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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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.
Since Satine and Jamison's behavior kept us from getting stories to tell, probably directly as their projects spiral down, and certainly indirectly when people left the industry we are involved. Just as Hollywood abusers tangentially harm fans so did Satine and Jamison.

Is that as significant as the harm they did directly to people who were supposed to be their colleagues, coworkers, and employers? No.
 

I don’t invest in tobacco companies and would have an issue with someone being prominent in promoting that product being a spokes person for a hobby I enjoyed.
Both Tommy Lee Jones and Pierce Brosnan have acted as spokesmen for cigarettes in Japan. Do you boycott their movies? Aaron Eckhart played the lead role in “Thank you for smoking”. Did you go see “The Dark Knight Returns”?

Edit. Having seen the mod text, these is now off topic. Please ignore.
 
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Mort

Legend
Supporter
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.

For me, the public apology IS mostly performative. Though I suppose it's important (to them) because they are selling a product.

What's TRULY important is for them to address the individual wrongs. Which in this case has a simple (though maybe not easy depending on their current money flow) solution: pay the aggreived people what they are owed, preferably with a decent bonus for the fact that you held out.

That will go a LONG way to addressing these particular issues. And will likely be better for these two going forward than any apology, if they wish to continue in the business.
 


AnotherGuy

Adventurer
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.
The aggrieved parties voiced their grievances out into the public. To heal the noise a public apology is required.
That is not to say that a personal apology and making amends is not important. It is a two-pronged approach.

The real problem is - they botched their first attempt (and everyone called them out on it). I'm sure there will be more.
 

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.
These were people who were about to lead an event on inclusivity in the hobby at a con when this story blew up. If that’s their brand and what they get paid to do, I think people generally are allowed to hold them accountable.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
We made you, so we decide when you’re broken.

You remember the Spider-Man quote, right? With great power comes great responsibility.

Now, remember this - fame is power. It is power above and beyond what a person with otherwise equivalent skills has. Generally, a famous game designer will make more from a product than a designer you've never heard of with the exact same product. That is using the power of fame to advantage.

That power comes with responsibilities. Fail in those responsibilities, and that power can be taken away from you.

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.

They need to apologize to the workers, sure. But, since they abused power the gaming community gave them, the scope of responsibility is somewhat larger.

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.

Private does not equal sincere. People will sometimes lie in apologies, and it being public or not doesn't really change that.

The actual sincerity of the apology does not come from the venue, but from time. This is why a proper apology includes steps taken to make it better - the apology is sincere (or sincere enough, at least) if there's follow-through on those steps.
 


SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
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?"
As a parent, teaching this has been such an important part of my kiddo's development. I can't say enough how important it is for everyone to learn this.
 

We made you, so we decide when you’re broken.
That's celebrity. Don't get me wrong: People who haven't been made by the social media monster can also be unmade by it, but that isn't what's happening here. Anyway, social shaming is nothing new; it's production and consumption as "media" is.
 



Why on earth would someone want to be a celebrity. It should come with a warning label like cigarettes.
My first assumption, until I know otherwise, is ego. They want to be famous, they want the adoration and power that goes with it, all to stroke their ego.

There are of course exceptions, but until proven otherwise, that is my assumption.
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.
Yes. The community des get a say in the apologies and if they are acceptable. The impact on the fans is not as important as those directly wronged, but it is still important.
 

Have you seen "Thank You for Smoking?" I have (and read the novel that inspired the movie). It's a very relevant satire about celebrity endorsements and brand promoting of harmful substances. It is anti-smoking if anything.
I have. Excellent movie. And it is a satire. That being said, Aaron Eckhart absolutely defends smoking to the best of his ability in that movie, because it is what his character would do.
 



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.

All I see is two DM's sitting at the same distance as they would be when playing at a table, discussing D&D.

I don't see anything in that video that raises a red flag. She seems like she usually is in her videos. Excited about a hobby, with a bit of a sexy attitude about her, that seems part of her online persona.

Not to excuse any of her behavior off-camera. But lets be fair here. Also, she did apologize. Is it sincere? Who can say for sure. But I don't think we should automatically jump to the conclusion that it is insincere.

However, paying the unpaid wages and talking to the victims in private to make amends, would help show her intentions.
 
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