Paizo Leadership Team Update

Monday, November 15, 2021

Over the last six weeks, Paizo's Leadership Team has attempted to better listen to and understand the challenges faced by its workforce, customers, and community. We want to take a moment to update you on a few important developments that have emerged from those conversations.

Before we begin, it's important to note that this update does not address requests regarding salaries, adjustments to the current work-from-home environment, or other matters that are now subject to negotiation with the United Paizo Workers union during collective bargaining.

We’re still searching diligently for a candidate to fill the company’s Human Resources Manager position, and plan to begin interviews very shortly. As this is an incredibly important hire, we want to make sure we find the right candidate with experience leading initiatives related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) and working with a union. We are continuing to gather resumes as the search continues.

We’ve hired a company called Energage to complete an employee engagement survey on behalf of Paizo. This survey is designed to allow employees to provide anonymous, unfiltered, and honest feedback to the company that will help Paizo establish priorities for improvement planning. It will also serve as an important benchmark against which to measure the results of future surveys, allowing us to develop a baseline to measure against. We expect employees to be able to access the engagement survey sometime this week.

Discussion in the past several months has resurfaced two instances in which a Paizo executive mishandled user data when replying to message board posts, resulting in allegations of doxxing. These actions were contrary to Paizo policy, and corrective actions were taken to ensure that this does not happen again.

“This was a huge mistake on my part and I am deeply sorry for any issues that have arisen from these actions. This was not the right way to treat our customers and I apologize,” said Paizo President Jeff Alvarez. “As President, I know I need to hold myself to a higher standard.”

Paizo takes issues related to discrimination and harassment very seriously. We have hired the law firm of Moritt Hock & Hamroff (MH&H) to investigate allegations of discrimination against trans employees and sexual misconduct before reporting back to the Leadership Team. Investigators from the firm will reach out to members of Paizo’s staff and others that made claims on social media. Cooperation with the firm is voluntary, of course, but we remain committed to investigating these matters thoroughly to ensure a safe and respectful workplace.

We chose MH&H upon the recommendation of a consultant with expertise in matters of DEIB. MH&H has a team of attorneys that specialize in these issues, and we’re confident they’ll be able to provide an impartial analysis of the facts that we need to move forward with any corrective actions.

Because the results of these investigations are private personnel matters, Paizo will not be able to make them public. Corrective actions will be taken against any employee (including managers and executives) found to be guilty of these allegations.

It has never been Paizo’s intention to discriminate against any employee when making decisions of who to send to industry trade shows, but we see now that our room-sharing policy was based on outdated interpretations of gender, was not friendly to transgender employees, and could contribute to a perception of transphobia at the company. Paizo’s Leadership Team acknowledges the pain this caused, and we understand that we need to be better at recognizing issues where such decisions could have unintended results. We also recognize that such actions do not align with Paizo's core values, the values of its staff members, or the sentiments of diversity and inclusion expressed in Paizo products, and as such, have disappointed, angered, and confused members of our community. We believe these mistakes are not representative of who we are, or what we want the company to represent. We need to do better... and we will.

“As the person in charge of trade shows, I want to apologize to anyone that felt marginalized as a result of the convention decision-making process,” said Jeff Alvarez. “It was not our intent to discriminate against anyone, and I’m sorry.”

As previously communicated, Paizo has adopted a one-employee-per-room travel policy moving forward. Regardless of gender identity, couples will be allowed to share rooms during travel as long as both parties request it.

Paizo remains committed to maintaining a diverse, safe, and fun workplace where our employees are treated fairly and look forward to creating awesome Pathfinder and Starfinder products for many years to come. We hope that this update helps communicate that we, the Leadership Team, are doing our best to listen to and address the concerns of our community members. We believe in creating a better Paizo, and believe that transparency, communication, and accountability will be instrumental as we move forward. Thank you for your continued support of our company and our products.

Paizo Leadership Team
David, Erik, Jeff, Jim, Lisa, and Mike

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Vigilant Seal

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Funky Badger wrote:
Dude already admitted to it, didn't he?

no. It was alleged by a third party.

Dark Archive

A post about birds? Ok.

And yes, he did admit to sending "intimate pictures" to people.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
That fun moment when the company has no money to raise wages to a living standard but it has the money to hire Wolfram & Hart so that they can *checks press release* send e-mails asking former employees if they were mistreated.

It's always interesting to see what Leadership truly finds important, isn't it?

Silver Crusade

13 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

In his case, I would say confessed rather than admitted. He had a seemingly genuine mea culpa for what it's worth. But that's all kind of outside this specific issue.

Paizo Employee Director of Community

Removed one post about birds, as sarcasm in this thread is especially close to baiting (also, please watch the profanity). Thanks!

Grand Lodge

Leg o' Lamb wrote:
And yes, he did admit to sending "intimate pictures" to people.

Sorry, there are a lot of deleted posts so this seems to have lost some context. Who is "he" and are these inappropriate pictures between Paizo staff, or are we talking about the harassment issues over at WotC?

Liberty's Edge

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Tonya Woldridge wrote:
Removed one post about birds, as sarcasm in this thread is especially close to baiting (also, please watch the profanity). Thanks!

Would it be possible to have these moderation efforts handled by someone less directly involved in the ongoing conversations? Feels weird AF.

Dark Archive

TwilightKnight wrote:
Leg o' Lamb wrote:
And yes, he did admit to sending "intimate pictures" to people.
Sorry, there are a lot of deleted posts so this seems to have lost some context. Who is "he" and are these inappropriate pictures between Paizo staff, or are we talking about the harassment issues over at WotC?

Buhlman and his intimate pictures

Grand Lodge

6 people marked this as a favorite.
NightTrace wrote:
Would it be possible to have these moderation efforts handled by someone less directly involved in the ongoing conversations? Feels weird AF.

Unless/until Paizo decides she is not doing her job appropriately, its her job


I agree.

Dark Archive

Wasn't profanity, but point taken.

Grand Lodge

Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Buhlman...

ah, okay. I was aware he pursued (perhaps aggressively so) a relationship with a number of staffers.

Leg o' Lamb wrote:
...and his intimate pictures

I remember him admitting that he was making advances, but I do not recall any mention of inappropriate pictures or him admitting sending them.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
TwilightKnight wrote:
NightTrace wrote:
Would it be possible to have these moderation efforts handled by someone less directly involved in the ongoing conversations? Feels weird AF.
Unless/until Paizo decides she is not doing her job appropriately, its her job

It's part of it, yes. However other people share in that responsibility too. As it is, I just put it as a request, not a demand for sure.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TwilightKnight wrote:
Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Buhlman...

ah, okay. I was aware he pursued (perhaps aggressively so) a relationship with a number of staffers.

Leg o' Lamb wrote:
...and his intimate pictures
I remember him admitting that he was making advances, but I do not recall any mention of inappropriate pictures or him admitting sending them.

that's because his admission/confession wasn't posted here

paraphrasing, he admitted/confessed to sending pictures of an intimate nature to female friends with out asking if it was ok for him to do so or not

Dark Archive

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Lissa Guillet wrote:
In his case, I would say confessed rather than admitted. He had a seemingly genuine mea culpa for what it's worth. But that's all kind of outside this specific issue.

Yeah I think that has been mostly forgotten just because of his statement alone seeming actually genuine. Like... There isn't really much more to add there. There was accusation, there was statement of him explaining his side of things but it didn't feel deflective and more genuinely apologetic, so there wasn't really more to follow up on it since unless context is about crime you need to be jailed for, there isn't really much more besides vowing to be better person and others observing how well you do on that. After that its just matter of whether you believe them or not I guess?

Sidenote, its something I kinda observe about public apologies. Like lot of private people on internet seem to refuse to apologize under any condition because they seem to believe that apologizing is admitting you were in wrong in first place and they are too prideful to believe they did anything wrong. But public people HAVE to apologize because of their careers, so when they clearly don't want to do so, it doesn't feel genuine and it really ticks people off.(that or whether or not they are genuine is lost behind "this is worded so we can't be sued" text) Apologizing genuinely requires humility and willingness to think on behalf of who you are telling apology to.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Here is a handy resource compiling most everything we know about the allegations made against Paizo. Before posting anything about these allegations, it's a good idea to inform yourself about what is known.

Jason Buhlman's response is also viewable here.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Leg o' Lamb wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:
Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Buhlman...

ah, okay. I was aware he pursued (perhaps aggressively so) a relationship with a number of staffers.

Leg o' Lamb wrote:
...and his intimate pictures
I remember him admitting that he was making advances, but I do not recall any mention of inappropriate pictures or him admitting sending them.

that's because his admission/confession wasn't posted here

paraphrasing, he admitted/confessed to sending pictures of an intimate nature to female friends with out asking if it was ok for him to do so or not

Specifically he says there's an accusation about "salacious images" and he says he's had "intimate correspondences with his partners" that he'd thought were "mutual and wanted", but he can't "know that now with 100% certainty".

So it's kind of admitting without quite admitting it.


Cringey. Fa skeefo.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The way he words it is that he thought he had consent, presumably from people he had a relatively casual but sexually flirtatious relationship with that was mutual (and may have even involved actual sex), but maybe didn't discuss the exact boundaries, and now he's worried he may have overstepped in some of those scenarios and made someone uncomfortable in a way they may have felt obliged not to vocalize, that is my interpretation of the text of what he said anyway.

Dark Archive

The-Magic-Sword wrote:
The way he words it is that he thought he had consent, presumably from people he had a relatively casual but sexually flirtatious relationship with that was mutual (and may have even involved actual sex), but maybe didn't discuss the exact boundaries, and now he's worried he may have overstepped in some of those scenarios and made someone uncomfortable in a way they may have felt obliged not to vocalize, that is my interpretation of the text of what he said anyway.

That is how it read to me as well yeah.

Personally I've never understood concept of genital pictures or why anybody would want to see them in particular. Or rather why somebody would think someone else wants to see their genitals.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

It can be lovely fun, when it's consensual and there's good communication. ^-^

Non-consensually, it's generally a power play. Miscommunications can happen, but that's a very special circumstance.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
Why let a man responsible for discriminatory police keep his job and station? What happens the next time he decided to hurt people?

This question got sidelined by dick pick tangents, and I think it should be discussed.

I've mixed feelings about this, and I'm still trying to make up my mind about it. On the one hand, there need to be clear consequences for discriminatory behavior, especially when practiced by people who've been entrusted with a lot of power over other people's lives. Jeff's actions may have caused some not insignificant harm to Crystal Frasier's career, if not other trans employees as well. I want to see something more than a slap on the wrist happen as a result of this behavior. Reparations are ideal.

On the other hand, I would be calling for someone's career and livelihood with secondhand knowledge. That shouldn't be an easy thing to call for; but if there's good evidence of discriminatory behavior (which seems to be the case), then perhaps it's the right thing to do. But there's two things that still bother me about this.

1) If this is how UPW resolves this matter, I'm concerned that's going to hurt this movement's momentum across the tabletop spectrum. CEOs of other major tabletop companies getting the message: "If you are transparent with your consumer base, they will call for your resignation." Maybe that's how this should all go, with broad resignations across the industry of problematic CEOs. At the same time, there are a lot of people at these companies that depend on it being successful in order to maintain their livelihoods. If the instability that ensues from this kind of precedent results in a lot of struggling businesses, I have to wonder if there's a better way.

This reason is tangential, however, to my main rationale right now.

2) Unless I've missed something, I've not seen much of anyone working at Paizo with a direct relationship with Jeff asking for him to resign. Instead, most everyone has been asking him to change (with varying levels of confidence that he's capable of this). As they have more experience with this situation than I do, I'm deferring to their judgment about what is the best change to make for their own lives.

So far, Paizo's narrative has been that, yes, Jeff was responsible for discriminatory behavior, but he was not aware of the consequences of his behavior, and otherwise wants to support LGBTQ people. With a change of attitude about how he runs his company, and accountability with UPW, employees believe he is capable of making Paizo into a place that supports and empowers transpeople.

That's the story I got, reading between Jeff and UPW's responses (which I've entirely possibly misread).

Do I believe this? I don't know. I don't know Jeff. If people at Paizo start calling on him to resign, I'll echo that sentiment. Until then, these are their livelihoods at stake, so I think the best decision for me to make right now is to follow their lead.

This is my current attitude about this issue, and is subject to change as I mull it over more.


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1) More like, if you're s&*@ty to your customers and employees, they will call for your resignation. Being transparent has little to do with it. He's not really being transparent, he got caught.

2) It's a huge step for employees of a company to openly call for the CEO to resign. An open conflict with the big boss and a huge risk. For non-management employees it's likely to greatly complicate the union negotiations as well.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:

It can be lovely fun, when it's consensual and there's good communication. ^-^

Non-consensually, it's generally a power play. Miscommunications can happen, but that's a very special circumstance.

I wish that was the case, having studied hookup culture and social enforcement of gender roles in an academic context, as well as having had experience of my own, they intersect to make casual miscommunication very likely:

I proffered my arm to a lady friend of mine when leaving a restaurant, and was then coached by her that I should have taken her arm and put it around mine to show confidence instead. I like to tell this story and ask what other dates think to get a sense of their expectations for me, I've gotten everything from "Oh that would weird me out" to "Not on the first date, but I'd probably really like that on the second" with the original being someone who would prefer that sort of thing immediately.

Recently I was making out with someone (after a very consensual first kiss) and started going for their neck before stopping myself and commenting that I should ask first, said person said not to worry because I was nowhere near their boundaries and told me that if they didn't like something I did they would just stop me, leaving it to me to act without asking and trust they'd communicate from there.

Overall, we have a few different cultures in dating and hookups that have very different expectations for things like this, proper rules lawyer proof consent is absolutely the best way to do things, but that sadly isn't a part of many peoples learned behaviors in our society.

Instead, you have people who do absolutely seek consent, but believe it mostly comes from context, body language, and other indirect indicators. Hopefully that continues to change, men (and everyone else, but especially men) learn to ask forthright, and women (and everyone else, but especially women) learn to express their desires forthright.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
thejeff wrote:

1) More like, if you're s*@@ty to your customers and employees, they will call for your resignation. Being transparent has little to do with it. He's not really being transparent, he got caught.

2) It's a huge step for employees of a company to openly call for the CEO to resign. An open conflict with the big boss and a huge risk. For non-management employees it's likely to greatly complicate the union negotiations as well.

Yeah, that's true. UPW may not have the leverage to ask for his resignation.

...I don't know what to do here. So I guess I'll hang back for a bit and watch what happens. Give this some more thought.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

Sorry, I think I must have been unclear. I'm saying that in cases of unwanted dickpics, "oops, I misunderstood" is vastly less common than it simply being a power play by a man. Not saying the former may not have been the case here, of course, but we're drifting off-topic. I just have a lot of sex worker friends.

Originally, I was simply voicing my thoughts on the idea that sending genitalia pictures to intimate partners was inherently strange or unhealthy, but I didn't want to imply that I was commenting on the Bulhman discussion as a whole. :P


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Sorry, I think I must have been unclear. I'm saying that in cases of unwanted dickpics, "oops, I misunderstood" is vastly less common than it simply being a power play by a man. Not saying it may not have been the case here, of course, but we're drifting off-topic.

I was simply voicing my thoughts on the idea that sending genitalia pictures to intimate partners was inherently strange or unhealthy.

Fair, I was just thinking some people might see a natural segway from hot and heavy / flirtatious texts to pics, without realizing they should seek explicit consent for them (which they should.)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Eager to see what the union response to this is.

Either way, I’m pretty thoroughly soured on Pathfinder for the near future. There were so many places this train could’ve stopped and management could’ve saved a lot of face… this bogus communications + lawyering up is not it. There are other games, by other people that I know don’t mistreat folks like me; I’ll enjoy those.


keftiu wrote:

Eager to see what the union response to this is.

Either way, I’m pretty thoroughly soured on Pathfinder for the near future. There were so many places this train could’ve stopped and management could’ve saved a lot of face… this bogus communications + lawyering up is not it. There are other games, by other people that I know don’t mistreat folks like me; I’ll enjoy those.

Before you go care to say which ones because the depressing part of this whole situation is outside of indie games Paizo isn't really worst.

Edit:
Wait Lancer. Thanks for reminding me.


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Opsylum wrote:
That's the story I got, reading between Jeff and UPW's responses (which I've entirely possibly misread).

For the record, UPW has not issued an official response to the Leadership Team's latest statement, nor was the union involved in or consulted about any of the decisions described therein.


The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Sorry, I think I must have been unclear. I'm saying that in cases of unwanted dickpics, "oops, I misunderstood" is vastly less common than it simply being a power play by a man. Not saying it may not have been the case here, of course, but we're drifting off-topic.

I was simply voicing my thoughts on the idea that sending genitalia pictures to intimate partners was inherently strange or unhealthy.

Fair, I was just thinking some people might see a natural segway from hot and heavy / flirtatious texts to pics, without realizing they should seek explicit consent for them (which they should.)

Yeah, it's one thing if it's unexpected pics when you're already in a sexual relationship - and not a one-night stand where you don't know if it's going to continue or not. Even then it can be awkward and unwanted, but likely only in the "I don't want pictures" sense rather than the "power play towards sex" sense.

Before then, it had better only be with explicit consent.

Buhlman's comments imply that it was only with women he was having sex with. "Partners" naturally reads that way to me in that context, but it doesn't explicitly say it.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
United Paizo Workers wrote:
Opsylum wrote:
That's the story I got, reading between Jeff and UPW's responses (which I've entirely possibly misread).
For the record, UPW has not issued an official response to the Leadership Team's latest statement, nor was the union involved in or consulted about any of the decisions described therein.

Underlining this.


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Not consulting with the Union over something thus big kinda shows how the higher ups view the Union and does not bode well.

Grand Lodge

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Opsylum wrote:
dick pick

For f*+~'s sake can we stop using that phrase already!?!


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TwilightKnight wrote:
Opsylum wrote:
dick pick
For f&!*'s sake sake we stop using that phrase already!?!

Look I know some people have an issue with picks being the best weapon in PF2, but you're taking that a bit too far.


Penis Portrait?


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Preserved in Perpetuity Painfully Personal Photos.

Still processing, but will probably comment later tonight or after an incredibly early work shift tomorrow.

Liberty's Edge

8 people marked this as a favorite.

We need to stay on message:

The CEO, Mr. Jeff Alvarez, has caused a trust crisis, and he has become the story and a distraction. He should do the honorable thing and resign.

Only then can the process of rebuilding trust begin.


There is no honor with Jeff.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

10 people marked this as a favorite.

No politics (also removed posts referencing it).

That's all the bandwidth I have for the evening, sorry it's not more comprehensive, but it's been Noted™.

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