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Statement on Incidents Regarding Shadow of the Cabal

Last week this statement was posted and shared across social media platforms. It outlines toxic behavior by Tanner Clausen of the Shadow of the Cabal podcast, perpetrated against folks involved in the Shadows in the West (SITW) podcast. Amelia Antrim of OSN’s Character Creation Cast was named as a person who specifically contributed to harm suffered by creators of SITW.

The One Shot Network takes all claims of toxic behavior seriously. We consider all the hosts on our network ambassadors for the hobby and expect them to act accordingly. It was our duty to look into the situation, even if it revolved around shows that are not in our network. Our goals for the investigation were as follows:

  1. Determine to the best of our ability what occurred.
  2. Assess Antrim’s alleged role in events and her responsibility for harm caused.
  3. If necessary, ensure a proper apology is issued.
  4. Take action to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Investigation

Our investigation into Clausen’s behavior began shortly before the SITW statement was posted. We will discuss our rationale for this decision below. We reviewed private statements about Clausen’s behavior made by people outside the SITW production team as well as public claims made by members of SITW. Some of the statements we reviewed were issued in confidence and will not be reproduced here.

Clausen was accused of a number of toxic behaviors common to bad faith allyship. This includes taking advantage of folks from marginalized communities, forcefully expressing harmful views, controlling his image to appeal to influential people, and showing hostility towards vulnerable people. When criticized, he refused responsibility, attacked the character of his critics, and worked to silence opposition. Part of this was framing his critics as bad faith actors themselves, using his status and allies to enforce his position. These behaviors were repeated over a long period of time in cases both involving and not involving SITW.

After investigating Clausen, we turned our focus to Antrim. For this portion of our investigation, we reached out directly to SITW and the parties affected by her behavior. Antrim was accused of aggressive behavior on social media, refusing to accept responsibility for harmful actions, and attacking the credibility of her critics.

Findings

We believe Clausen is a bad faith actor. He repeatedly used his position to attack members of marginalized communities. The rationale for our conclusion is presented below in a later section. Based on the nature and amount of evidence against Clausen, The OSN will neither work with him in the future nor tolerate association with him by members of OSN. All content including Clausen has been removed from our archieves.

Regarding Antrim, we do believe that she is responsible for actions that directly harmed members of SITW. This includes antagonistic interactions over a long period of time and statements that hurt the reputation of marginalized people. Both of which were exacerbated by a failure to recognize her behavior when confronted. It’s impotsnt to note the most severe of this behavior is related to efforts Clausen made to manipulate her perspective.

Antrim’s role in this situation was markedly different than Clausen’s, yet still had very serious consequences for marginalized people. It is important for the community to understand the scope of what transpired.

Explanation of Findings

Part of Clausen’s strategy was surrounding himself with trusted people to create the appearance of credibility. We have concluded that part of his aim in cultivating a friendship and professional relationship with Amelia Antrim was using her identity as a bisexual woman to legitimize his position.

Earlier this year, members of SITW raised concerns over the treatment of queer characters on SOTC. These concerns are explained well in the statement we linked above. The revolve around events in the plot of SOTC which perpetuated harmful stereotypes and tropes. As a result of these concerns, the SITW team criticized SOTC’s status as an LGBTQ+ program on the RPG Casts directory.

Clausen reacted to this criticism by claiming this erased the bisexual identities of performers on his show. This response refused to engage with the real concern raised by SITW. It also used the identities of queer people to deflect criticism and discredit marginalized critics.

As the conflict between Clausen and critics from inside and outside SITW escalated, he framed himself as a victim to his cast. He enlisted them to defend him and their show. As a bisexual woman, Antrim has faced erasure and dismissal in the past in online spaces. The kind of attack Clausen suggested was happening was familiar to her. Which is one of the reasons she did not take a closer look at the situation before defending herself and her castmate.

This matter first came to the network’s attention when Antrim expressed concern over tweets by the members of SITW regarding this incident. To her, this was a sudden event sparked by a disagreement over RPG Casts. To the cast of SITW, this was the latest and most inflammatory event following a history of antagonistic interactions.

In talking to members from SITW, we discovered they found Antrim’s personality online consistently dismissive and defensive. This was an observed pattern of behavior, not the sort of thing that could not be easily captured in screenshots and laid out clearly in concise explanations. Experiencing that, coupled with an association with and consistent defense of Clausen, helped them draw the conclusion that she was intentionally acting against them.

Our suspicions about Clausen’s role were sparked by one of his attempts to bury this situation. He arranged an “apology” to be performed by Antrim for conflict between her and members of SITW. This framed the conflict as solely her responsibility.

Both Antrim and members of SITW expressed discomfort with this idea. Despite the discomfort of everyone involved, Clausen forced the issue. This “apology” did not resolve any issues as Antrim felt she was a victim, having her words and actions mischaracterized by people who were attacking her without cause.

Prioritizing an action meant to quash negative publicity of his show before the comfort of one of his performers and her potential victims set off alarm bells for us. If his intent was to protect his cast from harassment or find justice for victims, pressuring either side into interaction is counterproductive. It was possible someone could follow through on a bad idea like that out of ignorance, but it could also be a willful disregard for harm. That meant there was potential Clausen was a bad actor. It was our duty to our Network associate to ensure that was not the case. We began investigating Clausen as a possible bad actor after this incident, shortly before the SITW statement was posted.

Again, our investigation found Clausen at the center of a number of incidents involving toxic behavior. Specifically using conflict to raise his profile while casting himself as a victim to deflect criticism. Using the identities of his castmates to reframe SOTC as a progressive show despite its content is consistent with his behavior under other circumstances. As was encouraging the people around him to speak in his defense.

Once we gathered what we concluded to be an appropriate amount of evidence, we presented it to Antrim.  This evidence challenged the understanding of events Clausen had cultivated. Antrim came to understand how her past defense of him had been harmful and gained a new understanding of events, including incidents she previously thought were unrelated.

Antrim’s most overtly harmful actions were under the influence of Clasen. Her role in the central conflict was exacerbated by the fact that she was used as a shield for a bad actor. However, Antrim is still responsible for her behavior. Also, part of this issue extends beyond the central conflict regarding Clausen and SITW.

With this understanding of events, OSN entered the final stages of our investigation. We sought to evaluate the character of Antrim’s harmful behavior. If she was guilty of malicious action, it would be grounds for dismissal from the network according to her contract. If her behavior was caused by ignorance or manipulation, it is the Network’s opinion that education and probation are more appropriate.

To determine the next steps, we reached out to the cast of SITW to gain more details about their experiences with Antrim and assess the extent of the harm done. We would like to clarify that although SITW assisted by answering questions, their opinions are their own. They have not reviewed our statement prior to publishing, nor have they endorsed the results of our investigation.

Based on all the evidence we reviewed, we believe that the most serious of Amtrim’s wrongdoing was driven by purposeful manipulation. While it is important to acknowledge that behavior, it is also critical to understand the context that separates what Antrim did from what Clausen did.

Antrim’s personal behavior helped escalate this situation. Her online persona is unrelated to Clausen’s influence. They way she interacted with people on forums and social media helped foster a toxic atmosphere. That absolutely need to be addressed but it is not immidiate grounds for dismissal.

Response

Based on our evaluation, we believe Antrim understands what occurred and the role she played in it. With the information we currently have, we deem it appropriate for Antrim to apologize and take actions to improve her behavior.

She wrote an apology which you can read here.

She has also:

  • Ended her association with Tanner Clausen
  • Resigned as a member of SOTC
  • Resigned as a moderator in The Broadswords forum.

This will keep her away from a negative influence and give her room to reflect. It is very difficult to realize that you have been manipulated. Even more difficult to recognize that your behavior did not fall in line with your own values. Healing and growing from this will take time. To aid her growth she taking the following steps to help insure nothing like this happens again:

  • Taking time to develop skills to have mindful interactions when interacting with people with people on social media outlets.
  • Making concerted efforts to de-escalate or step away from conflicts before they become heated.
  • Proactively researching and vetting future partnerships.

Based on our investigation and her apology, Amelia Antrim and Character Creation Cast will remain a part of the network. It is the Network’s hope that having the truth of this matter recognized will allow all parties involved to move past what happened.

Why Provide So Much Detail?

The purpose of this document and its related investigation is to expose the root causes of this situation to help prevent similar ones from happening in the future.

In evaluating this situation, it became apparent that patterns of harmful behavior present throughout the gaming industry provided the opportunity for this situation to develop in the way that it did. The behavior that drove it to this point is not unique to Antrim or even Clausen.

Clausen was able to inflict a great deal of harm because he took advantage of Amelia’s privilege. The victim’s statement called out Antrim as “the poster girl of white feminism.” It is deeply important for our community to understand the sentiment behind that statement. As mentioned above, Antrim believed this conflict started recently surrounding a single event. For the members of  SITW, it is the culmination of over a year of frustration.

Without realizing it, Amelia overshadowed marginalized people. She made posts that drew attention away from their presence while highlighting her own. The central criticism of white feminism is drawing attention to issues that affect cis white women and failing to address equally important issues for people with other identities. As a bi woman, Amelia does face a hostile environment in gaming. However, her needs are still more likely to be addressed than other marginalized folks. If attention shifts from “issues facing LGBTQ+ folks in gaming,” to “bi white women,” it’s more harmful than many privileged people realize. It’s also easier to instigate that shift than people realize.

Amelia also personally made them feel unwelcome by dismissing their ideas and perspectives. This behavior was not specific to her interaction with SITW. Furthermore, this behavior is not uniquely Amelia’s. Hostility in online spaces is common, but it has a more dramatic effect on marginalized people. For them, negative interactions are more severe and last longer. Incidents that were small or did not even register in her memory, had a dramatic impact on these marginalized individuals.

When Amelia was criticized, it was easy for her to dismiss the negative impact of her behavior because she could not see it. Allyship isn’t a passive activity. Simply deciding that you support marginalized folks is not enough. Thinking of yourself as an “ally” can actually blind you to the ways in which you perpetuate harm in communities because it reduces your likelihood to consider the impact of your own behavior.

Listening to people from marginalized communities, introspection, and taking steps to address their issues is what drives substantive allyship. Not intent or labels. This failure to introspect and take responsibility creates opportunities for bad actors.

This happened to Amelia, but many privileged people are responsible for similar behavior without realizing it. The framework of privilege allows even well-meaning people to cause harm. It also provides systems for willful bad actors to exploit. Until privileged people take the time to examine their behavior, events like this will continue to happen.

Our sympathies are with the people who have been struggling unheard in this situation. We wish to offer our own condolences and hope this statement helps reduce the potential for similar incidents in the future.

Thank you for your time,

The One Shot Team

Fond Farewell to Kat Kuhl

Hello Heroes,

Today we are bidding farewell to one of our founding leaders and most cherished friends. Kat Kuhl will be stepping down from her leadership role at One Shot and start pursuing creative projects independently. We as business partners came to a disagreement about how the business should be run, and decided to move in different directions. We saw this decision as important not only to our careers but the health of our friendship. Ultimately our friendship was most important to both of us.

We support Kat wholeheartedly and want to see her continue to succeed in whatever she chooses to do next. Although we are parting ways professionally, we want to assure everyone that James, Kat, and One Shot are all on good terms. You’ll still hear Kat on one shot shows.

Obviously, with someone as important and influential as Kat leaving the network, there will be concerns over what is happening to projects she was involved with. To put fears to rest and prepare you for changes, we are providing some details below.

Campaign

Kat was the GM and showrunner for Campaign. Ultimately we feel the current story is hers and it would be wrong to keep the show in its current incarnation without her. For that reason Campaign will be changing, but not immediately.

We currently have several months of recorded for Campaign including the current arc, Evil Campaign, and the Firefly mini-series. Once Kat decided she wanted to leave the company, Campaign was placed on an official hiatus. Starting this week Campaign will return from hiatus and assume a bi-weekly schedule until the end of the current arc. James will be taking over editing and posting duties and Campaign will have the same regularity as One Shot.

We feel the end of the current arc is the most logical stopping point for the official story. This run will also include the end of the current arc of Evil Campaign along with a new arc for the Bluebird crew.

There are Campaign episodes recorded after the end of the current arc. They will be released to the One Shot Network Secret Archive after we reach the end of our current arc. Those episodes will be considered “Nebulous Kanan.”

The Campaign live show at Gencon this year will feature Tryst, Leenik, and Bacta along with some of your favorite side characters. It will be set after the official series end of Campaign and will be part of our fond and almost certainly tearful goodbye to the story.

The Campaign feed will continue after the conclusion of our Star Wars series. We always envisioned Campaign as One Shot’s longform storytelling show. It will continue to be that after Kat’s departure and the end of her story. We are currently in pre-production for a new ongoing game for the Campaign feed. Both John Patrick Coan and Johnny O’Mara have agreed to stay on as players and James will be taking over as GM. We will be releasing more details as we get closer to the launch of our new campaign.

We understand how important Campaign is to our fans. Seeing your investment in the story and characters over the years has been a huge source of joy for us. That game was also important to everyone involved with making it. We hope you understand why we are choosing to end the story, and ask that you join us as we take the campaign concept to a new story.

The Dungeon Dome, A Woman With Hollow Eyes, and The One Shot Podcast

As we said before, Kat is still on good terms with the network. She will continue to work with us on productions in a performer capacity. You can look forward to seeing Mega Starlight Surprise and Kitty Hart in future productions of The Dungeon Dome and A Woman With Hollow Eyes. Kat will also continue to join us a guest on episodes of One Shot.

Working with Kat was an amazing experience for everyone at the network. She has helped build something incredible and we will always admire her for her creativity, compassion, and integrity. We look forward to seeing what she does next. It’s our hope that One Shot Heroes continue to support and celebrate Kat as she moves forward to the next stage of her career.

We will continue to honor Kat’s contributions to our network by producing entertaining shows, celebrating the roleplaying hobby, and working to keep our community accessible and inclusive

Sincerely,

James D’Amato and The One Shot Team

Investigation Conclusion: Network Member Priyanko Paul Attacked

Recently an allegation was made against Pranks, one of the hosts on The One Shot Network. Upon learning of the allegation, we suspended production of Adventure, confronted Pranks about the allegations, and opened an investigation. We gathered information from the victim and the accused to establish a timeline and evaluate what happened. Upon review of all available information, we realized we could not be objective judges when the accused was a friend.

To remove the threat of bias and to insure the safety of a potential victim, we hired neutral third party consultants to conduct the investigation: PhD students specializing in workplace psychology. We chose these individuals because the lawyers and professional HR firms we contacted did not take the victim’s claims seriously in our initial interviews. These workplace psychology scholars understood the importance of listening to the accusation seriously, which made them the most obviously qualified people to handle the case in our eyes.

We signed an agreement which you can read here:

This agreement bound our consultants to protect the anonymity of the potential victim. It also defined the consultants’ obligation as to the community rather than our network. We agreed to treat our consultants’ assessment of this matter as the most informed opinion, as they ultimately had access to information we did not. After over a week of reviewing evidence and conducting interviews, our consultants have reached a verdict.

The allegation made was serious. It demands careful thought and attention. We ask that you understand the first allegation of inappropriate behavior made against Pranks was of a radically different nature. If you wish to read about it, you can find the details of our first investigation here. Please review the consultants’ statement and evidence below to understand our decision and how we reached it.

CONSULTANT STATEMENT

VERDICT AND EVIDENCE

After reviewing the statement from our consultants, the One Shot Network does not believe the harassment described in the accusation took place. Furthermore, the Network does not believe any event similar to the story described by the accuser took place.

To avoid petitioning from any party interested in swaying their verdict during or after their investigation, our consultants have requested to remain anonymous. They also expressed concern that association with this case could put them at risk for harassment. Based on information that we will share below, we believe this is a realistic fear. We will not release any identifying information for our consultants per their request.

We understand that keeping our consultants anonymous throws potential doubt on their impartiality, and could make members of the community feel unsafe. We want you to have to extend your trust to us as little as possible in this process. We settled on obtaining a notarized affidavit. Statements made in a notarized affidavit are considered the same as speaking under oath in court. Falsifying a notarized affidavit is perjury. We have redacted James’ middle name and address to mitigate the risk of doxing or identity theft.

During our initial investigation, Pranks presented us with a week’s worth of phone location tracking data, credit card statements, public transit purchase records, social media correspondence, and time-stamped private conversations and texts. Simply put, for the week of November 28th we know everything Pranks bought, who he talked to, and where he was when he did it. After we handed the investigation over to the independent consultants, they pursued further inquiry, and Pranks provided even more information, including some workplace information. The consultants used information provided by Pranks, as well as some email exchanges with the accuser to reach their decision.

Some of the information provided by Pranks is excerpted here.

Below are his public transit purchase records, showing that he took the CTA to and from work on Tuesday the 28th at 9:21 and 6:18, respectively:

Below is a private Twitter thread showing Pranks posting during the time of supposed interaction with the accuser:

Below are the credit card records Pranks provided pertinent to the day of the accusation:

In the interest of protecting Pranks’ safety, we have omitted his location tracking data, workplace records, and cell phone records. Though they do not appear here, they were reviewed by our consultants and influenced their decision.

As outlined in the statement by the consultants, the harassment could not have occurred as described based on the credit card receipts, location tracking data, public transit data, and workplace records provided by Pranks. In the face of the overwhelming evidence provided, the validity of any part of the accuser’s story depends on extraordinarily strange behavior (i.e., departing one’s workplace in the middle of the day, taking a cab home and then returning, only to take public transit again) and a phone’s location data somehow failing to operate properly for a very specific time period.

WHY DID THIS HAPPEN

At this time we believe this accusation is part of a coordinated attack to discredit our network, harm our employees, and worst of all make it more difficult for victims seeking justice in harassment cases. The core mission statement at One Shot has been to expand the gaming hobby by making it more visibly diverse and approachable. We cast performers, feature games, and produce shows to broaden the concept of the roleplaying hobby and audience. We’re committed to making games a better place.

Not everyone agrees with these values. In addition to specific threats we’ve received, One Shot has done several things that might have provoked an attack like this. After the 2016 election, One Shot began issuing political calls to action to combat regressive figures in political office. At the beginning of 2018, we held a fundraiser for Trans Lifeline because we believe in visibly and proactively supporting the safety and dignity of marginalized people. We’re certain that no matter the motive, this actor is someone who sought to use our commitment to progressive values against us because they fear what we represent.

As stated previously, we initially treated this accusation as genuine. We treat all harassment allegations as genuine. However, there were aspects of the accuser’s story that initially did not make sense to us. One of the most troubling was the lie that began the accuser’s initial Reddit post.

The accuser claimed to have sent an email to the network prior to posting their public accusation. We could not locate this email in any of our inboxes. James initially blamed himself for this failure, and responded publicly and privately.

After conducting a thorough search without finding an email we asked the accuser to re-send it so we could include any relevant information in our investigation. They claimed they accidentally sent it to “gamemaster@oneshotrpg.com.”

This could be an understandable mistake as James’s Twitter account and One Shot’s Twitch account have a similar handle. However, at the time of our investigation and including the period in which we posted this statement, gamemaster@oneshotrpg.com did not exist as a valid email address. The address the accuser sent this message from was a gmail account. We know this because we asked the accuser to forward the original statement to us.

If they had attempted to contact us at that address, they would have received a bounceback notification within 48 hours of hitting send. We know this, because we tested it with our professional and private email accounts, per the screenshots below.

In the initial Reddit post, the accuser said they made their accusation public because they received “radio silence” from us. The forwarded message said it was sent on the 10th and the Reddit post was made on the 17th. This timing means that any Gmail user that contacted the nonexistent address would have received no less than three bounceback notifications.

A victim would not need to lie about contacting us privately. However, someone who wanted to maximize the harm to our Network’s reputation has a very clear reason to lie about contacting us.

During our investigation, we were made aware of a callout campaign hosted on Tumblr and Twitter. The accounts involved were dedicated exclusively to attacks on One Shot, and interacted primarily with each other. This is a tactic common for alt-right harassment campaigns.

These accounts also took the time to include attacks against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party.

Curiously absent are mentions of abuse or harassment an alt-right troll would not want to draw attention to. It is absolutely plausible that someone conducting a callout campaign would try to relate their mission to other current events. It is deeply suspicious for this individual to exclusively target people and organizations of the left.

The updates shifted from calls to publicly address the accuser’s statements, to attacks on the Network’s response to these allegations. This included our decision to turn the investigation over to unbiased consultants. These posts followed network personalities and criticized them for their personal lives unrelated to the case.

Eventually, posts made by the accounts were tagged with completely unrelated tags like “The Adventure Zone” and “RPPR.” The use of these tags is specifically to create visibility for their statements. They chose shows and networks with progressive reputations because we suspect they believed any progressive audience would take the bait.

Using unrelated tags is not a common tactic callout campaigns use on Tumblr to spread their message.

Most recently they posted about another alleged incident of harassment that was never brought to the attention of the Network. This accusation apparently went directly to a blog that is only being read by other blogs that post identical content. This claim was posted after a week of inactivity from all Tumblr and Twitter accounts associated with this campaign. It is the Network’s belief that this is a desperate attempt by a troll to garner interest in a failing harassment campaign. We take all claims of harassment brought to us seriously. The claim they alluded to was not brought to us. It is a waste of our time and resources to engage with someone using McCarthyist tactics.

Most troublingly, the person responsible for this campaign has targeted a fan of the network with a callout post – taking the focus away from the Network and anyone who could reasonably address real concerns, and risking harassment to completely innocent people. Someone running a good faith callout effort wants to see bad actors brought to justice. This person wants to harm the Network, and doesn’t care who they hurt in the process.

Their goal was never to find justice for a victim, or demand a serious response to the accusations made. They wanted to be seen so they could spread mistrust. They chose to base their campaign on Tumblr, because they cynically believe Tumblr users invest in false claims of harassment. They tagged their posts with other progressive shows, because they believe people who listen to those shows also behave that way. They performed a vapid imitation of social justice rhetoric without any of the sensitivity of a person interested in social justice.

The accusation and the harassment campaign were part of an attack.

NEXT STEPS

The person behind this attack wanted to derail our mission. They want to intimidate our network away from representing our values. They want to make One Shot ineffectual and vulnerable. They want to make it more difficult for victims to come forward and be treated fairly. They will fail.

As a result of this attack, we have developed a better method to address concerns of harassment. By involving responsible consultants, we’ve eliminated the risk of interpersonal biases that have prevented action in similar cases with other games companies in the past. As we move forward in 2018, we will continue to refine our process, and look for ways to increase transparency. We will share our methods with any company in the industry that needs to make a difficult evaluation of an employee’s behavior. As a result of this attack, victims of harassment in the gaming industry will have better tools to bring their abusers to justice.

This bad faith actor attempted to attack us personally by destroying our friendships and sowing mistrust in our community. No one is ever above suspicion in a situation like this, even a friend you know very well. Everyone involved worked to resolve this in a way that prioritized community safety over personal comfort. We are happy to report that Pranks will resume production of Adventure after a brief hiatus. He will also continue to work with Kat on producing Campaign. This was a frightening and emotionally trying experience, but we still have each other. We’re stronger, and we respect each other deeply. We’re better positioned to serve you now more than ever.

If this person wanted to scare us away from supporting charities like Trans Lifeline, they’ve failed. As a result of this attack, we are reopening our TLL fundraiser. We will raise an additional $1000 to support crisis intervention and micro grants for trans people by March 10th, or James will pay the difference out of his Network wages.

We want to recover from this situation not just as a network, but as a community. That means we have some things to ask of our listeners.

One thing that disappointed us greatly during this process was some listeners defending the network by attacking the accuser on their reddit post. In this situation, the victim turned out to be a bad actor. However, there is no way anyone could know that until an investigation had been completed. No matter your intentions, attacking someone who is a potential victim reflects poorly on our community. If we are going to make games better, we need your help. That means not doing things like this.

We also ask that our fans refrain from interacting with any of these troll accounts. These accounts were created for the purposes of drawing us and our fans into a conflict. The person behind these accounts has already demonstrated a callous disregard for people’s safety. We don’t want anyone risking any sort of harm on our behalf. We also don’t want to dogpile our fanbase onto anyone regardless of whether or not they’re bad actors. If you see one of these accounts, report it for abuse through official channels on the platform you found it, or notify us of its existence. There’s a good chance that this troll will be lashing out in the wake of our posting this statement. Please do not engage.

Pranks wrote his own statement he wanted includes as part of this announcement:

Social Media Silence

I have been maintaining social media silence during this period. I felt it was best until the results of One Shot’s investigation and statement had been released.

The callout campaign, social media attacks, and my desire not to derail #MeToo and analogous movements mean that I will be returning to Twitter, but will not be making public statements regarding the situation outside of what is being released via OneShot.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Thank you for your time and care during this process. We know it was hard for many of you to watch this situation unfold without information. We also struggled with the prolonged nature of this investigation. It was worth it to us to know that this process was handled in a way we felt was responsible. We take issues like this seriously, and sometimes that means they take time to resolve.

If you have questions about any part of this process, please send them to gamemaster@oneshotpodcast.com. Kat and James will be recording a podcast to debrief this situation and our process. We want to ensure any lingering concerns are addressed in that episode.

Sincerely,

James and Kat

Update on Harassment Allegations

Hello Heroes,

As some of you are already aware, Pranks was accused of a new incident of harassment by someone posting on the ONE SHOT reddit page. This is the second accusation of misconduct against Pranks we have received in his tenure at ONE SHOT. The first incident surrounded events that took place during Prank’s time in college. You can read our full report on that incident, and Prank’s apology here. This most recent accusation is of a far different nature. Below is a screenshot of the accusation originally posted to our page:

The behavior described in this accusation is completely unacceptable. Should we find that any ONE SHOT affiliate behaved this way with a fan, or any other person, we would dismiss them immediately.

Unlike the previous incident involving Pranks, he categorically denied any wrongdoing or even the possibility that a similar event took place. Meaning no chance meeting with a fan in a cafe, no split cab ride, and no physical contact with another person. It was easier to resolve the previous accusation, because he admitted to wrongdoing. In this case, we are forced to assess whether the incident happened, before deciding how to move forward from there.

 

Why Not Simply Believe the Victim?

We did. We responded to this matter as a serious claim against a personality on our network. That means opening an investigation, and calling upon our affiliate to admit wrongdoing and face the consequences, or offer undeniable proof that the event did not take place.

We were originally committed to dismissing Pranks even in the circumstance where we doubted claims against him, but lacked overwhelming proof to accompany that feeling. Our priority in a situation like this is community safety above everything else. If that meant dismissing someone we could not prove innocent, we were prepared to do that.

Unfortunately, we had to consider an uncomfortable fact as we proceeded with our investigation. ONE SHOT has been explicitly threatened by people who do not approve of the way we do business.

After a series of long and difficult talks, we ultimately determined that this approach was unethical and unsustainable. If one of the owners of this network was accused of harassment by an anonymous person, we could not simply dismiss them on the word of that anonymous person. We cannot hold our employees and affiliates to a standard we do not hold ourselves. Furthermore, if our organization was being targeted by a party that threatened us in the past, this approach would leave everyone we work with vulnerable to attack.

We also realized during our talks that it is impossible for us to be objective about a situation like this. Despite our good intentions, despite our desire to create a healthy community, there is no way we can be trusted to be fair in judging our friend.

We also had to ask the difficult question “does the way we currently do things help victims come forward?” The answer to that question was an emphatic “no.” Several times publicly and privately, the victim has noted that they regret coming forward, and are unsure that they can trust this process. This is without denial from our company, or a hostile response from our fans. Any situation that demands victims throw themselves at the mercy of their abuser’s friends is unsustainable.

A fair process must protect our employees from our harassers, it must also be unbiased, and make it safe for victims to come forward.

 

How Can We Do This Better?

It’s no secret that the games industry has been historically pretty awful at responding to allegations of harassment. Companies have refused to acknowledge the claims of victims, failed to communicate with their audiences, and in the worst cases, have attacked victims in attempts to protect their brands. We are tired of watching this. Games cannot be a safe space if victims cannot come forward.

One of the biggest problems with the way things are done now, is the size of the games industry. Most games companies, ONE SHOT included, are friends employing friends. There is no way for a victim to be treated fairly when the accused’s friends are expected to act as judges. Victims often don’t even feel comfortable identifying themselves, because it risks reprisal from their abuser, their abuser’s friends and co-workers, or even their abuser’s audience.

For that reason, ONE SHOT has elected to hire consultants to act as an unbiased third party. They will review the stories and evidence presented by the victim and the accused and render a verdict that our network will respond to accordingly. They have been instructed that they are not working on behalf of the ONE SHOT Network, but the games community at large. They have also been instructed to keep the victim’s identity and any other potentially sensitive information confidential, so the victim will be able to communicate with them without any fear. Their only duty is to examine the evidence, and render a judgement.

One of the reasons it took us so long to respond was our desire to work with people who would address this matter with a potential victim’s safety as a top priority. We consulted various individuals with expertise in the field. We decided against working with lawyers or HR firms, who wound up approaching the matter with the kind of “protect the company” mentality that’s helped create this unsafe environment in the first place. We needed someone who understood their responsibility was to the games community, not to a private company. In the long run, we chose to hire two PHD students in workplace psychology. It took us some time to be confident in our choice, and contract the consultants, but we’re enthusiastic about this relationship.

Having made our selection, we will hand over all the evidence we have gathered for our consultants to review. If they deem it necessary, they will make further inquiries with the victim and the accused. Once they reach a decision, they will write an opinion which we will publish here, along with any relevant evidence, and our response.

We would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the victim and our community for the initially clumsy response to this situation. These events unfolded in ways that challenged our preconceived ideas of how to handle a situation like this. We had to develop new methods as we went. For that reason, our response was slow and unfocused. We know this was a tense period for the victim. We also understand that must have frightened members of our audience who look to ONE SHOT to uphold community safety. We regret our part in making a bad situation worse.

We are committed to resolving this situation fairly, continuing to uphold our community safety standards, and elevating standards across the industry.

Thank you,

James and Kat

NeoYear Charity Drive

Hey Heroes,

To make our inevitable cyberpunk dystopia a little more livable, ONE SHOT is partnering with Trans Lifeline for a charity drive. TLL is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides crisis intervention and microgrants for transgender people.

No matter how grim our corp-run leather-clad neon-hellscape of a future gets, we can always make it a little better by caring for people in our community. As an organization dedicated to growing the tabletop gaming, we believe that creating an inclusive nurturing environment is critical to the continued growth of our hobby. If you believe in that mission, we invite you to join us in raising money for TLL to help make gaming a better hobby and build a better world.

REWARDS
To show appreciation to our listeners for joining us in this effort ONE SHOT is offering community rewards to incentivize donation:
UNLOCKED!
$500: We give away 5 copies of Noisy Person Cards to folks who don’t have it.
$1000: James will release a secret archive game to the public.
$2000: Audio of Alex Roberts reading a bedtime story.
$2500: #JamesMustDye his hair with Trans Flag colors.
$3000: Three drawings to randomly select donors to receive a commission from one of our artist partners:
-Meg Dornbrock
-Molly Ostertag
-Eric Colossal
$3500: We raffle away games from our publishing partners to donors.
$4000: Performers from our Campaign Podcast read a fanfiction voted on by fans in character.
$5000: We make the Dungeon Dome Podcast feed including all of the hidden bonus episodes available to everyone.

DONATE HERE

Click to donate to our TLL ActBlue page!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TO QUALIFY FOR DRAWINGS
Email a screen cap of your donation (any amount) to contests@oneshotpodcast.com be sure to include if you already own NPC.

 

PUBLISHING PARTNERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Heroes,
-The ONE SHOT Team

The One Shot Podcast Archives are Still at P&HS

Hi!

We know that this is really confusing, but the One Shot podcast is still being hosted at PeachesandHotSauce.com. We will be migrating it within the next month, but for now visit P&HS to find new eps and archives.