Let me start this blog post by saying that I unconditionally believe what Mandy Morbid is saying in her post on Facebook.
That said, I’d like to explain why I – as someone very outspoken against harassment, sexism and the like – haven’t spoken out about Zak S. before this. The reason is simple. I was afraid that anything I said would blow up in my face.
Yes, I am an outspoken person. I’ve had very little to do with Zak S., apart from reviewing some of his stuff (I also had a barely noteworthy interaction with him where he commented on my blog that I was wrong about something or other, but I can’t remember what at this point).
I’ve always suspected that the stories of harassment and abuse were true, because they tend to be. But I also have a lot of friends and acquaintances who believed that people were out to harass Zak. And honestly, I was afraid of being caught in the middle.
I’m not proud of this.
I have supported the victims more than I have supported the perpetrator when it comes to discussions on social media, but by not speaking out against him and by not refraining from buying his works, I am complicit. I can argue – as I have with regards to other people like James Edward Raggi – that I’m buying LotFP stuff because I actually like to “hate read” it, if that makes sense. Yes, I buy crap like “Fuck for Satan” just to be able to deconstruct it and potentially dislike it in an informed manner. But none of the other authors for LotFP have been accused of abuse and harassment in the same way as Zak S. (as far as I know, but I must admit, I’m not involved in the OSR or table-top scene. I honestly don’t know what’s happening there.)
I do know I was afraid that people I respect, people who believed Zak S. was a good person and someone who was being harassed himself, would lose their respect for me if I spoke out too loud. This has been cowardly of me. For someone who prides herself on at least trying to be a decent person, this is a failure.
I’m spreading Mandy Morbid’s post, because that’s what she’s asking people to do. I’m also encouraging you not to buy any of Zak S’s stuff or to invite him to cons or collaborations. We have enough toxicity in the culture as it is. We don’t need to encourage it further.