Three of the defendants in the ongoing defamation lawsuit brought by Dragon Ball Super: Broly voice actor Vic Mignogna have had a court date set for hearings regarding their motions to dismiss, with Funimation providing further supplemental evidence ahead of the hearing.
In recently submitted Notices of Hearing, submitted by attorney John Volney on behalf of Funimation and by attorney J. Sean Lemoine on behalf of Monica Rial and Ron Toye, a hearing date of September 6th, 2019 at 10:00 AM CST has been set for the defendants’ Motions to Dismiss under the Texas Citizens Participation Act. During the hearing, the defendants will argue that their statements regarding Mignogna are defended under the TCPA, as the defendants were exercising their right of free speech and association, and subsequently ask the court to dismiss Mignogna’s lawsuit. (Related: Funimation Files Motion to Dismiss, Monica Rial and Ron Toye File Notice of Litigation Hold in Dragon Ball Super: Broly Voice Actor Vic Mignogna’s Ongoing Lawsuit)
In addition to their Notice of Hearing, Funimation also filed two supplemental affidavits in support of their Motion to Dismiss, and in response to recent filings by Mignogna’s attorney, Ty Beard, to strike certain affidavits from the evidence record which Beard claims are based on “hearsay”. (Related: Dragon Ball Super: Broly Voice Actor Vic Mignogna’s Legal Team Files “Motions to Strike” Pieces of Funimation’s Evidence Due to “Hearsay”)
The first supplemental affidavit comes from Funimation Vice President of Operations, Karen Mika, who clarifies her role in Mignogna’s firing and reiterates Funimation’s claim that Jamie Marchi, Rial, and Mignogna were independent contractors rather than representatives of Funimation:
“On or about January 16, 2019, in my role as Vice President of Operations at Funimation, I was made aware of negative media and social media attention surrounding Vic Mignogna after the release of Dragon Ball Super: Broly. In my role as Funimation’s Vice President of Operations, I was responsible for directing Funimation’s Human Resources Manager Trina Simon to contact Sony Pictures Entertainment to request an investigation of Vic Mignogna, which Ms. Simon did. Because of mjob duties and my involvement in requesting the investigation of Vic Mignogna. Tammi Denbow reported the results of her investigation to me, and I was the person who made the decision to terminate Mr. Mignogna’s contract with Funimation as a result of the investigation. I was the person at Funimation who communicated Funimation’s decision to terminate him to Mr. Mignogna via telephone.
As state above, Jamie Marchi and Monica Rial provide voice acting services to Funimation from time to time on an independent contractor basis.
Funimation did not control or direct any of the Twitter or other social media posts made by Jamie Marchi or Monica Rial about Vic Mignogna. Nor did Funimation control or direct any other communications made by Jamie Marchi or Monica Rial about Vic Mignogna.”
The second comes from Senior Director of Public Relations at Funimation, Scott Barretto, who argues against Beard’s accusations of hearsay by providing details as to his role in communicating developments regarding Mignogna through Funimation’s Twitter account, while also taking a swing at fans who support the #IStandWithVic campaign:
“As I stated in my prior affidavit, allegations of misconduct against Mignogna began to receive media and social media attention in January 2019, with the publication of articles by Anime News Network and Polygon.com as well as tweets and social media posts from members of the anime community. Examples of such media attention were attached to my prior affidavit. During thie same time and through today, supports of Mignogna, many of whom adopted the hashtag #IStandWithVic, threatened and harassed members of the anime community wand others who supported the women who alleged misconduct by Mignogna, who used the hashtag #KickVic.
By late January, Funimation had received inquiries on social media and from the media whether Funimation intended to take any action or make any statement with respect to Mignogna. Due to the continued publicity surrounding Mignogna, including the allegations against him about inappropriate treatment of women referenced in the online media attached to my prior affidavit, Funimation decided to issue a short statement via Twitter regarding its decision to end its relationship with Mignogna, which Funimation did on Febuary 11, 2019. I drafted Funimation’s February 11, 2019 tweets in my role of Senior Director of Public Relations at Funimation. A true and correct copy of Funimation’s tweets are attached to Funimation’s TCPA Motion as Exhibit L. The purpose of the first tweet on February 11th was to inform the anime public of Funimation’s decision to end its relationship with Mignogna, which was a subject of public concern based on public attention paid to the Mignogna situation in the media and on social media. At the same time and in the same twitter thread, Funimation added the following sentence to its tweet: “Part of our core mission is to celebrate the diversity of the anime community and to share our love for this genre and to support its positive impact on all. We do not [condone] any kind of harassment or threatening behavior being directed at anyone.” The purpose of this additional tweet was to respond to the continued headed back-and-forth among anime fans about Mignogna and was an effort to encourage civility in the anime community. Funimation nowhere stated or implied in any of its tweets that Mignogna had engaged in any harassment or intimidation, sexual or otherwise. I am aware of the purpose of Funimation’s tweets because I drafted them for the company in my role of Senior Director of Public Relations.”