RPG Writer Zak S Accused Of Abusive Behaviour
  • RPG Writer Zak S Accused Of Abusive Behaviour


    RPG writer Zak S (aka Zak Smith, Zak Sabbath) has been accused by multiple women of abusive behaviour in a public Facebook post by his ex-partner, and two other women.



    Photo from Wikipedia


    Zak Smith appeared in the video series I Hit It With My Axe, and is known for the Playing D&D With Porn Stars blog. He has also written several RPG books, most recently for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, consulted on the D&D 5th Edition Player's Handbook, has won multiple ENnies, and recently worked for White Wolf. As yet, he hasn't made any public response to the accusations.

    Since then, another ex-partner of Zak Smith, Vivka Grey, has publicly come forward with a further account of his conduct.

    This isn't the first time that Zak Smith has been accused of inappropriate behaviour (language warning in that link). The Facebook post, which was posted overnight, has been shared widely on social media, and takes the form of an open letter (linked above; it makes for unpleasant reading, so please be aware of that if you choose to read it).

    The industry has been reacting to the news. Amongst many others:


    I believe Mandy, Jennifer, Hannah, and Vivka. It must be terrifying to come forward like this. They have been put through horrible ordeals. I will not cover Zak’s work on this site, in my podcast, or elsewhere, and will not provide him with any kind of platform.
    Comments 282 Comments
    1. Alexander Kalinowski's Avatar
      Alexander Kalinowski -
      I cannot verify the veracity of the testimony. Furthermore neither I nor anyone I personally know is interested in entering a relationship with Mr. Smith. So why should I or anyone here whose situation is similar to mine even care? That's something between Mr. Smith and these ladies.
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gradine View Post
      I have zero respect for those that for some reason feel the need, in this moment, to express sympathy for the man.
      Literally no one has done that.
    1. TwoSix -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yunru View Post
      That was sarcasm. They're exactly the same.
      Well, it's not exactly the same...just ask the National Champion (vacated) 2004 USC Trojans.
    1. Alexander Kalinowski's Avatar
      Alexander Kalinowski -
      Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
      It's a fan-based celebration of the product brand, which includes the author's brand. This is why these awards are awarded to people and people get excited that people won and were acknowledged for their work. And people vote for these products. Companies inform and direct their fans to voting. Fan groups organize people to vote. Authorship is part of the brand identity and it is inseparable from the content, which can work for and against a person (and their works).
      Which explains my general skepticism towards awards and brands.
    1. Dannyalcatraz's Avatar
      Dannyalcatraz -
      Quote Originally Posted by doctorbadwolf View Post
      When they are revealed to be rapists, yes. They should be fired and never allowed back into public office.
      FWIW, felony convictions render one ineligible to hold most public offices.

      As for divorcing artists from their art...there are a great many not very nice people in creative fields. As the saying goes:
      “Never meet your heroes, because they're sure to disappoint you.”
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jester David View Post
      Then you should stop engaging, report my post, and let the moderators decide.
      Well no that is not going to happen because I am the one who is making it personal.

      I mean where in the code of conduct is the warning against personally addressing someone on the forums.

      But let me take another crack at explaining this:
      Okay, the #MeToo movement is very topical and is a hot button issue. Which makes something like this needlessly controversial. So let's try separating that issue from Zak and looking at it again.

      Imagine if Zak S had instead caused regular fights at a convention and beaten the tar out of multiple convention goers?
      Would that be someone who should be lauded with an industry award?
      Should he keep the award and continue to be able to use it as a reference to get future work?

      What if instead he was seen at several white power rallies wearing a white hood and proudly showing off Klu Klux Klan tattoos?
      Should he retain an award given to him?
      Should he be allowed to continue advertising his products as "ENnie award winning" and potentially making money off their sale?

      Because you're not just giving an award to the product, to the art, but to the artist. You're recognising them over other artists. He received Gold and Silver ENnies over other highly popular products that weren't created by a wife beater and online troll. You're costing those products sales and those artists work.

      So the award should be rescinded. Ideally, it should retroactively be awarded to the next runner up.
      Do you have any other imaginary things that Zak S might have done that we should be aware of? Imagine if Zak S was orange and was the President of the USA? Well we would definitely have to strip him of his Ennie awards then.
    1. kenmarable's Avatar
      kenmarable -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alexander Kalinowski View Post
      I cannot verify the veracity of the testimony. Furthermore neither I nor anyone I personally know is interested in entering a relationship with Mr. Smith. So why should I or anyone here whose situation is similar to mine even care? That's something between Mr. Smith and these ladies.
      If you really do believe it is just between them and don't care... then why are you posting in this thread???

      I never understood some people's need to take the time and effort to publicly proclaim that they don't care about something. It completely undermines the point they are claiming to make.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alexander Kalinowski View Post
      I cannot verify the veracity of the testimony. Furthermore neither I nor anyone I personally know is interested in entering a relationship with Mr. Smith. So why should I or anyone here whose situation is similar to mine even care? That's something between Mr. Smith and these ladies.
      I think it's called "empathy".
    1. kenmarable's Avatar
      kenmarable -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
      Do you have any other imaginary things that Zak S might have done that we should be aware of?
      Psst... those were hypothetical.
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      Quote Originally Posted by kenmarable View Post
      Psst... those were hypothetical.
      Yes that is what I said, imaginary.
    1. Aldarc's Avatar
      Aldarc -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yunru View Post
      Except you were just arguing that an author's actions were inseparable from their works. Something provably false by the existance of pen names.
      There are many authors we know more by their pen names and similarly actors by their stage names. Many works of literature, theater, and cinema are examined in light of the creator's actions and their works. And all of this is beside the point when talking about the Ennies, Zak Smith, and his actions.

      There is a reason why James Watson (one of two scientists who won a Nobel prize for stealing the work of Rosalind Franklin) was recently stripped of a number of his honors by the laboratory that had worked for since 1968. It was because of his actions making incredibly racist remarks and justifying it with debunked science.

      That was sarcasm. They're exactly the same.
      Thank you. I'm glad that you informed me that it was sarcasm, as I never could have gathered that naturally from the puerile tone entrenched in the false equivalent statement that you provided.
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conan Trustrum View Post
      Holding rapists to consequences is not political. Literally, no politics are involved unless you're the type of person who thinks that one sort of political leaning is "pro rape" and the other is "anti rape" and you have a problem with the latter.
      Has anyone actually been convicted of a crime? Is libel even a thing from where you are from?
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Aldarc View Post
      There is a reason why James Watson (one of two scientists who won a Nobel prize for stealing the work of Rosalind Franklin) was recently stripped of a number of his honors by the laboratory that had worked for since 1968. It was because of his actions making incredibly racist remarks and justifying it with debunked science.
      The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory said it was revoking Watson’s honorary titles, which include chancellor emeritus, Oliver R Grace professor emeritus, and honorary trustee.
    1. Steve Conan Trustrum's Avatar
      Steve Conan Trustrum -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yunru View Post
      Because it's not ZAK's award. It's his work's. Retracting the award from the works becajse of the author is punishing the child for the sins of the father. The work has nothing to do with his actions, and thus would be unfairly inhereting the stigma.
      Speaking as a professional author ...

      say what?

      Tell you what: if you can get Zak's work to provide you with a victim's impact statement regarding how potentially taking away the award makes it feel, I'll jump on board with you 100%.

      I'll also thank you to quit with the personal attacks, as this is the second post in succession where you have made them. It's almost... abusive.
      Stop providing the evidence that makes the observations accurate. If you don't like the response you get for what you're saying, stop saying those things.
    1. kenmarable's Avatar
      kenmarable -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
      Yes that is what I said, imaginary.
      Then why were you asking for more that we should be aware of? Just imagine them if you want.

      And I'm wondering what the line is between accusing someone of harassing Zak for saying he should have his awards taken away, then taking issue with even hypothetical points they make, and (literally) showing sympathy for Zak. It's looking awfully blurry when someone works so hard to defend Zak's awards.
    1. Alexander Kalinowski's Avatar
      Alexander Kalinowski -
      Quote Originally Posted by kenmarable View Post
      If you really do believe it is just between them and don't care... then why are you posting in this thread???

      I never understood some people's need to take the time and effort to publicly proclaim that they don't care about something. It completely undermines the point they are claiming to make.
      That's a logical fallacy. I do not care about the actual subject because without verifiable evidence it's all rumor-mongering to me. I do care (at least enough to post here) about people not exhibiting the same attitude to the issue.

      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      I think it's called "empathy".
      There's nothing to be empathic about as I have no way of deciding if the testimony is truthful or a bunch of lies. Without that information who should I be empathic to - Zak Smith or his accusers? Who has been wronged here? I don't know, so I will abstain from taking sides.

      Do you know?
    1. Steve Conan Trustrum's Avatar
      Steve Conan Trustrum -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alexander Kalinowski View Post
      I cannot verify the veracity of the testimony. Furthermore neither I nor anyone I personally know is interested in entering a relationship with Mr. Smith. So why should I or anyone here whose situation is similar to mine even care? That's something between Mr. Smith and these ladies.
      And yet you took the time to post that here.
    1. Aldarc's Avatar
      Aldarc -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
      Has anyone actually been convicted of a crime? Is libel even a thing from where you are from?
      Though he was preemptively pardoned by Ford, Nixon was never formally convicted of a crime when he resigned, but we had increasing evidence of illegal wrong-doing and acted upon that evidence.
    1. Shasarak's Avatar
      Shasarak -
      Quote Originally Posted by kenmarable View Post
      Then why were you asking for more that we should be aware of? Just imagine them if you want.

      And I'm wondering what the line is between accusing someone of harassing Zak for saying he should have his awards taken away, then taking issue with even hypothetical points they make, and (literally) showing sympathy for Zak. It's looking awfully blurry when someone works so hard to defend Zak's awards.
      Well, lets imagine that kenmarble was part of the KKK. How many people do you think he would have killed?

      Do you not see the problem with this?
    1. Steve Conan Trustrum's Avatar
      Steve Conan Trustrum -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
      Has anyone actually been convicted of a crime? Is libel even a thing from where you are from?
      Do you twirl your oversized moustache and laugh mockingly as you type?
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