Martin T Sherman voices Thomas the Tank Engine in the U.S., but he's leaving the show amid a dispute. In a post on his blog -- since taken town -- Sherman said that they just don't pay very well.
"For the last five years it has been my great honour and pleasure to create the American voices of Thomas the Tank Engine and Percy. Unfortunately, I must now quit the show," Sherman wrote. "It is embarrassing but the reason is that they are paying a very low wage. The terms they are offering are so poor, and this with the immense success of Thomas, that the only right thing for me to do is walk away.I have felt exploited for a while now I believe it is important to move on from a situation if you are not valued."
Sherman, 42, also sent the letter to the Tampa Bay Times, which was first to break the story.
Reached by phone in London, Sherman said the decision to leave was tough, but he could no longer work for what he calls low wages. Especially, he said, in light of the success of the television show, DVDs and toy line.
"The people who are going to suffer is going to be the kids," he said.
He apologized in his letter to fans. "People have been pretty understanding," he said. "They agree that if I'm being hurt, I need to go."
A spokesperson from the showmakers, HIT Entertainment, released a short statement.
"Unfortunately, we could not reach an agreement with Martin T. Sherman and have decided to part ways. We wish him the best in his future professional endeavours"
The Guardian's Nicky Woolf reports that he had to subsidize his income with other work, despite being the voice of one of the world's most famous childrens' characters.
Sherman pointed to the disparity between his pay, which he described as “a small percentage” of what he would be getting if he had a US Screen Actor's Guild contract, and the amount of money that the show makes every year for the company, an estimated $250m. He said that the pay they had offered him was “a quantum leap” below Screen Actors Guild rates; only just enough money to live on.
Thomas, Woolf writes, is "by far" Hit Entertainment's most valuable property.
Among the famous names to have voiced Thomas are Ringo Starr, George Carlin, and Biggie Smalls.
Previously: Crashes from Thomas the Tank Engine