Renowned voice actor Jennifer Hale, known for her role as Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series and the new voice of action character Bayonetta, released a statement in response to the discourse following Bayonetta’s former voice actress claiming she wasn’t offered a living wage by PlatinumGames to reprise her role as the Umbran witch.
Over the weekend, Hellena Taylor, the original voice actor for PlatinumGames stylish hack-and-slash series, Bayonetta, uploaded four videos to her official Twitter account claiming PlatinumGames offered her an “insulting” flat rate of $4,000 to reprise her role as Bayonetta. It should be noted that Bayonetta 3 also features an entire coven of Bayonettas from alternate timelines, for which Taylor would have also presumably been asked to record lines. In the videos, Taylor requested that fans boycott the game and instead donate their money to charity.
Prior to Taylor speaking out, PlatinumGames told Game Informer that the replacement of Taylor for Hale was due to “various overlapping circumstances” that made it “difficult” for Taylor to play Bayonetta once again. Taylor says that she wrote to Hideki Kamiya, executive director of the game, to plead her case, which is when PlatinumGames sent her the “immoral” offer to perform all her work on the game for only $4,000.
In her tweets, Taylor mentioned she was breaking her NDA agreement with PlatinumGames by speaking out. After the suicidal ideation, depression, and anxiety she experienced during a period with little work, Taylor said she has nothing left to lose.
“I am 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,” Taylor said in a tweet.
Today, Hale addressed the Bayonetta controversy in a tweet.
“I am under NDA and am not at liberty to speak regarding this situation. My reputation speaks for itself,” Hale wrote. “I sincerely ask that everyone keep in mind that this game has been created by an entire team of hard-working, dedicated people and I hope everyone will keep an open mind about what they’ve created.”
As a longtime member of the voice acting community, Hale said she believes in “every actor’s right to be paid well” reaffirmed her “great respect” for her peers, and mentioned the years of advocacy she’s undertaken in the field.
“Finally, I hope that everyone involved may resolve their differences in an amicable and respectful way,” she said.
Kotaku’s reached out to Hale and Taylor for comment.
Prior to Hale’s post, fellow voice actor Yong Yea tweeted about the high likelihood that Hale had not been made privy to Taylor’s situation with Platinum before she took on the role of Bayonetta. Yea’s tweet includes screenshots of Hale liking tweets which suggested that NDAs prevented her from weighing in fully.
“Direct your frustrations at the companies and decision makers,” Yea wrote.
While fans wrestled with whether or not they’d adhere to Taylor’s boycott wishes come Bayonetta 3’s release, PlatinumGames’ Kamiya had his Twitter account temporarily deleted and suspended after mass-blocking people asking him about Taylor’s allegation. He’s back now, but has locked his account so no one can reply to his tweets.
Bayonetta 3 is slated to release on October 28 on the Nintendo Switch.
Update 10/18/22 9:00 p.m. Since publication, new reportage has come to light claiming that Hellena Taylor was offered a larger sum for her prospective work on Bayonetta 3 than she originally claimed in her videos.