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

Russ Morrissey


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Doesn't matter. It puts you on record admitting what you've done. Your sincerity is secondary to the public admission.

The non-apologies persist because they avoid actually taking responsibility. The three-part apology forces you to take it.
Public admission is important. But I still would rather those that actually want to be sincere need to take a few minutes to think about (or Google) how to do it.

Maybe though it matters little, for those that are not sincere won't spend the time to "do it right" anyway.

But let's stick with discussing that Satine is obviously not sincere. She is saying what she thinks she has to say to minimize damage. It's a PR damage control reaction, not an apology.
 


darjr

I crit!
Not sure what this means, if they are out if GaryCon or not? But it isn’t good for them. Also see the post further up that thread from the McElroys.

 


Vaalingrade

Legend
We should start teaching the three-part apology in job training and schools.

1) Express sincere regret for the harm you've done.
2) Express what, exactly, you did that was harmful, and why.
3) If possible, say how you will make it better, or avoid it in the future.

Like, "Oh, geeze! I'm sorry! Stepping on your toes must have hurt! I'll try my best to stay farther away from people on the dance floor next time. Do you need some ice or something?"
We'd have to change all the text books from the current process:

1) Deny until irrefutable proof emerges
2) Apologize while mitigating any responsibility or the severity of what you did.
2b) (Optional) Do something worse during your apology, goto 1).
3) Blame the victim and say you're being canceled using your massive platform
4) Accuse your victims of actually doing the thing you did.
5) Normalize accusing anyone who opposes you of doing the thing you did.
 

Ondath

Adventurer
Though is it possible to make an apology to social media which works? Somebody may have successfully done it in the last 10 years, but if so, I missed it and I feel like that would be big news. I would challenge anybody to write an apology which was accepted by onlookers. I'm fairly convinced it's not actually possible.
I'm a bit late to this party, but one example that comes to my mind is Dan Harmon (TW sexual harrasment): He harassed Community writer Megan Gantz while she was writing in the show, and the story came out during #MeToo. Harmon issued what felt like a heartfelt apology, owned up to his mistake and seems to have taken steps to be better. As a result, Gantz has said she forgave him and his reputation seems pretty unscathed.

Edit: It seems @Mistwell beat me to the punch by a long shot! This is what I get for writing a comment without getting up to date on the thread..
 

teitan

Legend
Yep they removed my review of a book when they found out I was friends with the author even though I became friends with him months AFTER I wrote and published the review. A “rival” author reported it. Lots of politics go on in those review spaces. The author and I had interacted before hand but it was in relation to a different matter dealing with online harassment we both were dealing with from the same group of people… the same people who later, most likely, reported the review when we actually became friends through mutual work in a non-profit.
 


Ghal Maraz

Explorer
Is there a reason this story hasn't already reached the News status? Seems quite relevant and has some potentially huge impact.
 

TheSword

Legend
There is cynicism here, but it isn’t just on Satine’s part. It’s the people on twitter (and to a lesser extent here) who think that for some reason the public/fanbase are the ones that should decide if the apology is appropriate. Or that they are entitled to comment/criticise and generally mock it.

Or the entire fanbase’s assumption that the apologies - of which there should no doubt be many, are anything to do with them at all. The cynicism that maybe if she crafts just the right public statement then at least a portion of the fanbase might ‘forgive’ her. Or maybe not… and let’s all debate whether she has apologized ‘well enough’.

It won’t happen in this modern world of fandom. But I would much prefer Satine and her partner contact the actual aggrieved parties with their apologies privately. Then the freelancers, tatooist and various business partners get to decide if they feel the apologies were sufficient.

Satine Phoenix: I have taken onboard all the criticism shared online in the last three days and have contacted those people with a direct
apology. It is my attention to make this right. If anyone that raised a concern has not received a response, please contact me and I will respond directly.

Of course, this won’t work because watching the fanbase eat their own young is far more entertaining, I’m not a fan of either of them, which will probably come as no surprise but as always the grotesque mockery and schadenfreude indulging tweets of ‘fans’ is far more disturbing than most of the things Satine is accused of as the twitter responses and memes to her apology demonstrate.

Why on earth would someone want to be a celebrity. It should come with a warning label like cigarettes.
 


AnotherGuy

Adventurer
There is cynicism here, but it isn’t just on Satine’s part. It’s the people on twitter (and to a lesser extent here) who think that for some reason the public/fanbase are the ones that should decide if the apology is appropriate. Or that they are entitled to comment/criticise and generally mock it.
It's a public forum, people are entitled to speak about it, they therefore are free to comment on it and express their opinion. Such is the medium that exists now. I'm not following this judgement on the fan-base.

And to be clear, it is the fan-base that assists in making and buiding you (the celebrity you) up and also the one that can strip away the faith and love that they showered on you. So yeah they should have a right to deem whether the apology is appropriate.
 


TheSword

Legend
And to be clear, it is the fan-base that assists in making and buiding you (the celebrity you) up and also the one that can strip away the faith and love that they showered on you. So yeah they should have a right to deem whether the apology is appropriate.
Yeah, that’s a really good summary of the approach that concerns me.

We made you, so we decide when you’re broken. You’ll get your apologies vetted by us - and not the people you actually need to apologize too - because ultimately we are the ones that matter.

The problem is by making the apology public the aggrieved party now will never know if the apology was sincere or not. Whereas if it was just to them, then they can have confidence it isn’t part of a media strategy.
 

Davies

Legend
The problem is by making the apology public the aggrieved party now will never know if the apology was sincere or not. Whereas if it was just to them, then they can have confidence it isn’t part of a media strategy.

No, they really can't. We are discussing performers -- by definition there will always be a question, under any and all circumstances, whether what they say or do is performative. That is true if the audience is vast, or minute.
 

TheSword

Legend
No, they really can't. We are discussing performers -- by definition there will always be a question, under any and all circumstances, whether what they say or do is performative. That is true if the audience is vast, or minute.
Fair point. They could be telling the person what they hear. But then again that’s between them. It’s also where the redress comes in.

What they will know is that it’s not part of mass media strategy.
 

JediSoth

Semi-Professional Author
Epic
Keep in mind, Satine and Jamison CHOSE to live and work in the public light. They chose to first issue "apologies" on public forums rather than reaching out privately to the aggrieved parties. No one forced her to put that statement on Twitter before addressing the freelancers who haven't been paid, or their Kickstarter backers who have only heard that Jamison resigned as CEO of a company he owns and that they're investigating the best way to move forward.

So yeah, I think it's appropriate for her critics to judge that apology that throws Jamison under the bus, especially when there's a leaked Discord transcript of Jamison saying he's going to be thrown under the bus to shield Satine from as many of the consequences of of this as possible (see post #24).
 

Greggy C

Adventurer
Supporter
Browsing through this thread, the thing that surprises me the most is that I never heard of any of these people.
Makes me wonder how many other worlds of popular D&D are out there of whose existence I've never been aware.
You have to be something of a niche fan. Here is nice video of her with Matt Mercer. How close she gets into his space is a red flag to me.

 


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