Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon's Sausage Party (an adult animated film telling a story about personified food learning their true purpose in life), turned out to be a surprise hit, finding success both critically and commercially, but now the movie is under fire after allegations of worker mistreatment.

What is being alleged

According to reports, anonymous commenters have alleged that the filmmakers and the production company, Nitrogen Studios, forced the animators who had worked on the film to work overtime for free.

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Reportedly, the controversy started after Cartoon Brew interviewed Tiernan and Vernon to promote the film.

As the commenters alleged, the exploitation of the workers is what helped keep the animation costs low. To put it into context, the film had a $20 million budget, whereas Pixar’s latest three-dimensional animated film, Finding Dory, cost nearly ten times that at $200 million to create.

According to these claims, animators were threatened with termination if they did not complete their work on time.

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Added to that, around 30 of the animators were said to leave the project over “the stress and expectations.” Workers had also reportedly petitioned these conditions.

Overtime was not the only issue alleged. Another claim is that nearly half of the animators went uncredited in the final film. To defend this claim, it was mentioned that 83 profiles were attached to the film on the Internet Movie Database, whereas the film itself lists only 47 workers.

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As was explained, it appeared that the workers who stayed on the project towards the end, which included workers who were hired as replacements for those who left, were the ones who were credited, despite some of the earlier workers being a part of the production for “more than a year and a half,” which went over the expected production time.

The second claim also mentioned that it was unlikely that Seth Rogen, who served as a primary voice actor on the film and producer, would have been aware of the situation.

The responses to the comments

As the comments were made anonymously, it is currently hard to prove whether or not the claims are accurate, although there is speculation that the animators are not revealing their real names out of concern of being blacklisted in the animation industry. Nitrogen Studios has denied these claims, releasing a statement saying that the claims were made “without merit.” According to the statement, the studio obeyed all overtime regulations and legal responsibilities.

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Released on social media, the post can be seen below:

The Cartoon Brew website has also claimed on social media that they will try to contact some of the animators for a follow-up story. As seen below, they released a post that would help reporters come into contact with animators from the studio.

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