D&D Celebrity Satine Phoenix & Husband Jamison Stone Accused Of Abuse Towards Freelancers

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D&D influencer Satine Phoenix, and her husband Jamison Stone, who run tabletop gaming company Apotheosis Studios, have been accused of abusive behavior towards freelancers and contracted workers.

Satine Phoenix is a well-known D&D personality and creator, and was the D&D Community Manager for about a year back in 2018. Both she and Stone have appeared in many events and streaming shows, and have worked with WotC, Geek & Sundry, and other companies. Recently their Kickstarter campaign Sirens: Battle of the Bards raised over $300,000. At GaryCon, a US gaming convention, the couple held a public wedding.

sirens.jpg

Accusations were initially leveled last week against Stone by tattooist Chad Rowe, who tweeted about the abusive way in which Stone, as his client at the time, treated him. The artist was "insulted, berated, and talked down to as if I was a lesser person". Other reports started to roll in as people shared similar experiences, with people revealing how they had been bullied by them, and how the pair frequently portrayed themselves as 'better' than those they worked with. At the time of writing there have been many such reports including one from voice actress and designer Liisa Lee who was subjected to underhanded business practices by Phoenix and her then partner Ruty Rutenberg. Others indicated difficulties in getting paid for work done for Stone and Phoenix or their company.

Lysa Penrose reported on problematic interactions while Phoenix worked at WotC, who was the primary point of contact regarding a report of abuse. Penrose reports that Phoenix failed to pass on the reports of abuse, and continued to publicly associate with the abuser.

Jamison Stone has since resigned as CEO of Apotheosis Studios (though the pair do own the company) and issued a long apology which has been widely criticized. Phoenix released a statement about a week later. Screenshots leaked from a private channel indicate that they have adopted a strategy of shifting the blame onto Stone, so that Phoenix's public image remain intact, with Stone writing “I also am ensuring behind the scenes ... we shield Satine as much as physically possible from damage.”

D&D In A Castle, which is an event which hosts D&D games run by professional DMs in a weekend break in a castle, has dropped the pair from its lineup, as has Jasper's Game Day, an organization which works to prevent suicides. Origins Game Fair, at which the couple are celebrity guests, removed Stone from its guest list, but not Phoenix, stating that "staff assessed that there was no immediate risk of physical harm".

According to ComicBook.com. former collaborator of Phoenix, Ruty Rutenberg, is suing Phoenix, alleging misappropriation of $40,000 of stream network Maze Arcana's money.
 

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Russ Morrissey

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Dire Bare

Legend
Is it better to be a happy pig or a dissatisfied person? I grew up knowing next to nothing about the likes of the Hickmans, Pondsmith, Gygax, and others. In fact, I learned Tracy Hickman was a woman and Mike Pondsmith black several years after I had already played the games/modules they created. I'll have to admit that I was a happy little piglet wallowing in my ignorance back then. I enjoyed some of Satine Phoenix's videos from a few years back, and I'd be happy having never heard of this. But it's better to be a dissatisfied person that knows the truth so I can decide for myself whether or not I want to support people who engage in bad behavior.
You probably meant this, but Tracy Hickman is a man, not a woman. You also seem to be lumping Hickman, Pondsmith, and Gygax in with Phoenix and Stone . . . . Gygax had some regressive views, but is there something we should know about the others?
 

MGibster

Legend
You probably meant this, but Tracy Hickman is a man, not a woman. You also seem to be lumping Hickman, Pondsmith, and Gygax in with Phoenix and Stone . . . . Gygax had some regressive views, but is there something we should know about the others?
Thanks! What I meant to say was that I thought Tracy Hickman was a woman. Only because I had never known a guy named Tracy.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
This event has led to several other people coming forward about other industry folks a well. Not nearly as big named as Satine, but I’ve been seeing more posts about other people in the industry taking advantage of others. Not gonna name drop here, but I think tearing off the band aid is important. We really need to respect each other in this industry when creating business partnerships. It’s called a “ Professional” for a reason.
As tends to happen. Unfortunate, but better to find out now than later.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Thanks! What I meant to say was that I thought Tracy Hickman was a woman. Only because I had never known a guy named Tracy.
Yeah, it was pretty common back in the day to think that Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis were a team of female writers. Not that it matters of course, some folks still make the mistake today.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Does she still work for them? Has Stone ever worked for them?
If Monte Cook or Rob Heinsoo got caught in a scandal, I wouldn't expect a statement from Wizards.
If the behavior in question stretched back to their time at wotc and allegedly involved people still at the company, it would be weird not to.
 




Eric V

Hero
Yeah, definitely. Like I’d be sad if Becca Scott and her husband were terrible, because I like her content and IIRC he is in an important role at dropout/college humor (I think?), and I’ll be honest also because they’re very cute lol, but Taleisen would be…heartbreaking. Him and Erika, more than anyone else in that circle.
Weird confluence of events: I just read this post right after I saw a post from Becca Scott describing SP and SJ as "two of the kindest, most open, loving, and integrated people I have ever met. I am so grateful to call them friends!!!"

Universe is weird.
 

Not being paid at all is a regular part of owning a business, particularly when you are supplying a good or service to another retail business.

Not paying suppliers until you sell a product is common, regardless of what is written in the contract or agreement. The courts exist as a way to remedy this although that can be both costly and limited.

Treating individuals poorly is uncalled for and I am not defending the tone in the tweets, but there is fundamental difference between not paying someone (i.e. an employee) and not paying someone you contracted with and are filing a 1099 for. It is not the "person" that is not being paid, it is the business that person owns.
Most such businesses are actually individuals.

Now RPG work generally pays poorly and maybe this experience has a social good by chasing people away from the space into more productive endeavors. I actually (tongue in cheek) scolded a friend who bends over backwards to make sure his freelancers are paid, including taking a Covid loan out at the beginning of the pandemic to make sure he could pay in advance to give them a cushion for encouraging people to stick it out …

Europe actually got pretty annoyed at exploiting the power dynamic of larger companies bullying smaller companies and passed a law that includes mandatory interest for late payment for smaller companies.
 

teitan

Legend
Growing old means constantly wondering why these people are "celebrities" in the first place, but also never having to worry about it.
Right? How do we have “celebrity players”? I get someone like Vin Diesel, a celebrity who plays D&D but someone who is a celebrity because they play D&D and peacock up for YouTube? Cool story bro. I want to support Indy creators and all but treating gamers like rock stars?

My thoughts: people are jerks. People are in communities. Jerks are therefore in communities. Beware lest one day you become the jerk. Basically, don’t judge too harshly because someone will find something you said or did and drag it out until it’s a dead horse. But some people… drag it out, beat the horse and bang the gong because sexual predators, not paying the staff and abusive garbage has got to go. It’s one thing to think man, that’s my friend, I believe him and another to be that jerk that did the bad things.
 

If I was gonna give that title to anyone, it'd probably be Marisha Ray.

Edit: Though Jennell Jaquays is also a perfectly cromulent choice.

Popular online streamers aside, I’d give it to like Gygaxs daughter who helped him create the game or perhaps the author Margaret Weis who helped create Dragonlance which helped evolve D&D during that period and wrote some of the most popular d&d fiction to date.

Edit: having my looked Up Jennell Jaquays, yes totally.
 
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AnotherGuy

Adventurer
I'm not sure what Jordan Peterson has anything to do with anything. That was just a stupid inclusion.

Anyways that aside - the kickstarter states that Deborah Ann Wohl was a celeb guest writer in the Sirens project. I wonder what her experience with the duo was like.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I'm not sure what Jordan Peterson has anything to do with anything. That was just a stupid inclusion.

Well, he's a pretty horrible person, so them being fans of a really horrible person when they do horrible things is relevant.
Anyways that aside - the kickstarter states that Deborah Ann Wohl was a celeb guest writer in the Sirens project. I wonder what her experience with the duo was like.
She's more famous than them, so I imagine pretty good. Narcissists are extremely polite and charming to those who they think they can gain something from. The minute a person's usefulness is done, however, it's like night and day.
 

AnotherGuy

Adventurer
Satins Phoenix seems to be a manipulative, abusive person who has enabled other manipulative, abusive people in the hobby. The fact that she used to be a sex worker is irrelevant.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you on this perception of Satine and I have not read the entire thread, but from the first page - I get the idea she certainly is an enabler of abusive and manipulative people, but from the little I have seen its mostly that Jamison dude who is the monster. She is certainly complicit in that she should have reined him in, and that could be seen as manipulative, in that she sets her attack dog on the innocents, but one could also see it that she didn't want to engage or confront Jamison on his handling of the issues. Could she be afraid or intimidated by him?

Am I far out in this? Is there something that I'm possibly missing?

EDIT: Yup I was missing the Liisa story. Ignore the above.
 
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I'm not picking on necessarily disagreeing with you on this perception of Satine and I have not read the entire thread, but from the first page - I get the idea she certainly is an enabler of abusive and manipulative people, but from the little I have seen its mostly that Jamison dude who is the monster. She is certainly complicit in that she should have reined him in, and that could be seen as manipulative, in that she sets her attack dog on the innocents, but one could also see it that she didn't want to engage or confront Jamison on his handling of the issues. Could she be afraid or intimidated by him.

Am I far out in this? Is there something that I'm possibly missing?
You missed her abuse of Liisa, which predates Satine's relationship with Jamison.

That was something deeper in the thread.
 
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AnotherGuy

Adventurer
Well, he's a pretty horrible person, so them being fans of a really horrible person when they do horrible things is relevant.
Hmm, that is an opinion I don't share.

She's more famous than them, so I imagine pretty good. Narcissists are extremely polite and charming to those who they think they can gain something from. The minute a person's usefulness is done, however, it's like night and day.
That is what I suspect as well.
 


Retreater

Legend
I don't think being a fan of Jordan Peterson makes someone a bad person. I've read his book and watched listened to some of his podcasts - just to see what the deal with him is. But if one takes his message to heart and then has the persona of accepting everyone across society, being welcoming to a diverse population, accepting "cultural relativism," etc., the person is being duplicitous.
 

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