Earlier this month, it was announced that Futurama would be getting a revival on Hulu. That was big news for fans of the show, but there was one glaring omission from the list of voice actors: John DiMaggio, who voiced Bender—a character the show simply wouldn’t work without. At the time, producers told Variety they were hopeful DiMaggio would eventually sign on, or they’d at least find someone who could replicate his voice.
But fans wanted to know what was up. They created the hashtag #bendergate on Twitter, and said they didn’t want to watch the revival if it didn’t include DiMaggio. Even Mark Hamill tweeted in support, writing, “Please be reassured that I will NOT be auditioning for the role of FAKE Bender. You are one-of-a-kind, pal!”
Now, DiMaggio has shared why he’s decided to not join the revival, saying his decision is tied to “being tired of an industry that’s become far too corporate and takes advantage of artists’ time and talent.”
His full statement, published on social media, reads:
Hi, I’ve been thinking about everything that’s been going on these past months and just to be clear, I don’t think only I deserve to be paid more. I think the entire cast does. Negotiations are a natural part of working in show business. Everyone has a different strategy & different boundaries. Their “price.” Some accept offers, some hold their ground. Bender is part of my soul & nothing about this is meant to be disrespectful to the fans or my Futurama family. It’s about self respect. And honestly, being tired of an industry that’s become far too corporate and takes advantage of artists’ time & talent.
Look, I wish I could give you every detail so you would understand, but it’s not my place. Thanks again for the love everyone. Still hoping for the best. In the meantime I’ll be in New Orleans shooting Interview With A Vampire for AMC—and very grateful to be! Thanks…
DiMaggio has received an outpouring of support, and sparked a conversation on Twitter about how voice actors are often exploited in the industry. His former Futurama cast mates have yet to publicly comment, and they haven’t appeared like any tweets surrounding his decision.