Voice actress Erin Fitzgerald has revealed that she stepped down from a role in Guilty Gear Strive – voicing Black character Ramlethal – so that the character could be more appropriately voiced by a Black actress.
In a tweet, Fitzgerald states that she “happily stepped away so [the developers] could cast more appropriately”. She expanded upon this in responses to commenters on her initial post, stating succinctly, “The character is black I am not black. I support more work for black actresses behind the mic”. It’s clear that Fitzgerald stepped down in order to improve opportunities and representation for Black voice actors and actresses.
The gesture seems to have been a success, as voice actress Laura Stahl has now been cast in the role. Stahl responded to Fitzgerald in another tweet, thanking her for stepping aside, “Before I accepted the role of Ramlethal, l asked for clarification on the situation, and not only do I deeply respect Erin as an actor, but as an amazing person as well. Thank you for your grace. You are phenomenal”. The character of Ramlethal has been played by Fitzgerald since her introduction in 2014’s Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-.
Whitewashing has long been an issue within voice acting for animation and video games, as it means that minority voice actors who are already at a disadvantage when it comes to auditions and applying for roles, have even fewer opportunities.
In 2019, Wargroove developers Chucklefish received backlash for whitewashing Black characters with white voice actors, and Naughty Dog was also previously criticised for casting Laura Bailey as Black South African character Nadine Ross in Uncharted 4. In the world of TV, both Family Guy and The Simpsons also recast voice actors for Black characters in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests last year.
Earlier this year, Guilty Gear Strive was delayed from April until June, and recently had its second open beta test. The game launches on June 11 for PS5, PS4, and PC.