Oh boy. Its been a busy couple of days since Mandy Morbid accused Zak Smith of some fairly disturbing actions. You can read Mandy's post at the following link:
Since that post went live a number of folks in the gaming industry have distanced themselves from interacting with Zak, professionally and personally, moving forward.
Then this got posted today on the DriveThruRPG Blog:
Tuesday, 12 February 2019
DriveThruRPG Responds to Current Industry News
Thanks to everyone for your patience as we deliberated on the situation that has unfolded regarding Zak Smith (aka Zak Sabbath). At DriveThruRPG, we want to do our part to keep bad actors out of the roleplaying community, and we don’t want business relationships with such people. As such, you’d think there wouldn’t be much deliberation needed on our part. However, the situation posed a number of challenges for us to consider in terms of precedent and collateral impact on other parties.
I have decided that we will not accept future titles for sale on DriveThruRPG (or our other marketplaces) if Zak is a contributor on the title. If any publisher has a title-in-process to which Zak is a contributor and this policy would impact you financially, then we’d ask that you please reach out to us via the publisher services link to have a dialogue about that title.
For titles currently on our marketplace in which Zak is listed as a contributor, we have checked those publisher accounts, and none of these titles have us paying money directly to Zak. While it is likely that Zak does earn a royalty on some titles sold on DriveThruRPG, any such royalties would be paid directly by the publisher of the title, not by DriveThruRPG.
Further, whatever royalty Zak might get from any publisher on our store is unlikely to be the entirety of what we pay that publisher. We do not feel it’s fair to penalize financially those who worked with Zak in the past, including both publishers and possibly other contributors earning income from these titles. Therefore, we expect publishers to make their own decision to continue selling these titles or not, presumably after consulting with all other contributors.
For our part, we will be identifying all titles to which Zak contributed and diverting all of the revenue shares that DriveThruRPG might make from sales of these titles as a donation to RAINN (https://www.rainn.org/).
I’ll try to pre-emptively answer other possible questions below.
When this happened, why did you not suspend sale of Zak’s titles while you deliberated?
When we expect that it will take us a few days to deliberate on a title reported for offensive content, our policy is to temporarily suspend sales of that title. In this case, though, it was not the content of any particular title under discussion, and we did not find any titles where we directly paid Zak for ongoing sales during our deliberation.
So DriveThruRPG is now banning certain creators? Will whoever the “outrage brigade” complains about next be banned as well?
We all share a responsibility for the health of our hobby. Any demographic measure we’ve ever seen on the roleplaying hobby shows women are under-represented. Things won’t improve if people shirk the responsibility to make our hobby inclusive.
Zak Smith has a long and well-documented history of behaviors antithetical to a healthy community. In light of recent allegations, which we find credible, we think our business and our hobby is better off without him, so we’re doing our part.
We already have a small list of other bad actors in the industry with whom we refuse to do business: people who have repeatedly abused crowdfunding platforms for personal enrichment, who repeatedly engaged in IP violations, who have repeatedly treated our staff or customers in unacceptably unprofessional ways, and so on. If you repeatedly act like a jerk (or worse, a predator), we won’t wait for other people to complain about you. We’ll just quietly stop doing business with you.
Why are you not banning his existing titles?
Because we don’t want to hurt other people who also contributed to those same titles just to diminish Zak. Banning those existing titles risks doing just that.
OneBookShelf / DriveThruRPG