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Role Ending Misdemeanor / Western Animation

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Ever since the beginning of television, the animation industry is able to entertain people with a whole variety of creativity in return of making billions of dollars. But sometimes, when things get too problematic, jobs, roles, and careers were destroyed with one or more misdemeanours. Here are some cautionary tales for people aspiring to work in the Western animation industry.

There is a two-week waiting period (after the termination of a role) before an example can be added. This ensures the job loss is accurately reported, actually sticks and avoids knee-jerk reactions.

  • Psychobilly musician Stuart "Unknown Hinson" Baker was fired from his role as main character Early Cuyler on Squidbillies in August 2020 after he made disparaging comments about Dolly Parton after she expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Reverend Guitars also stopped production of their Unknown Hinson signature guitar after Baker's comments. Early was ultimately recast with Tracy Morgan for the show's final season.
  • Jason Biggs was replaced on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) after sending some rather suggestive tweets about the 2012 Republican National Convention, right after Nickelodeon used the show's official account to promote him on Twitter. Leonardo was voiced by Dominic Catrambone for the rest of season 2, and then by Seth Green from Season 3 onwards.
  • Voice actor Greg Burson was fired from the cast of Looney Tunes in 2003 because of his struggles with alcohol, along with his 2004 arrest for kidnapping. He ultimately died from complications of diabetes and arteriosclerosis in 2008 after being absent from the business for five years.
  • Rachel Butera managed to torpedo her role as Leia Organa in Star Wars Resistance before the show even premiered. Less than two weeks before the series' October 2018 premiere, Butera posted a video online mocking the voice of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (who had then-recently accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her), prompting calls for Butera to be replaced. When "Station Theta-Black" (the first episode with Leia in a speaking role) aired in December of that year, the credits revealed that Butera had been recast with Carolyn Hennesy.
  • In his first cartoon appearance, Popeye was voiced by William Costello. However, Costello's behavior came in conflict with The Hays Code, which led to Costello being replaced with the more well-known performance of Jack Mercer in 1935.
  • Joe Dougherty, the original voice of Porky Pig, was dropped by Warner Bros. in 1937 when they realized Dougherty's inability to control his stutter (which had made Porky so popular to begin with) made him a large liability once the character became popular. He was replaced with Mel Blanc beginning with the short Porky's Duck Hunt, who continued the role for the next five decades, while Dougherty largely retired from acting afterwards until his fatal heart attack in 1978. The incident also threatened the career of fellow WB staple Friz Freleng, who'd cast Dougherty in the first place:
    Freleng: He would begin to recite, but then he'd get stuck. He just couldn't get off certain words. We were recording on film at the time, and the film was running, and I figured, boy, if they find out how much film I used just to make a cartoon, they'll kick my ass off the lot.
  • The directing career of Disney and Warner Bros. animator Earl Duvall, best known for his work on the Silly Symphonies at Disney and the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons at Warner, ended in 1934 when a salary dispute with producer Leon Schlesinger resulted in him being replaced by Jack King. The fact that Duvall was an alcoholic at the time didn't help the matter. After his Warner stint ended, Duvall became Ub Iwerks's story artist and returned to Disney before his retirement and eventual death in 1969.
  • In the Latin-American Spanish dub of The Simpsons, Miguel Ángel Ghigliazza was the actor originally cast as Homer Simpson. However, on the first day of recording, he arrived drunk and was in no condition to record, so he was replaced by Humberto Vélez, who would go on to become Homer's most iconic voice actor in the region. Ghigliazza for his part still enjoyed a successful career until his death in 2022, despite the incident (he was the recurring dubbing actor for Danny Trejo, for one example, and he still got to work in The Simpsons dubbing occasional characters).
  • Burt Gillett was at one point a highly regarded animation director at Disney, having directed The Three Little Pigs, which led to him getting recruited to work at Van Beuren Studios, where he would overhaul the studio's animation style. However, Gillett had a temperamental personality, which was made worse by rampant alcoholism and abusive behavior towards his staff (one of the animators at the studio, Shamus Culhane, suspected he had bipolar disorder, although he was never diagnosed during his lifetime). After Van Beuren's 1936 closure, Gillett briefly returned to Disney, but in addition to his general rudeness (being condescending to the younger animators at the studio), he would also eat up production cost, with one cartoon in particular, Lonesome Ghosts, going far over the intended budget. Disney became fed up and fired Gillett in 1937, and his next stint at Walter Lantz would also be his last. As Lantz recalled in his later years, Gillett continued disregarding budgetary restrictions (unlike Disney, Lantz worked with a much smaller budget), which would result in a cartoon running unnecessarily long, eating up costs. His worsening alcoholism didn't help matters either. After Lantz fired him, Gillett left the animation industry altogether before dying in 1971, after being absent from the business for over 30 years.
  • Jay Johnston was fired from his role as Jimmy Pesto Sr on Bob's Burgers due to his involvement in the Capitol Hill insurrection on January 6, 2021.
  • Even Chuck Jones wasn't immune to this. His time as an animation director with Warner Bros. came to an end in 1962 when the studio found out he'd put his name on UPA's project Gay Purr-eenote , which violated their exclusivity contract and got Jones booted out of the studio. Fortunately, this proved to be a mere hiccup for him, as he and most of his staff went to Sib Tower 12 Productions, which later became the visual arts division of MGM—with whom Jones would produce several more masterpieces of animation.
  • John Kricfalusi's notoriously bad temper and abrasive demeanor resulted in this happening several times for him:
  • Chris Latta, under the name Christopher Collins, was the original choice to voice Mr. Burns and Moe Szyslak on The Simpsons. Midway through the first season, he was let go and his roles were given to Harry Shearer and Hank Azaria respectively. In an interview with GQ, Azaria claimed that Matt Groening had fired Chris for "generally jerky behavior", though the specifics of said behavior is unknown. Chris ultimately died in 1994 of a brain hemorrhage.
  • Allison Mack, best known for playing Chloe Sullivan in Smallville, voiced Dorothy's mother Evelyn in the first season of Lost in Oz. After she got arrested in 2018 for her involvement in a sex-trafficking cult (made worse by the revelation that she was the second-in-command and that she had also tried to get other female celebrities to join the cult), her role was recast to Grey DeLisle for the rest of the series and her name in the first season's credits was removed.
  • Comedy Central cancelled T.J. Miller's animated show The Gorburger Show before it aired after word broke out about Miller's sexual assault allegations. After said sexual assault allegations, Miller got in even more trouble after a former friend accused him of transphobia, and Miller called in a fake bomb threat in an act of revenge. He also got kicked off of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, and his role as Fred in Big Hero 6 was recast with Brooks Wheelan in all future media (with the odd exception of Kingdom Hearts III where Miller's performance was kept).
  • Skyler Page, the creator and former voice of Clarence, was fired from Cartoon Network in July 2014 after a number of incidents related to his increasing mental instability, the last straw being when Adventure Time storyboard artist Emily Partridge accused him of sexually assaulting her. Both positions were then taken over by writer Spencer Rothbell. The only thing Page worked on after being fired from CN was TripTank; following its cancellation in 2016, Page has never worked in animation again.
  • Following his charges of domestic violence, and subsequent allegations of grooming minors, [adult swim] dismissed Rick and Morty co-creator and voice actor Justin Roiland in January 2023, announcing the show would continue and his roles would be recast. The next day, Hulu announced they had removed him from his other shows, Solar Opposites and Koala Man. While the latter will continue, as he was only a producer, the former's fate is still up in the air. The criminal charges against Roiland were dropped due to insufficient evidence but the damage was done as Roiland was not rehired back into his shows. He later went on social media to state that the allegations against him are false and that he would find a way to make a comeback.
  • Chris Savino was suspended and subsequently dropped from The Loud House in October 2017 following numerous claims of sexual harassment and threats of blacklisting his co-workers following the end of consensual relationships which had gone back as far as 2004 over multiple productions that he'd been involved with. While Savino would later apologize for the incident, story editor Michael Rubiner took over his position as showrunner. As of January 2022, Savino has been focusing on writing several books teaching about animation along with several comic strips, most notably the Sunday-only For Brothers (not surprising, considering his appreciation for the art even made it onto The Loud House, as all 4 of the family's pets are named for notable comic artists).
  • Jeffrey Tambor was dropped from Star vs. the Forces of Evil in the wake of his sexual harassment allegations, with his character Glossaryck being voiced by Keith David for the remainder of his appearances. Similarly, his character Big Nose from Tangled: The Series became The Voiceless after the allegations came out. Several movies also recast his roles in light of the allegations: Wonder Park recast his role as Boomer with voiceover artist Ken Hudson Campbell, and his role as King Peppy in Trolls was taken over by co-director Walt Dohrn for Trolls: World Tour.
  • Julia Vickerman was fired from Twelve Forever for mistreating other crew members, and was replaced as showrunner by Shadi Petosky. It didn't help that it had also come to light that she wrote a story on her Tumblr (that has since been taken down) in which she stalked an underage boy and tagged it as "pedophile". This incident also led to Twelve Forever being Quietly Cancelled after its first and only season.
  • Phil Vischer lost his reign of creative control over VeggieTales after his company, Big Idea, came under fire in the early 2000s. According to him, a new producer got mad at him when his production was abruptly shut down, and when Classic Media swooped in for the rescue, that producer put under his new contract that Vischer was to turn over control of Big Idea; which reduced him to just writing episodes and voice roles afterwards. The producer apologized much later about what happened and they were able to reconcile (Vischer, for his part, chalked up the entire saga to God telling him to let go of his creation).