Before continuing this statement, we want to make it very clear that we believe Mandy, we believe Jennifer, and we believe Hannah.
The Gauntlet’s official position on Zak S going forward
The Gauntlet will no longer provide coverage to Zak S or his publications. Due to the fact he has a history of harassing Jason and other members of The Gauntlet, we have had a longstanding ban on having him on our podcasts, and he has never been welcome in our community spaces. We will be extending that ban to any kind of coverage of, or participation in, his ttrpg work. Here are the specifics of what that means:
- We will not review his work on our podcasts.
- We will not permit his games to be played on the official Gauntlet Hangouts calendar.
- We will not permit his games to be played during Gauntlet Con or any special events by the Gauntlet community.
- We will actively discourage discussion of his work in our private spaces, such as The Gauntlet Slack, and ban it entirely in our public spaces.
- We will not work with people who work with him. For example, Codex will not publish an artist or author who is actively working with him. Folks who have worked with him in the past must promise to not work with him again in order to have a professional relationship with The Gauntlet.
- Members of The Gauntlet organizational team will no longer attend conventions in our capacity as representatives of The Gauntlet so long as Zak S is welcome to attend those conventions. We will also strongly discourage our membership from attending such conventions.
The Gauntlet’s past coverage of Zak S
The Gauntlet has been around for awhile and has put out a lot of content. We are going through our archives and making decisions about how much of our previous Zak-related coverage we want to still be available to the public. There are a few podcast episodes where his work is prominently featured. We will be deleting those episodes or cutting out the Zak-related content. We will make a judgment call in each case about what we will delete or cut. It will take us a couple weeks to untangle everything (our back catalog is deep) but know it is happening. If you want to help us and point out very old podcasts or APs that prominently feature Zak’s work, we would appreciate it. Please post a link in the comments.
A message to our friends in the ttrpg industry
If you have supported or defended Zak S in the past, you need to step up. The Ken Hites and White Wolfs and LotFPs of the world need to take this opportunity to disavow Zak S.
DriveThruRPG? They need to de-list his products from their site.
We intend to use some of the goodwill and influence we have amassed in this industry over the years to encourage our friends to de-platform Zak. The Gauntlet is not a supporter of ostracism or blacklisting, largely because it usually disproportionately falls on creators of color, but does believe Zak qualifies for such treatment because of repeated demonstrations of abuse.
A message to ttrpg fans
We understand that many people, some of our organizers and members alike, feel that Zak has created some compelling game content. Unfortunately, he’s a toxic, abusive person and we should not be giving him aid and comfort with our dollars. There are plenty of OSR publishers out there who are making amazing content that is equal to or surpasses Zak’s work, and who are not abusers. We have listed a few below and you can find even more in our Fear of a Black Dragon podcast feed.
The Melsonian Arts Council
The Hydra Cooperative
Tuesday Knight Games
A few things to close with
We approve all comments on our blog posts. Negative and unhelpful comments will not be approved. If you post negative or unhelpful comments in any of our public spaces or social media threads, you will be banned or blocked immediately, no questions asked.
If you are a victim and you need a safe community or space, or need support and you feel the Gauntlet could help, reach out to us. We will help you find resources, offer any support we can, and provide a safe space to vent or decompress.
We have compiled a set of resources related to trauma, abuse, online harassment, and related matters, including supporting those who have been victims. You can find those resources here.
Folks: this needs to be the end of the line for Zak S in the ttrpg industry. We cannot tolerate him in our spaces any longer. We call upon our fellow publishers, community organizers, media producers, and convention hosts to cut ties with him immediately.