Voice actor John DiMaggio is best known to fans as the voice of Bender in the animated comedy “Futurama.”
The show’s first episode debuted in 1999 and ran on Fox until 2003. It was picked up by Comedy Central for four films in 2007 before the series revival in 2010. The show was canceled for a final time in 2013.
Although fans thought that was the end of the series, Hulu recently announced that the Planet Express crew would return for an all-new 20 episode adventure… but it may not feature Bender.
‘Futurama’ Revival Prompts Outcry: ‘Where Is Bender?’
“The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening and David X. Cohen will return to create the new series. Billy West will return as the voice of Fry and Katey Sagal will return to voice Leela. The ensemble cast of Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, and David Herman are all expected to make a return.
Fans immediately noticed that there was one name that was, unfortunately, missing from that list: John DiMaggio, who voices Fry’s best friend, the robot Bender. At the time of the announcement, multiple outlets reported that DiMaggio was involved in a contract dispute. According to Deadline, DiMaggio felt “the proposal was not competitive based on the success and name recognition of the original series.”
On Tuesday, DiMaggio posted an update to what fans are calling #bendergate, saying that they are still in discussions over his salary.
John DiMaggio Posts Update On #BenderGate: ‘Bender Is Part Of My Soul’
— John DiMaggio (@TheJohnDiMaggio) February 16, 2022
On Tuesday, DiMaggio posted a long message to Twitter titled “Update: #bendergate.”
“Hi,” he began. “I’ve been thinking about everything that’s been going on these past months and just to be clear, I don’t think that only I deserve to be paid more. I think the entire cast does.”
“Negotiations are a natural part of working in show business,” he continued. “Everyone has a different strategy & different boundaries. Their ‘price.’ Some affect offers, some hold their ground.”
“Bender is part of my soul and nothing about this is supposed to be disrespectful to the fans or my Futurama family,” he continued. “It’s about self-respect. And honestly, being tired of an industry that’s become far too corporate and takes advantage of artists’ time and 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,” he concluded. “In the meantime, I’ll be in New Orleans shooting ‘Interview with a Vampire’ for AMC – and very grateful to be! Thanks.”
Fans Respond To John DiMaggio’s Post With Mixed Reactions
Although some fans showed support for DiMaggio, others said that there was “greed” taking place on both sides.
“Why do these things always come down to money?” one user asked. “*sigh* I understand getting paid what you deserve, but this just looks greedy, on both sides. Just more disappointment for the fans who’ve waited years for this show to get back on the air. But who cares about them, right?”
“Because ‘these things’ are people’s jobs,” another shot back. “You’ve never asked for a raise?”
“Greed over fan service,” another wrote. “Your choosing money over legions of fans. Only person I’ve lost respect for is you. Would you ask to be paid for a make-a-wish appointment or would you do it for the fans??”
“He’s not choosing greed. He’s choosing to stick up for his right as a valuable performer to get fair compensation for his work,” another fan argued. “This would set a precedent meaning ALL performers are more likely to get paid. People getting paid fairly should matter more than ‘fan loyalty’.”
“He’s not doing Make-a-Wish. He’s talking about his work. Every single one of us would argue for every dollar we thing we ought to be paid,” another wrote. “Futurama is one of my favorite shows of all time. I am a fan. And I support him in this 100%.”
“John is about supporting his people. If he feels he’s being shorted, he feels they can also do better for his cast mates,” another wrote. “Don’t get it twisted. He’s all about doing what’s best for VAs.”
Fans have their fingers crossed that the contract dispute will be settled swiftly so Bender can make a return to the series, which has yet to be given a release date.