Another wrinkle in the to the story has been added concerning Troy Baker’s absence in Borderlands 3. Initially, there was confusion surrounding the actor not reprising the role of Rhys, driven by back and forth between Baker and Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford. In a recent interview, Baker seemingly cleared up some of the perplexities, alleging that Gearbox wouldn’t work with him because of disagreements regarding his status as a union member. In response, Gearbox released a statement denying the actor’s claim, and citing Texas Labor Laws. SAG-AFTRA, a labor union for actors, radio personalities, etc., has since issued a response of its own to Gearbox.
SAG-AFTRA statement on the matter, courtesy of IGN, is as follows:
We are fully aware of the anti-labor, right-to-work-for-less laws that help explain why Texas has more minimum-wage workers than any state in the Union. Employers in Texas and other right-to-work-for-less states nevertheless routinely work under SAG-AFTRA agreements with no legal obstacle at all. To the extent that Gearbox’s statement reflects legitimate ignorance, Gearbox could easily have asked that question during their discussions with SAG-AFTRA, which they did not.
If indeed Gearbox meets or exceeds our contract standards in their treatment of performers, which we highly doubt, it would have cost them nothing to sign the union’s agreement and retain the original cast of their game. While SAG-AFTRA does not comment on member discipline matters, we observe that SAG-AFTRA members who work for certain non-union employers not only deprive themselves of the benefits of a union agreement, they lower the standards for all their peers and facilitate the abuse and exploitation of performers.
At the time of writing, Gearbox has not yet respond to the SAG-AFTRA statement. While the overall situation is exceedingly unfortunate, at the least, discussions about fair treatment are taking place. With Troy Baker being so high profile, these developments suggest performers with less visibility may be experiencing similarly strained relationships with potential employers. Here’s to hoping the discourse continues on in some capacity.
[Source: SAG-AFTRA via IGN]