Original Phoenix Wright Voice Actor Resigns Over Sexual Harassment
The original voice actor of the English translation of Phoenix Wright, Ben Judd, has resigned as CEO of Dangen Entertainment, publisher of Iconoclasts, Devil Engine, and Fight Knight. He had been accused by a former partner of sexual harassment. In a statement issued through Dangen's website, Judd apologises to his former partner, Alex, without confirming the specific details of the accusations.
Alex first told people to stay away from Judd back in August, writing on Twitter that "It's an open secret that this guy is a predator and creep but he ingrained himself in the Japanese indie scene now (sic)." She went on to say that many people could share stories of him "pulling out his balls in public spaces", "harassing younger women", "holding meetings in stripclubs", and calling a friend of theirs the N word.
In the months since, Alex and others have shared stories about Judd and Dangen Entertainment. The stories about Judd include sexually explicit messages and dick pics sent to ex-partners after they'd broken up, and making threats. This culminated in a lengthy anonymous blog post on Medium by someone claiming to have worked closely with Judd and Dangen. The post has been taken down but an archived version is still available.
In a statement published on Dangen's site, Judd writes: "It's become clear that I personally caused an ex-partner, Alex, a great deal of pain from my actions while we were together six years ago."
"Many things I didn't recognise about power dynamics I now see for the harm they can and did cause; for that and my related reckless and inappropriate behavior I am truly sorry," Judd adds. He concludes: "I will be stepping away from Dangen and Bitsummit and taking leave from my other industry endeavors."
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In a separate statement, Dangen says that Judd will be replaced by Dan Stern as an interim CEO.
While Judd's actions are brought up in the anonymous blog, the focus is largely on poor working practices at Dangen - with the publisher being slow to pay royalties, respond to messages, and missing important deadlines, all while asking a lot of the developers it is working with. It appears that Dangen is laying the blame on one of the company's co-founders, Nayan Ramachandran.
"In talking with Nayan Ramachandran we have decided together it would be best if he stepped away as a full-time employee," Dangen writes in its statement. "He will facilitate work on his projects on a freelance basis."
The company doesn't admit to the claims made against it, however, instead saying: "We feel that we have given sufficient evidence to support our rebuttal of the claims made against us." The restructuring of the company is "in the interest of protecting our current employees and clients from further trouble".
In response to the statements, the official Twitter account for Fight Knight, one of the games Dangen was publishing, and one that features prominently in the anonymously-written blog, tweeted "You need to apologize to me & my team, including "THE WRITER" who you attacked and attempted to smear, and give Devil Engine back to its developers".
Alex, too, has been tweeting in response to the statements: