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

I am not defending these people. I am not sure how Satine was relevant to D&D in the first place. I looked at one scenario and had questions. Then I realized I don’t consume her products so what’s the use?

Seems like you're only interested in talking about this in the abstract, then, since the OP and subsequent threads have tons of information about Satine's relevance. You have to actually go out of your way to to wade into this discussion with expansive posts while simultaneously washing your hands of the whole sordid affair, by saying you don't really know what it's about anyway.

Online forums are like any discussion space--a bad place to zoom out and speak generally about vague principles, rules-of-thumb, and hypotheticals. If you don't want to engage with the specifics here, what's the point?

I don't mean to single you out, necessarily, since there are others doing the same in this thread. But by floating around in the realm of hypotheticals you're also engaging in the same cancel-culture handwringing that always happens--flying to the defense of some imagined population of canceled victims out there, when the facts nearly always bear out that no one really gets canceled, in the sense that the cancel-culture-obsessed imagine them to be. Rather, people sometimes, very rarely, suffer consequences for their actions, while the very types of folks who rail on about cancel culture actively seek to get their enemies fired...but naturally wouldn't ever call what they're doing cancel culture. That's what someone else does, to all the upstanding job-creators and strivers under constant assault by their lessers.
But here I am, doing the very thing I'm criticizing, speaking in generalities. So I'll be more specific: I propose we stick to the particulars of this and similar situations within the TTRPG community. And if the details are too unsavory or uninteresting to do that, then...why come to the defense of or express concern for someone you can't be bothered to learn about?
 

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(Apologies for my garbled prior post. I don't know what happened on my phone there.)

So first, let's acknowledge that the person arguing that they should never hold any public-facing job is indulging in a ridiculous fantasy. Getting shunned by a hobby community is not going to destroy anyone's lifetime job prospects, much less "condemn" them to ditch-digging or call centers (and wow, we could have a whole nuther post on the whole 'menial jobs' thing). They aren't even 'condemned' to being kicked out of the TTRPG community. There are plenty of bad actors whose place in TTRPGs is just fine, thank you, and even a subset of the community that rallies around unapologetically crappy people. So no, nobody is going to be sentenced to work in a call center for life or banned from picking up a dice bag. Somebody posting about what "should" happen to them is not describing anything that will happen in real life.

But whether or not they get to make amends and earn "people's" trust is a question that needs to be shorn of entitlement language that centers their well-being. When you use language about them being "owed" another chance, or that they "deserve" to be welcomed back, whether or not you intend to, you're absolutely framing the issue where the bad actors are the protagonists and their redemption arc is a moral imperative.

I mention Restorative Justice because it addresses that exact question - how do we repair harm to a community, and how do we repair the harm that was done to victims while balancing the need to bring perpetrators back into society? It's difficult, complicated, thoughtful work. I have enormous respect for the people who do it even when I don't agree with them on many things. What it isn't is a claim that everyone "deserves" another chance, or that victims always owe forgiveness and redemption.



The black dot slip only gets drawn by people who had their turn enthusiastically throwing stones at others. Not sure that was quite the analogy you thought you were going for.
I think it fits for most people who are defending the practice. So good to know I won’t get a turn!

Except my broader point is just that: with this stuff anyone can get pulled in without knowingly or purposely pulling the paper—-even advocating against it. That’s where our culture went.

It reminds me of grad school when I was awakened at 3AM before comps by a group of drunk guys singing ”everybody must get stoned!” That song fits.
 


Seems like you're only interested in talking about this in the abstract, then, since the OP and subsequent threads have tons of information about Satine's relevance. You have to actually go out of your way to to wade into this discussion with expansive posts while simultaneously washing your hands of the whole sordid affair, by saying you don't really know what it's about anyway.

Online forums are like any discussion space--a bad place to zoom out and speak generally about vague principles, rules-of-thumb, and hypotheticals. If you don't want to engage with the specifics here, what's the point?

I don't mean to single you out, necessarily, since there are others doing the same in this thread. But by floating around in the realm of hypotheticals you're also engaging in the same cancel-culture handwringing that always happens--flying to the defense of some imagined population of canceled victims out there, when the facts nearly always bear out that no one really gets canceled, in the sense that the cancel-culture-obsessed imagine them to be. Rather, people sometimes, very rarely, suffer consequences for their actions, while the very types of folks who rail on about cancel culture actively seek to get their enemies fired...but naturally wouldn't ever call what they're doing cancel culture. That's what someone else does, to all the upstanding job-creators and strivers under constant assault by their lessers.
But here I am, doing the very thing I'm criticizing, speaking in generalities. So I'll be more specific: I propose we stick to the particulars of this and similar situations within the TTRPG community. And if the details are too unsavory or uninteresting to do that, then...why come to the defense of or express concern for someone you can't be bothered to learn about?
You mean express an opinion about how our community behaves? Seems relevant to me. And a fair number of others.

To that end, feel free to get to it! The details! The nitty gritty and reliability of the evidence…start with the tattoo scenario.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
But again, their lives and livelihoods are based, a good deal, on dealing with employees and contractors.

Again, knowing what you know, would you work for or even with these people?

Exposing terrible business practices is not "ruining these people's lives" it is ensuring THEY don't ruin more people's lives.
Amazon does all these bad things....and to a much greater degree than has been leveled in this case...but they still are pretty popular.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Right! That's the same burden of proof they applied at Salem.
If this were the 1600s and a matter of religious fervor I might actually have some kind of empathy for this argument to ridiculousness.
Absolute nonsense! Modern employers Google job applicants in this century.
Absolute nonsense! Modern Employers don't care unless they're small businesses with something to prove.

Brock Turner, who raped a girl in public and was caught IN THE ACT, tried, convicted, and jailed (for a criminally short sentence even BEFORE he got out before serving half of it because the judge 'didn't want to ruin his life') has a factory job in his hometown.

IN HIS HOMETOWN. Where everyone knows exactly what happened.
This is basically code for an unwillingness to entertain alternate viewpoints on what is supposed to be an open forum. It is exactly what I mean when I say that the torch-and-pitchfork-bearing lot are intolerant of alternate viewpoints.
Once more to the 1700s/1800s BS.

The reason it's against the rules is because it's a bad faith argument made almost invariably by toxic elements.
You have no problem hyperbolizing the alleged crimes of the accused, but you strangely like to minimize the impact of social media on its victims.
"Hyperbolizing". Stating the man committed an act of rape is not hyperbole.

You can question whether it happened if you wanna be seen as a complete jerk, but that's on you.

Hyperbole would be trying to frame his actions as being more drastic in order to elicit a particular emotional response... Like referring to something as a Witch Trial or "Torches and pitchforks Brigade" to insult and demean others.

Hmmm.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Due process is a specific legal term. I assume people mean the words they say. If they don’t then what’s the point of even talking? If they don’t mean due process, perhaps they should stop saying due process. If they do mean due process, then see my previous post.

In my lifetime the term due process is a generic one meaning "look at all the data before judging" and not necessarily relating to the legal system specifically.
 

So you're not interested in the controversy, you're not interested in actually weighing the results of social media, and you think Satine might do a desperate outrage to herself, and you want to join in with other people pointlessly navel-gazing over whether social media is "Just" without actually, y'know, trying to determine whether the given situation is just.

Like... do you understand what I'm saying here or am I being particularly obtuse?

If you want to weigh whether social media is Just you have to determine the crimes and the punishment and compare the two.

Doesn't matter if it's -this- controversy or some -other- controversy. That's just the baseline minimum level of information required to accomplish the goal. You cannot determine proportionality without knowing both the action and the reaction. Right?

Navel-gazing philosophical hypothetical discussion of imagined actions and reactions probably has it's place somewhere... But in this thread, which is specifically about these people and the things they've done... just ain't it.

I don't think we are going to see eye to eye on this stuff. My position is social media is a horrible venue for figuring these things out (again in general). I think its fair for me to make general remarks when people are making general points in a thread even when that thread starts out about something more specific (because we've been experiencing more and more use of social media in this way and it is something we all have to contend with and deal with on a daily basis). If you feel I am navel gazing, I can't persuade you otherwise (I think I am making relevant points of value but fair enough). I am happy to move on and just agree to disagree

Though if you're sincerely worried Satine will hurt herself, feel free to just say that. It would probably be an appropriately weighed concern.

This has been my main concern in this part of the discussion. I did watch the apology video because it came across my social media feed. I was a lot less concerned about the sincerity of the apology (generally I find most public apologies have a degree of the obligatory that makes them suspect), and more concerned about what I saw towards the end, where I could sense a dawning realization on her part that she has very few employment prospects now, and that her ability to work (really in any field or any job, but certainly in a job that she would like to do) might be impacted by this. So I saw suffering there, I felt like there was reason to be concerned. And again I made the point that a lot of the anger might well be justified, and kept reiterating I wasn't fully informed of the full extent of things (not because I can't be be bothered to read stuff before weighing in but because there are a lot of links in this story and I found many hard to follow or contextualize: and I don't really pay much attention to D&D celebrities and the kind of RPG entertainment they seem to be involved in: didn't know about any of the projects or people involved, etc), but there I was concerned that some of anger being directed towards her could in fact push her further into dangerous space. I think we shouldn't lose our empathy in these kinds of situations, even if (and I am not saying it is or isn' the case) someone did wrong or deserves some kind of punishment. I don't think it should be come an excuse to just form a hate mob on someone (and again that doesn't mean people with grievances should be silenced), to be dismissive of the real world consequences people might face, etc. One of the issues I see in these kinds of conversations is people get so flippant about what loss of employment means. A lot of people minimize the impact of poverty on folks in these discussions. For those of us who live in poverty, and who struggle to put food on the table, I think we react to that because its perceived or treated as an almost non-consequence (where if you are someone who is struggling financially you see it as the ultimate, a potentially life ending, consequence). So I can feel empathy and compassion for someone who looks in the camera and realizes they might no longer be able to support themselves (and perhaps she'll be fine there, I don't know, but it seemed to be a very real concern she was contemplating at the end of the video).
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
You can’t imprison people so you don’t need due process? There is such a thing as natural justice.

Come on, you live in the UK. You know that an employer has to follow Employment law regulations, even though they can’t fine or imprisonment you.

Every employer in the Uk (and most of Europe) has to give you clear grounds for your misconduct and present you evidence. It has to give you opportunity to reply. It needs to be unbiased. It needs to make a decision after all the facts have been seen and not before. The punishment has to be proportional. Your well-being has to be taken care of throughout the process. It has to be confidential.

Now Satine isn’t in the UK and isn’t an employee. So doesn’t get these protections. But let’s not pretend the only time a person deserves fair treatment is if they’re about to go to prison!

As an aside, contracts and SLA’s are supposed to protect contractors. What went wrong here? Why haven’t the freelancers that have been abused got their contracts to fall back on in disputes over pay?
They probably stromgarmed people into handshake agreements, no contract. I can't say for sure, but thst wouldn't even be abnormal. Welcome to America.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
But that's the point.

From all evidence, these people make an excellent first impression. They are charismatic.

The whole point of ALL of this is to warn people to be wary of that. To try to limit their ability to punch down as they have been.
Does this ring true when we have had people in this very thread that have been intermingling comments attacking sex work, not liking their GM style, accusing them of being bad players, etc.. that has NOTHING to do with the actual "bad" things they may be responsible for.

The dogpile is not people coming forward with legitimate complaints and others discussing them, its the massive wave of generic negative and sometimes over-the-line comments from those who can hide behind their anonymitity AND the actual glee some people have at attacking someone else.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I just can't stand by such an unkind view. If you think the world doesn't owe them reform, that's on you, but I thought the whole point of having a moral community is being better than whatever unjust world we are plunged into.

Everyone deserves a chance for reformation, and while this reformation might not be easy or might require extensive efforts to make amends, denying it outright is immoral IMO. It denies the infinite freedom and dignity all of us inherently have.
Sure, they can be reformed...but not as thought leaders or onscreen personalities. They are done there, they need to move on to other work.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Does this ring true when we have had people in this very thread that have been intermingling comments attacking sex work, not liking their GM style, accusing them of being bad players, etc.. that has NOTHING to do with the actual "bad" things they may be responsible for.

The dogpile is not people coming forward with legitimate complaints and others discussing them, its the massive wave of generic negative and sometimes over-the-line comments from those who can hide behind their anonymitity AND the actual glee some people have at attacking someone else.
And those people got kicked from the threads by the Mods because we don't tolerate intolerance, here.

I wish Twitter, Facebook, and other social media would do the same. Activate their "Anti-Nazi" code and autoban tons of complete garbage fires permanently. But they won't. 'Cause the garbage fires are associated with a particular end of the political spectrum, shock of shocks, and too many "Intolerant but not quite Nazi" people would also get kicked.
 

I don’t feel a need to debate certain points. History has been written. We all know what happens in social media when you are on the poop list. I just cannot like it no matter how hard I try and geek culture is at he cutting edge of this it seems.

In pointing that out we got “you are talking about something irrelevant” to screw that sort of introspection! Silence the Nazis!

Holy Moses what a microcosm. Rage on internet!
 
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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
So you're not interested in the controversy, you're not interested in actually weighing the results of social media, and you think Satine might do a desperate outrage to herself, and you want to join in with other people pointlessly navel-gazing over whether social media is "Just" without actually, y'know, trying to determine whether the given situation is just.

Like... do you understand what I'm saying here or am I being particularly obtuse?

If you want to weigh whether social media is Just you have to determine the crimes and the punishment and compare the two.

Doesn't matter if it's -this- controversy or some -other- controversy. That's just the baseline minimum level of information required to accomplish the goal. You cannot determine proportionality without knowing both the action and the reaction. Right?

Navel-gazing philosophical hypothetical discussion of imagined actions and reactions probably has it's place somewhere... But in this thread, which is specifically about these people and the things they've done... just ain't it.

Though if you're sincerely worried Satine will hurt herself, feel free to just say that. It would probably be an appropriately weighed concern.
I think they have stated 10+ times their thoughts were about social media woes in general and not about this specific case (even bolded sometimes). If that line of discussion isnt appropriate to the thread (and I feel it is) then the mods can let them know.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
And those people got kicked from the threads by the Mods because we don't tolerate intolerance, here.

I wish Twitter, Facebook, and other social media would do the same. Activate their "Anti-Nazi" code and autoban tons of complete garbage fires permanently. But they won't. 'Cause the garbage fires are associated with a particular end of the political spectrum, shock of shocks, and too many "Intolerant but not quite Nazi" people would also get kicked.
So...then we agree that dogpiling happens in social media controversies?

I don't understand the resistance to say it does. It 100% happens and all that useless negative energy both fuels a fire that creates more useless negative energy and more importantly drowns out the legitimate discussion that happens inside of it.

Nobody here is saying that bringing issues to light and holding people accountable is a bad thing, or that you shouldn't listen to those who are trying to voice their grievances, but they are saying that unmoderated social media is an atmosphere that can easily turn into an unproductive mass of anonymous negative comments with no sustenance.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I don’t feel a need to debate certain points. History has been written. We all know what happens in social media when you are on the poop list. I just cannot like it no matter how hard I try and geek culture is not he cutting edge of this it seems.

In pointing that out we got “you are talking about something irrelevant” to screw that sort of introspection! Silence the Nazis!

Holy Moses what a microcosm. Rage on internet!
Apparently we don't know. 'Cause y'all seem to think it is some kind of obnoxious death knell that results in poverty and destruction of life, while the rest of us look over at Dave Chapelle still getting stand up specials and popping in to drop new Transphobic Comedy during a John Mulaney show.

Gina Carano retreated from social media after the backlash against her, and is still an actress with one film just wrapping and two more in post and pre production.

Nathan Silvester, a cop who actually got fired for responding to Lebron James mourning the death of Makhia Bryant with "You're Next" just before the George Floyd verdict came back, got half a million dollars donated to him, a podcast, and his pension kept in place.

So even when there are consequences offline, they're generally ameliorated by... y'know... your life not -actually- being destroyed or otherwise harmed in any meaningful way.

Heck, knowing how police hiring works Nathan probably could've just started working for the next town over, like various cops often do when they're fired for things like Abuse of Authority or Police Brutality.

You wanna question the way backlash in social media works? GREAT. Make a thread about it. Slap a + on it to denote it is meant to be a positive thread. Then wax philosophical about it.

But people generally don't appreciate derailments that by their very nature demean the current events that a given thread is ACTIVELY ABOUT.
I think they have stated 10+ times their thoughts were about social media woes in general and not about this specific case (even bolded sometimes). If that line of discussion isnt appropriate to the thread (and I feel it is) then the mods can let them know.
If you have to keep repeating that you're not interested in the topic of the read you're posting in as people drag the topic back, again and again, maybe it's just time to read the room and make a thread about what you want to talk about instead of posting 10+ times?

But sure. Instead I can just report these posts going forward and let the mods handle it, if that's your preferred method.
 


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