‘Bayonetta’ Voice Actress Calls For A Boycott Over ‘Insulting’ $4,000 Pay Offer

Bayonetta fans were shocked this weekend after voice actress Hellena Taylor revealed why she isn’t returning for Bayonetta 3. After voicing the title character in the first two Bayonetta games, she says she turned down the role because PlatinumGames offered her an “insulting” $4,000 for the job.

In a series of three videos posted to Twitter, Taylor explained that this pay offer was an insult to her years of training and experience as a voice actress. Urging fans to boycott Bayonetta 3, she said, “I decided to do it to stand up in solidarity with people all over the world who do not get paid properly for their talents.”

“I am not afraid of the nondisclosure agreement,” she added. “I can’t even afford to run a car. What are they going to do, take my clothes? Good luck to them.” Connecting her lack of financial security to the wider cost of living crisis in Britain (her home country), she criticized “fat cats” who “cream off the top and leave us the rotten crumbs.”

Taylor ended the statement with a message to the new Bayonetta voice actress Jennifer Hale: “I wish her all the joy in the world, I wish her all the jobs, but she has no right to say she is the voice of Bayonetta.” When Hale was announced as her replacement earlier this month, PlatinumGames simply said that Taylor was unable to record the role due to “various overlapping circumstances.”

Jennifer Hale, a prolific and well-known figure in the voice-acting community, responded with her own statement on Monday. “I support every actor’s right to be paid well and have advocated consistently for this for years,” she wrote. “I am under an NDA and am not at liberty to speak regarding this situation. My reputation speaks for itself.”

While there’s a lot of outcry aimed at PlatinumGames and Nintendo due to Taylor’s statement, others in the voice acting community also spoke out in support of Hale, defending her history of union support and pointing out that actors are not the people with power in this situation.

The response from Bayonetta creator Hideki Kamiya was much less circumspect. Kamiya is known for having a rather combative style on Twitter, blocking people at the drop of a hat. When he subtweeted about Hellena Taylor’s statement, he seemed to imply that she was lying about the situation, saying, “Sad and deplorable about the attitude of untruth.”

According to Axios, Taylor’s claim of a $4,000 pay offer corresponds with the SAG/AFTRA union minimum for four days of voice acting work. However, it still seems like a shockingly low number for the lead actor in such a lucrative, high-profile game—especially when her performance was integral to the previous two installments.

This scandal is the latest in a string of similar controversies around low pay in the voice-acting industry. Among actors who voice English-language anime dubs, there’s a lot of concern over the anime distributor Crunchyroll allegedly offering shockingly low wages and refusing to cooperate with union guidelines. Some voice actors report being paid as little as $150 to voice the lead role in a major movie, with no royalty payments or bonuses attached to box office success.

Meanwhile, this outcry coincides with a growing backlash against celebrities like Chris Pratt taking high-profile voice roles. It’s widely assumed that these A-listers are paid far more than specialized voice actors, without displaying the same level of skill. In turn, fans are increasingly aware of pay equity issues across the animation and videogame industries, meaning Hellena Taylor’s statement arrived at precisely the right time to spark backlash against Nintendo and PlatinumGames.

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