Friday, February 22, 2019

Gen Con Bans Zak S

Yep. The final nail may have just been pounded into Zak S' RPG coffin. Here's the original link: https://www.gencon.com/attend/gencon_policies

Gen Con's Stance on Abuse & Harassment
At Gen Con we have a policy of not disclosing the names of individuals who have been sanctioned or banned from our events. However, our statements regarding a recent ban have caused confusion and more importantly, made people feel that Gen Con doesn’t care about attendee safety. To clarify, I want to state that Zak S has been banned from Gen Con and that we flat-out don’t tolerate harassers or abusers in our community or at our convention. 
As a gamer and con-goer myself, I believe that everyone deserves space in their lives for the fun, excitement, and community that tabletop gaming brings, and that action needs to be taken to make spaces safer and more inclusive, especially for marginalized communities and survivors of abuse.
We have and will continue to ban from attending those individuals who threaten the safety of our attendees or members of our community. Before, during, and after the show, we review incident reports and accusations, we investigate claims, we coordinate with local authorities, and we ban people who violate our policies regardless of their stature in the industry or their relationship to Gen Con. We ban people for actions that range from theft and counterfeiting all the way up to harassment and assault. We also ban people for actions that occur outside of Gen Con’s immediate control in accordance with our policies. When we decide to ban someone, we inform the individual they are no longer welcome to attend our show, we block them from buying a badge through our site, and if they show up anyway, we remove them from the convention center and event spaces. It’s a very important part of our regular process for managing the show and the community that surrounds it, and we are always looking for ways to improve. 
We admire the bravery of victims who report their abuse or harassment, and we’re here to support you. If you witness or experience abusive behavior or harassment at or around our event (or in online spaces), we want to know about it so we can take action. That said, reactive bans alone are insufficient and as an industry we need to do more. Earlier in the year we revised our Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment policies and published them on our website under a Creative Commons license for anyone to use and improve upon. We’ve improved our on-site reporting procedures and developed a Policy Enforcement Team to review incidents and take actions, whenever they arise, anytime of year, and we will continue to focus on this going forward. You can email us confidentially at policyteam@gencon.com if you have any questions or need to report an incident or concern. We will continue to work to make Gen Con safer, more inclusive, and of course more fun. Please do reach out if you have further thoughts or questions. 
Peter D. Adkison
Co-owner of Gen Con and Chairperson of the Board 


  1. Asinine. Seriously. Who the hell are they to ban someone on hearsay?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. GenCon is not a court of law, it is not subject to the standards of evidence that the legal system requires. Even if it was, then a statement from a victim (and I've lost count of the number of accounts of Z's bad behaviour I've read over the years) would not be hearsay.

    3. David Dorward murdered a man in cold blood! I don't feel safe with him around, he should be banned from all conventions!

      A ridiculous example, but there is danger in simply taking accusers at their word without any evidence to back it up. To me, even calling them "victims" instead of "accusers" before their actual victimhood is established, is prematurely assigning guilt to the accused, the same as calling someone an "abuser" instead of "alleged abuser."

      I'm not saying you can't believe accusations, but to act on those beliefs and pass judgment without any proof is how you get McCarthyism. People's livelihoods ruined based on mere suspicions, regardless of any actual wrongdoing. Even if the accused ends up being totally exonerated, his reputation is irrevocably destroyed. So yeah, social interactions aren't a court of law, but there is still much at stake, so I think we ought to apply the same standards of evidence in our everyday lives. You can personally ostracize someone for whatever reason you don't want to be around them, but to take it to a professional level and affect their ability to earn an income, that's going too far in my opinion.

      With all that said—in this particular case, Zak is getting his just deserts for the way he's called for people in similar situations to be crucified. I fully recognized that it's hypocritical of me, but I'm glad to see him ruined. (It also helps that I knew he was a worthless piece of shit from way back, so I'm biased toward believing any and all accusations of malfeasance against him.)

    4. This is what we call a Strawman. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

      Your statement is not from a witness.

      Your statement is a single statement.

      Your statement is self-admitted to be ridiculous in the very next paragraph.

      Your statement is a statement from one individual, not multiple statements from multiple people.

      Your statement is from someone so anonymous they don't even have a customised profile picture.

      Your statement is not from someone with a personal relationship with the accused.

      Your statement is not from someone who works in the same industry as the accused.

      You haven't continued to assert the truth of your statement over the course of years (as some of Z's accusers have).

      Courts care about credibility.

    5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrelevant_conclusion

      Care to address the meat of what I had to say, instead of taking the easy road and only picking apart the very obviously tongue-in-cheek "accusation?"

    6. The meat being what? That there is insufficient credible evidence against him to justify ostracising him from the community? I did address that.

    7. Remove Zak from the equation. He's getting what's coming to him, even if he's innocent of what he's been accused of (which I highly doubt, but I've already admitted my bias on that).

      I'm talking about this weird (to me) idea going around that presumption of innocence only matters in the courtroom. That we shouldn't apply standards of evidence to our everyday dealings and give people the benefit of the doubt. That it's okay to treat the accused like convicted criminals when they haven't even been formally charged with anything.

      Again, on a personal basis, you can choose not to associate with anyone you wish, for any reason you wish. But when business are allowed to start discriminating against people just based on someone's say-so, I have a serious problem with that.

      And again, not talking about Zak specifically. He doesn't get any benefit of the doubt because he never gave any. I'm just talking about as a general thing. The current climate in our society is "guilty until proven innocent" and I find that abhorrent. I'm curious how anyone can find that attitude morally defensible.

    8. "Your statement is from someone so anonymous they don't even have a customised profile picture."

      This cracked me up :-D

  2. If they ignored this situation and just didn't react, would it hurt their organization or business? It might. Right or wrong, guilty or innocent, one must do what is to the benefit of the organization or company. Sadly one is guilty until proven innocent in this society we live in. I read her statement and his response.

    I still remember years ago this potential drama was warned of when TARGA died.


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