Open Letter From Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens


Paizo General Discussion

Paizo Employee CEO

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My name is Lisa Stevens and I am the CEO and owner of Paizo Inc. Events of the past few weeks have compelled me to make this statement.

My company will never condone any sexual harassment or assault against any of our employees, male or female. We will never condone any sexual harassment or assault against any of our customers on paizo.com or at sanctioned organized play activities. Whenever I hear any allegations of sexual harassment or assault related to Paizo’s activities, I always immediately drop whatever I'm doing and I make getting to the bottom of these issues my top priority. We have banned people from paizo.com. We have banned people from participating in our organized play activities. We have stopped doing business with individuals. And we will continue to do so.

As a woman and a survivor of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of these attacks. I know what it is like to feel the shame, the terror, how it changes your life forever. And because of this, I will never stand for my company to condone this behavior.

Paizo’s employees are encouraged to come forward with any allegations of sexual harassment or assault and let a manager know as soon as possible. If criminal activities have taken place, they are encouraged to report it to the police and take legal action against the perpetrator. We have asked our employees to not engage in explosive and angry dialogue on paizo.com. We want our website to be a place where our customers feel safe and among friends. If there is problem on paizo.com, then our community team will handle it and, where appropriate, ban the perpetrator.

In closing, you have my word that I have zero tolerance for sexual harassment and assault, and the same is true of Paizo. Please be aware that we treat these issues with tremendous sensitivity, and only disclose the specifics and resolutions of any such incidents on a need-to-know basis, even within Paizo or with our legal counsel. We do not and will not discuss these matters publicly. Every instance that I am aware of has been thoroughly investigated, and appropriate actions have been taken or are in the process of being taken. You have my word on this.

Director of Marketing, Lone Wolf Development

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Paizo Con: The only thing I desire is peace and to be left alone to create.

As the victim in this particular situation, I have watched in public silence as the world dissected my story and speculated as to the intimate details. I looked on and relived these events as people believed, disbelieved, defended me passionately, and cast doubt on the situation. I received many wonderful messages from those who were there or heard what happened, expressions of anger on my behalf and an outpouring of love. And yet I am heartbroken by what I see, not due to the event itself but that these same individuals, who aided me when I was in need, are being verbally assaulted and accused of less than exemplary behavior. So, despite being told that I in no way needed to by countless individuals on all sides of the event, I’ve chosen to speak. I’ve selected Paizo as my medium to do so to ensure that everyone can see my words.

What happened at Paizo Con was not appropriate. The offensive behavior I dealt with from this person was very inappropriate, unwanted, and frankly a bit scary. However, Paizo’s staff did all they could to ensure I was safe, they made all the right offers to take care of the situation, and when I declined some of their suggestions they chose to protect me with their silence. Nearly every member of Paizo’s staff interacted with me in some way during these awful events. Many offered protection, others walked me to my room, spoke out on my behalf, held my hand while I was afraid, and even physically stepped in when the clearly inebriated individual in no way wanted to hear my “No thank you.”. In the end, Lisa Stevens herself shed tears alongside me as she heard my story. Her concern was genuine, her anger fierce, and at no point was there any disbelief. She passionately argued to be able to defend me and doesn’t deserve to be accused of doing anything less than her very best to protect me while I was in her “house”. Paizo made me feel welcome, believed in, and defended me in every way I would allow.

No one tried to silence me, I silenced them.

The individual who stalked me through the halls that day was far too drunk to drive, he had children staying at the convention, and I asked that he be allowed to leave when sober. I also requested the incident be kept as quiet as possible to protect his family. Additionally, several of my friends work at the very company this man represents, I didn’t want their professional lives impacted by a public scandal any more than I wanted anyone else’s to be. Members of Frog God Games checked in on me and handled their side of the mess as they saw fit. I protected others and I tried to protect myself. I’m a private person who’s survived far worse storms than what happened here and I simply wanted to resolve the issue for all involved and put it behind me before it resurfaced more traumatic events in my mind. We all have to choose what hills we die on. I didn't feel the need to make this one mine. I work here. This industry is my life, it’s where my friends are, it’s my creative outlet; the place where I bring to life all the crazy ideas parading through my mind, and all I want to do is take my imagination out for a stroll and create games we all enjoy.

I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to all the people who cared enough to stand up for me, walk beside me, and protect me from the public. I personally consider this matter closed and would prefer everyone else do so as well for the sake of my own privacy and personal sanity. – BJ Hensley

Paizo Employee Organized Play Manager

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Paizo and the Organized Play Foundation use Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) to protect non-public business information and trade secrets. Paizo and the OPF do not use NDAs to suppress volunteer speech regarding personal events.

That any of our community feels pressured to silence by their NDA upsets me greatly. I encourage any person, Venture-Officer or otherwise, to contact me directly via email at tonya.woldridge@paizo.com so that we may open a discussion and work towards issue resolution.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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