Union files complaint on behalf of mistreated Sausage Party animators


Controversy has grown around Seth Rogen’s cartoon dick-joke movie Sausage Party. The film was made by Nitrogen, a Vancouver-based animation studio. According to comments at Cartoon BrewSausage Party animators were forced to work overtime for free and were subjected to poor work conditions. The film’s budget was only $19 million. Annapurna Pictures, who co-financed the film with Sony, reportedly compensated animators for their overtime after the animators signed an internal petition demanding fair treatment.

It’s also been reported that Nitrogen’s demands on its animators resulted in around 30 walkouts. Some artists claim that they were not included in the film’s credits as retaliation for their complaints. Many animators made these allegations anonymously, fearing that they may be blacklisted by the industry for speaking out.

Vancouver-based union Local Unifor 2000 has filed a third-party complaint on behalf of the animators against Nitrogen. The complaint asks for a formal investigation into these allegations of employee mistreatment to be conducted by Canada’s Employment Standards Branch. Cartoon Brew is also conducting its own investigation into these matters. We await more information and further investigation and will continue to follow this story as it unfolds.

To editorialize a bit, artists deserve to be paid fairly for their work. It seems obvious, yet if these allegations are true, it’s a reminder that so many talented and creative people are mistreated for doing what they love. Maybe that’s the ugly intersection of commerce and creativity, particularly when so many people are required to make a movie. It shouldn’t have to be this way.

[via Cartoon Brew]

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.