Jamison Stone & Satine Phoenix's Apotheosis Studio To Wind Down [UPDATED]

After being accused of abusive behaviour towards freelancers and co-workers, the game company run by D&D influencer Satine Phoenix and her husband Jamison Stone, is to enter a 'reduced capacity' mode.

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After the accusations were made, Jamison Stone resigned as CEO; after a couple of weeks he was added back to the company's staff page, saying that he was never actually removed but merely taking personal time while Apotheosis Studio conducted an investigation.

In a draft of a recent statement obtained by Dicebreaker, Stone indicated that the results of this investigations were that the 'vast majority' of the accusations made were 'factually inaccurate'. He went on to discuss the ramifications of 'cancel culture', although the statement was updated to rephrase that as 'extreme changes'. Other than the initial apology to tattooist Chad Rowe, Stone has indicated that no further apologies will be forthcoming.

“The rest of the team now has completed those investigations and found that while some individuals had legitimate complaints, the vast majority of the allegations to date levelled against Jameson and others on our team have been proven to be factually inaccurate. We believe that people should be shown compassion, given the opportunity to write their wrongs and grow as individuals.”


As for the company itself, it will finish fulfilling existing Kickstarter projects. It will not be accepting requests to cancel and refund pledges for existing funded Kickstarters, and noted that most of the freelancers and contributors have been paid. When asked about the company's future, Stone said "As it stands - and I don’t know what the future will hold - it’s just a company that is there. It just exists and sells books. Some of my books, some books by other people. It will sell The Red Opera and eventually sirens. All of the people who are there are just contracted at this point."

A statement is expected to come soon from Apotheosis.

UPDATE -- Apotheosis Studio's statement has arrived:


Thank you for your patience. We have had a lot of questions about the future of Apotheosis Studios, its team, and our projects. While Jamison Stone did step down as CEO to take personal time while Apotheosis Studios did an internal investigation on the allegations brought forth by numerous individuals, we in no way claimed that we were removing Jamison from the company. Having completed our internal investigation, we have found that while some individuals had legitimate complaints, the vast majority of the allegations to date levied against Jamison and others on our team have been proven to be inaccurate. Jamison will directly address major allegations and misinformation within the month.

We at Apotheosis Studios do not support abuse in any form. We believe in accountability and the ability for everyone to reflect, learn from their mistakes, grow, and be given the opportunity to show what they’ve learned by actively being better through action. We encourage everyone to stand up for themselves in compassionate ways with the hope to make things better so no one has to live in fear. It is in this honesty that we can learn from one another and each be better for ourselves, our families, and our communities while not furthering abuse, bullying, harassment, and other dehumanizing behaviors.

Sirens: Battle of the Bards will be delayed while those who are still working on the project deal with the ramifications of the extreme changes that we have had to make due to this situation. We will be sending out merchandise that we already have in hand for US backers first. Sirens: Battle of the Bards is 90% finished and its contractors have been paid, therefore refunds will not be issued. We will provide additional updates on fulfillment as we know more.

Because there seems to have been some confusion regarding the nature of our operations, we wish to state again that payments to writers started in March 2022 and as new invoices were received, we processed them promptly. All artists and contractors who have completed their work and were authorized for billing have been paid. The only remaining work is rewrites, editing, and layout. This, as stated above, will take longer than originally planned.

For reference: we had the following number of contractors working on this project:
  • Writers - 22 writers. Paid 10 cents per word
  • Artists - 4. Paid monthly or per image
  • Graphic Designer - 1. Paid monthly
  • Layout artist - Paid monthly, even when not working on a project
  • Musicians - 2. Paid promptly per song
  • Sculptor - 1. Paid promptly per sculpt
The Sirens writing Deadline was Oct 31. Approval passes started in November. Unfortunately, the approval passes took longer than expected which pushed out approval for the contractors to bill by 3-4 months. Billing authorization was issued in March of 2022 and we promptly paid all invoices properly submitted to our accountant.

For this project, we provided templates for Adventure Chapters with an 8,450 words max budget. 9 of 22 chapters were over word count
  • 4 over by 1000 words
  • 1 over by 3700 words
  • 2 over by 4750 words
  • 1 over by 7000 words
Despite the fact that many chapters were over the word counts outlined the writers were paid for the overages after appropriate approval. Writers whose writing was not used were still authorized to bill us and were paid 10 cents per word.

For those of you who have reached out with constructive feedback, we greatly appreciate your support and patience. We will have further updates as more information becomes available.

Sarah Urfer
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey





Mort

Legend
Supporter
I wonder if his (continuing) ridiculously aggressive and combative tone is just who he is or if it's a specific tactic to draw all the heat on him and away from Phoenix and possibly the company?

There WAS some internal communication (previously) showing that his intent was to draw all the heat.
 




Jer

Legend
Supporter
To be fair it's, "We investigated ourselves and found a little bit of wrongdoing, but we fixed that by paying them finally."
They're doing the bare minimum to acknowledge that some of the claims were accurate and they had actually done something wrong to those folks while claiming that the 'vast majority' were 'factually inaccurate'. No explanation of which ones they're going to take responsibility for and which ones are damn lies that were told just to smear the reputations of two individuals who are mostly innocent of most of the accusations that were leveled at them.

Left as an exercise for the reader is any indication of which accusations they admit were correct and how they're going to make it right with those folks. Because then people would be able to figure out which ones they think are in the 'vast majority' of 'factually inaccurate' claims and they'd be leaving themselves open to people bringing receipts.
 



Michael Linke

Adventurer
"the vast majority of the allegations to date levelled against Jameson and others on our team have been proven to be factually inaccurate."

What does that mean? If I say "he abused me at GenCon", but he in fact abused me at GaryCon, does that make my accusation factually inaccurate? If they really meant to say "Stone didn't do it", then "factually inaccurate" is a really weak way of phrasing it.

Looking at the Jamison Stone that was revealed in the conversations posted by that Tattoo artist, i would 100% believe that he's the kind of guy that would say an accusation is "factually inaccurate" if some details were incorrect, even if the accusation described an actual thing he did.
 



mythago

Adventurer
Who exactly conducted this investigation, given that it officially consists of J&S and a friend of theirs (and now he's claiming that some of them are contractors)? At least Blizzard went through the motions of hiring outside professionals.

The dueling lawsuits are still ongoing, so presumably this is the tactic of issuing a bland statement and hoping everybody forgets who they are in a few months.
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
I don't believe they investigated anything.
You don't ever need to investigate yourself - you know what you did.

A statement like this is to be able to say that your accusers are liars without actually saying anything actionable that would impact an ongoing lawsuit or potential lawsuit.

I actually don't know what PR value folks think statements like this have. To me it just feels like the ego of the person demands that they say "something" to defend themselves from the accusations but their lawyers know that any strong statement of innocence they make will only make things worse for them legally, so they end up saying "something" that doesn't really say anything at all.
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
You don't ever need to investigate yourself - you know what you did.

A statement like this is to be able to say that your accusers are liars without actually saying anything actionable that would impact an ongoing lawsuit or potential lawsuit.

I actually don't know what PR value folks think statements like this have. To me it just feels like the ego of the person demands that they say "something" to defend themselves from the accusations but their lawyers know that any strong statement of innocence they make will only make things worse for them legally, so they end up saying "something" that doesn't really say anything at all.

Yeah. This. All of this. I hate these horrible people.
 

I actually don't know what PR value folks think statements like this have. To me it just feels like the ego of the person demands that they say "something" to defend themselves from the accusations but their lawyers know that any strong statement of innocence they make will only make things worse for them legally, so they end up saying "something" that doesn't really say anything at all.

It's a means to control the story in the long term, even if people are incredulous now.

5 years from now when someone says "Hey aren't you that guy that shortchanged a bunch of freelancers?", Jamison will look them in the eye and say "No, that was a misunderstanding with one tattoo artist that got blown out of proportion. You can read the full story on my website." He will hide behind his version of history, while the stories of others are lost in the sea of social media.
 

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