Chris Sabat, the popular voice actor most well known for providing the voice of Vegeta in Dragon Ball related media, has been accused of not only fostering a hostile work environment at Funimation, but also of using his position at Funimation to entice female voice actors to sleep with him in exchange for continued work.
The allegations first surfaced in a court filing related to the ongoing defamation lawsuit against Funimation, Monica Rial and Ron Toye, and Jamie Marchi by Dragon Ball Super: Broly voice actor Vic Mignogna. As part of Mignogna’s Plaintiff’s Response to Defendants’ TCPA Motions to Dismiss, Mignogna and his legal team included an affidavit by Dragon Ball voice actor Chuck Huber (Android 17) as supplemental evidence in support of Mignogna. In his affidavit, Huber notes that the first time in his career that he heard mention of Mignogna was in “2003 or 2004” through Sabat, who was disparaging Mignogna due to his Christian faith, homophobically stereotyping Mignogna as gay, and accusing him of pedophilia without any concern for the alleged victims. (Related: Dragon Ball Super: Broly Voice Actor Vic Mignogna’s Attorney Ty Beard Files Motion to “Disregard Defendants’ Late Filings” And Faces Texas Bar Complaint)
“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.”
According to Huber, the work environment and his experience at Funimation was “unpleasant,” with certain individuals having their employment threatened if they “[fell] out of favor with certain people (including Chris Sabat)”:
“34. Senior Fumimation directors have described the work environment at Funimation to me as a “Den of Poison,” “Kafka Nightmare,” and “Orwellian Slave Factory.”
35. My experience working at Funimation was unpleasant. It is well known that if one falls out of favor with certain people (including Chris Sabat) or if one tries to do anything to change the working conditions, that person will not be rehired as a voice actor. I felt threatened with not being used as a voice actor in subsequent projects if I complained about the work environment.”
Most disturbing of Huber’s allegations, however, is that actresses employed by Funimation or Sabat’s company Okratron 5000 were fired from their roles for refusing sexual advances by employees while their replacements were subsequently hired based on their willingness to sleep with employees:
“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”
Though not specifically named, Sabat is later inferred to be a party to these disgusting practices, as Huber describes how Sabat is not only highly influential at Funimation and other studios, but that he performed a majority of the casting and recording related to Dragon Ball properties, with some employees even considering Sabat “to be a de facto manager at Funimation.” (Related: Date Set for Dismissal Hearings as Funimation Provides Supplemental Evidence in Ongoing Dragon Ball Super: Broly Voice Actor Vic Mignogna’s Defamation Lawsuit)
“45. Chris Sabat is the owner of Okratron5000 and is a voice actor at Funimation.
46. Chris Sabat did most of the casting and recording for the Dragonball Z properties including for the movie Dragonball Z: Super Broly.
47. Chris Sabat engaged in negotiations, either directly or through Funimation for various projects with TOEI, owner of the Dragonball Z properties.
48. The voice actors employed by Funimation generally consider Chris Sabat to be a de facto manager at Funimation and they believe his approval and support is vitally beneficial to succeeding at Funimation and the conventions and the converse regarding his disapproval.
49. Chris Sabat has more influence at Funimation and other studios, including Roosterteeth and Toei, than Vic has ever had in the Anime industry.”
Huber also states that he and his wife “fear direct, planned, and specific retaliation from Chris Sabat and those loyal to him in response to this affidavit that will be damaging to my reputation and career.” (Related: Major Donor Pulls Out of Fantasy Soft Entertainment Due to Company’s Support for Dragon Ball Super: Broly VA Vic Mignogna)
Following these allegations, an alleged direct message conversation between a fan and voice actress Stephanie Nadolny, the voice actress who formerly provided the voices of Kid Goku and Young/Teen Gohan throughout the Dragon Ball franchise, surfaced which appears to show Nadolny stating that Sabat has been “out to get me and make my life miserable” ever since she “turned down his advances”:
While Nadolny has not publicly commented on this screenshot, the likes of her Twitter profile are filled with tweets in support of Mignogna and that discuss the allegations against Sabat.
As of writing, both Sabat and Funimation have yet to respond publicly to the allegations. Sabat, though regularly active on his Twitter profile, has not made a tweet since August 22nd.