Former Bayonetta voice actress Hellena Taylor has clarified initial claims that she was only offered $4,000 for reprising her role in Bayonetta 3, while simultaneously damning reports that refuted her original allegations.
The whole thing kicked off earlier this month (opens in new tab)when Taylor released a series of videos on Twitter. In them, she said that she received a “final offer” of a flat sum of $4,000 to return as the voice of Bayonetta for this year’s upcoming threequel. In a subsequent video, she implied that she had originally received a different offer which she called “insulting,” ultimately declining the role.
She failed to mention whether that offer was higher or lower than the final one received, but a follow-up report by Bloomberg (opens in new tab) now claims Taylor was actually offered $15,000 for her voice work. According to sources, “Platinum Games sought to hire Taylor for at least five sessions, each paying $3,000 to $4,000 for four hours in the studio.” The report continued to claim that she then asked for “a six-figure sum as well as residuals.” Series creator Hideki Kamiya also called out Taylor, tweeting: “Sad and deplorable about the attitude of untruth.”
Taylor bit back (opens in new tab) against the report, calling it “an absolute lie” and adding that Platinum Games was “trying to save their ass and the game.” Then, Taylor went ahead and confirmed that at least part of the report was in fact true. A new series of tweets appeared on Monday morning with the actress saying “I feel the need to defend myself and my reputation in the industry.”
It has come to my attention that some people are calling me a liar and golddigger. I feel the need to defend myself and my reputation in the industry. See thread #PlatinumGames #Nintendo #Bayonetta #Bayonetta3 #Bayonutters #Boycott #NintendoEurope #NintendoAmerica #NintendoJapanOctober 24, 2022
Turns out that the initial “insulting” offer was $10,000, before being upped to $15,000 after Taylor wrote to Kamiya asking for what she was “worth.” The $4,000 offer came almost a year after she turned down her role reprisal, which was to “voice some lines” for a cameo appearance. She then goes on to tangentially mention that she never asked for money for signatures, and the one time she did she “donated 100% of the signing fees to charity.”
Taylor’s particular bugbear seems to be the claim she asked for a six-figure pay packet, adding: “I am a team player. I was just asking for a fair, living wage in line with the value that I bring to this game.” She went on to further slam the reports that rebutted her first videos. “There are people who are attempting to throw shade and discredit what I say. The industry is powerful, they have powerful journalists too,” she concluded. “They are trying to save their asset. Don’t fall for it!”
Appropriate pay in videogame voice acting is a problem. Despite this being a messy situation, it has helped pave the way to real conversation around VAs getting paid their worth. Detroit Become Human’s Bryan Dechart recalled a time a “AAA game by a studio that has made MANY games” refused to register with performer union SAG-AFTRA, offering $4,000 “for the entire game.” This saga has given more of a peek behind the curtain than most, though it’s unclear where the blame lies between Platinum or Bayonetta herself. And it’s hard to see how muddied statements and calls for boycotts help anyone.