Published Aug 25, 2016Cartoon characters saying F- and C-words are hardly the most offensive part of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's R-rated Sausage Party. Instead, we're more taken aback by allegations that the animators weren't properly paid for their work.
Earlier this month, directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon were interviewed by Cartoon Brew about their new Vancouver-based animation company Nitrogen Studios. The pair boasted about how they animated the film within its tiny $19 million budget, only to have anonymous commenters come forward claiming to be unpaid animators.
According to numerous claims from numerous sources, Nitrogen employees were allegedly forced to work overtime with no pay. When they complained about these conditions, they were let go or threatened with being blacklisted by Vancouver's animation community. Some say they also had their names removed from the film's final credits for quitting before the project was complete.
Now, a third-party union has filed a complaint with the Canadian government. Local Unifor 2000, a union that represents some 800 animators, filed an official complaint with the Employment Standards Branch last week.
"We are aware of serious allegations that Nitrogen did not pay some of its animators overtime, and we've formally asked the Employment Standards Branch to investigate," Unifor vice president Jennifer Moreau said in a press release. ""Many of these animators are too scared to come forward—that's why we've filed the third party complaint. They are afraid they will be blacklisted and denied future employment in what's essentially a small, tight-knit community, where they go from contract to contract. Workers tell us the companies use loopholes, classifying their work as high tech or contract work, to get around basic employment standards."
The vfx branch of Britain's BECTU union also voiced their support for Nitrogen's animators in an open letter earlier this week. In the piece, they encouraged animators around the world to push for unionization.