Monday, April 17, 2017

Dramatic Failure: Serial Harasser Zak S. Joins White Wolf

Photo of Zak Smith courtesy of White Wolf.
It recently came to light that Zak Smith, the serial harasser who clings to the ass of the role playing game industry like a boil you can't lance, managed to find continued employment.

This time, Zak's managed to attach their lamprey-like mouth to the mobile division of White Wolf (WW) as the co-author of Vampire The Masquerade: We Eat Blood, as announced here. Notably, this announcement blog post from WW also includes the following concluding paragraph:
Regarding the recent accusations made against our freelancers: White Wolf was aware of and investigated the previous accusations against Zak before contracting him to write and illustrate the game script. Fortunately, these accusations all pertained to alleged online behavior: each accusation is connected to an online discussion, and the digital records of these discussions can be located and reviewed. White Wolf’s investigation concluded that the accusations are false, and that Zak did not engage in the alleged behavior. We have full faith in Zak and Sarah and are excited to see their great work with the World of Darkness spread!
It's notable because this paragraph confirms that White Wolf has not just gone creatively bankrupt but morally bankrupt, too. Aside from the fact that WW decided to hire a sentient trash pile that assumed the shape of a person, WW's decision is puzzling because Zak Smith has used his fanbase  to harass people important to WW's past, like David Hill (Chronicles of Darkness, Changeling) and Avery Adler (Monsterhearts). David Hill writes of the harassment he received:
The phone call that I received came from a cheap prepaid phone purchased in the city he lives, but millions do. The phone call directly referenced him, and things he's specifically obsessed with. Around that time, I received an email rerouted through the United Arab Emirates which featured a photo of my child's school and a number of very specific threats... it referenced things he's said about me which were not true, and at the time, he lived some 20~ minutes from me.  
I know every time he brings me up, because I tend to wake up to a stream of threats and very disturbing anonymous messages.  
For the past seven or so years, he's screen-shotted and saved everything I say online, even things I've said in private groups, in spite of thorough blocks. I've had to aggressively block people suspected of being his sock puppets. At one time, a friend of mine being harassed by him actually had an associate who is a plagiarism expert identify a few of his sock puppet accounts who write exactly like him... He's been impersonating [an] RPG net mod for over a year... When called on it, he said it wasn't him and it didn't happen. When logs were shown, his story changed and now he's saying it isn't him, but someone that shares a computer with him, who has been impersonating this community figure for over a year to defend him and talk him up. And who writes with an almost laughably similar style to him.  
My issue is that he stalks me. He saves everything I say online. His fans threaten me and my family. I have tried for the better part of a decade to get him to leave me the fuck alone, but he absolutely under no circumstances will not. This isn't some thing where I can sit down with a cup of tea and meet him half way... This is not some rational disagreement. He's a stalker. He's an abuser. I'm not going to kindly ask him to pretty please stop abusing me and everyone else he's abusing. Because I have before. It didn't work. It won't work.
In 2015, I covered Zak Smith's use of a website he ran to snipe, misgender, insult and harass anyone Zak didn't like. But the documentation of Zak Smith's harassment doesn't end there. Here's a first-hand account from another one of his targets of one incident, and then a master post of what Zak did over the course of three and a half years. Here's a 3 part post from another woman in tabletop gaming Zak Smith has harassed detailed what she was put through: Part One, Part Two and Part three.

Zak Smith also has a secret group he uses to co-ordinate his followers into his private harassment army.

And just when you thought that GamerGate's fever dream given flesh couldn't sink any lower, here's how Zak Smith used a charity to force his harassment victims to have to interact with him.

At this point, it's a pretty good idea to view seeing Zak Smith's name attached to anything in the same way you'd view watching a cockroach skitter out of a diner's restaurant kitchen: a warning sign for you to take your business elsewhere, lest you consume something disgusting.

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