pale, if anything’s happening you can see it all over my face. Stan came in, he asked me as we were leaving, you know, “Are you okay?” I said “Oh yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” and just kind of kept covering my face.
We went to dinner, I don’t recall where we went or what was spoken about because I think I was in shock the whole time. And when we came back, outside of [Mignogna’s] room there was this little patio, and he was standing on the patio and he called Michele. He put me on the phone with Michele, and that was hard for me because she was a friend of mine. I remember that being the moment I talked to Michele, I said goodnight, and then I went to my room, and that was it.
Rial’s recollection is similar to the story first presented by Rial on her Twitter account, but is not without inconsistencies, such as Rial initially stating that she was merely kissed by Mignogna, but later stating in her deposition that Mignogna also forced himself upon her after forcing Rial onto the bed of the hotel room.
Monica Rial Addresses Mignona’s Delivery
Concerning Mignogna’s behavior and alleged actions of sexual harassment towards Rial, Rial identifies that it is not necessarily the face-value actions which give her pause for concern, but rather Mignogna’s “delivery.” This is first mentioned when Rial discusses how certain ‘pet names’ Mignogna would call her made her uncomfortable (1:53:24):
Rial: I mentioned the names, you know, like the different pet names that I felt were a little condescending. Things like that.
Christie: If I may ask, what were the pet names?
Rial: Uh, you know, honey, baby, sweet cheeks, silly little things like that, dependent upon delivery can be very condescending and uncomfortable.
Christie: You know, we live in Texas, and a lot of men will call women ‘honey’ and ‘sweetie’. Was there a difference in the way it was said?
Rial: The delivery. A lot of times it was said with hands running through hair, or touching the face, or sometimes it was whispered in the ear. So, yeah, the delivery is what made it feel…it wasn’t just your high school coach going “Buck up, sweetie.”, it was a totally different delivery.
It is cited again as Rial recounts the infamous “jelly bean” story and is asked by Christie if she laughed during this interaction (1:58:12):
Christie: When this happened did you laugh?
Rial: I laughed kind of…but not a “oh my gosh that’s humorous” laugh, more of a “I can’t believe you just said that in front of these people” and also the fact that when he delivered the “I just want to be able to say I ate Monica Rial” [line], again, it was the delivery. It wasn’t like he just said it, he actually was touching my face and pulling me towards him when he said it.
Christie goes on ask Rial to confirm a Tweet she had made wherein she referred to Mignogna as “the legal definition of harassment,” to which Rial confirms she did tweet it, but that the message was miscommunicated due to a typo (2:38:00):
Christie: What is this?
Rial: It is my tweet.
Christie: No one else tweeted this?
Christie. Okay. And did you tweet, on February 11th at 8:09 PM that Vic was the legal definition of harassment?
Rial: That was not my intent, there was a typo, I didn’t even realize I had accidentally said “he’s the legal definition”, I meant to say “here’s the legal definition of harassment”, and I didn’t realize it was a typo until I was sent my takedown notices.
Monica Rial reinforces her claim that she does not want to “ruin Vic’s life.” She notes that she does not know “how or if it’s damaged” but knows that she “participated” in this effect upon his life. While Rial believes Mignogna could return to the industry if he “would apologize, seek counseling, and seek help […] and laid low for a while,” she also states that she would support Mignogna losing his career in the pursuit of a safe work environment:
Christie: Do you believe that Vic should lose a 20 year career?
Rial: I believe that actors deserve a safe work environment and if that has to be the outcome, then yes.