🔐 Closed SJG is continuing to work with accused sexual harasser Bill Webb. They are offering partial refunds to customers. [see redtext appended to OP]

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PST

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Anyone who sealions for known harassers or concern-trolls about "but what about the effect this will have on those poor companies who hire harassers!" in this thread is going to eat a lengthy ban.


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Alt-right-adjacent outlets are publicizing the accuser's name. Do not use the accuser's name or link to posts/videos/tweets that do.

While discussion of what Bill Webb did is important and allowed, RPGnet does not allow the revelation of victims' identities without their consent.


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Frog God Games, Bill Webb's company, is threatening to sue his accuser and various other people. Please take discussion of the lawsuit threats to this thread.

As of 11:30 GMT-5 on April 24th, 2019, SJG is not a party to the suit.


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There are at least three people working in tabletop gaming with the surname "Webb," who are unconnected to Bill Webb in any way.

Elsewhere on the internet, this is causing confusion. Do not confuse Bill Webb with other people of similar names.



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I became aware of this on Twitter from here:

And

In short, Steve Jackson Games announced they were partnering with Frog God Games to produce adventures for The Fantasy Trip. Some of the commentators in their comments pushed back because of Bill Webb's behaviour, and SJG, after investigating, have decided to double down on working with Frog God Games.

While the end of the article is flawed (I know Pagan/Arc Dream have offered refunds to customers who dislike that they highlight Trump's stupidity on twitter, for example), there's a not terrible summary here:

https://www.geeknative.com/65227/steve-jackson-games-offer-partial-refunds-after-gamers-raise-ethical-concerns/

(Aside, for anyone who didn't know, Bill Webb harassed a woman at PaizoCon in 2017 and assaulted somone stopping him. Because he was drunk and had his family with him, together with other issues, the victims didn't press charges).

David, Chris, Aaron - I have read in its entirety the 2017 EN thread that Chris pointed to, and I do understand that a number of posters there are incensed at Bill Webb. To me, that does not justify SJ Games boycotting a whole company. Some very good things are coming out of our work with Frog God – three different projects are underway, and I don’t expect them to be the last. If that makes you wish you had not supported our Adventures campaign, we’ll work with you to refund your pledge, minus the fees already charged by Kickstarter, Stripe, and BackerKit. Those requests should go to darryll@sjgames.com. –SJ
(emphasis mine)

There can definitely be an argument that the behaviour of one employee shouldn't see a boycot of the entire company, but in this case Bill Webb as the President & CEO is the company.

When Bill Webb's assault and harassment was exposed at the time, FGG did nothing until the weight of publicity forced them to admit it had happened and to claim that Bill Webb admitted and regretted his actions.

Since then there have been multiple statements in assorted forms that getting drunk at cons is just what he does, and that that incident was just a more high-profile/went a bit further than he normally did. This, with another round of renewed publicity last year led to calls to have his guest of honour status at GaryCon removed. In the end he withdrew as a guest of honour, but still attended the convention.

Arguably one drunken incident might not be enough to damn him for all time, but for me how SJG have handled this is more telling than anything else.

SJG in posting their responses show not just a lack of concern for the victims of harassment, but a complete lack of care that it's happening at all. It's a remarkably tone deaf attitude for any modern company. I could understand a response pointing out that this was not about a convention, or that they had considered the issue and spoken to FGG who said x/y/z but in this case it's just 'tough'. Albeit they do offer a partial refund, so as long as it doesn't cost them any money, they'll give a sop to those who are annoyed at their decision.

It's a small kickstarter, less than 1400 backers and there'll probably only be a handful who ask for a refund, but for me it's SJG showing that they're stuck in a previous era, and really don't care, much like Frog God and their handling of it, or Paizo and this and Mentzer, or WotC and Mearls/Zac, or, or, or...

The sad part is, as alluded to by Crystal Frasier on Twitter, that this will keep happening, there will be another exposure or two this year, and next year and so on. And just as with FGG and Paizo and WotC and Steve Jackson Games, the 'larger' companies will in the main ignore, deflect or cover-up their involvement whatever the cost to their customers or staff.
 
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g33k

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Well, this takes SJG off my "will buy from them" list.
I was interested in several of the things they were doing, and a likely customer; but I don't need to follow any of those any more.
 

SibKhatru

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Oh dang. Not going to rely on SJG for now. Perhaps they will at some point make this good, but I am doubtful.
 

Elvish Lore

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Steve Jackson is nearly 70 years old. I'm not saying an old dog can't learn new tricks but it's clear from this rhetoric that he's showing less than progressive opinions about accusations, victims, and his company's image in this new era of #metoo.
 

TavelGorge

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Steve Jackson is nearly 70 years old. I'm not saying an old dog can't learn new tricks but it's clear from this rhetoric that he's showing less than progressive opinions about accusations, victims, and his company's image in this new era of #metoo.
Age isnt really an excuse. My Aunt is in the same range and consistently talks about how whenever someone uses this defense that "Millennials didn't invent women telling men to stop being perverts and laying their hands on them. Every ten years or so they get caught and throw up their hands like this is all new to them like they are babes in the woods at 40/50/60/70."

Its been an open cultural thing that getting drunk and assaulting women is a thing scummy people do. Im doubtful Steve Jackson is just navigating this hazy revelation that people dont like it when you cover for serial sexual harasses like its a new iphone or a Twitter account.
 

Occam's Spork

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Well, that's unfortunate. Hopefully there will be enough pushback from customers that they will smarten up.

As a long time fan of SJG, I'll certainly be making my opinion clear to them.

Have to wait until I get home so I can send them a picture of my vast collection of their products. Including the TFT boxed set I backed.
 
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