MEXICO CITY– The voiceover actors behind Latin America’s version of “The Simpsons” have gone on strike after weeks of unsuccessful contract negotiations.
Contract fight pits the actors and their union, the National Actors Assn. (ANDA), against Grabaciones y Doblajes Intl. (GDI), the Mexican company that dubs “Los Simpson” for 20th Century Fox.
The dubbing company says it wants to rewrite the contract to allow at least 40% of the voice talent on the show to be non-union; ANDA wants to restrict participation to its members.
In late January, the two sides began meeting in a Mexico City labor arbitration court to discuss their differences. After final failed talks on Wednesday, the five principal “Simpsons” voice actors, Humberto Velez (Homero), Claudia Mota (Bart), Patricia Acevedo (Lisa), Nancy MacKenzie (Marge) and Gabriel Chavez (Senor Burns), plus more than 200 ANDA voice actors, began a sit-in in front of GDI offices, hanging ANDA banners on the recording company’s facade.
It remains to be seen whether GDI, which finished recording the latest “Simpsons” season before the contract dispute arose, will fire the longtime voices behind the series, which is as big a hit in Latin America as in the U.S.
Fans loyal to the voices they’ve heard for 15 years have loudly protested that possibility. Still, for thesp Velez, a rewritten contract would add up to the same thing.
“Once they start displacing ANDA actors, they’ll start putting in actors from elsewhere and they’re usually greenhorns who don’t have the talent to dub,” Velez said. “This is about improving the series, not destroying it.”
The striking actors did not say how long they would picket GDI’s offices. GDI lawyer David Mendoza Mariscal said, “We’re continuing with the negotiations,” adding that the two sides will meet at the labor court again next week.