MONTREAL – Thomas the Tank Engine and some of his friends have lost their voices.
Martin T. Sherman, who voices Thomas, Percy and Diesel on Thomas and Friends, announced last week he has quit.
“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,” read an open letter that has since been removed.
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“Unfortunately, I must now quit the show. 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.”
Sherman said he has felt “exploited” by series producer HIT Entertainment for some time.
“I believe it is important to move on from a situation if you are not valued,” he wrote.
The Thomas and Friends series airs on PBS and on U.S. cable channel Sprout and is available on home video.
“The people who are going to suffer is going to be the kids,” he said.
Sherman told UK newspaper The Guardian he removed the letter from the blog under threat of legal action by HIT Entertainment. He said he felt “bullied.”
The company, owned by toy maker Mattel, has refused comment other than to issue a statement confirming it has parted way with Sherman and “we wish him the best in his future professional endeavours.”