Geek Girls Rule! #512 – Evil Hat -v- Contessa

Edited to correct Stacy Dellorfano’s pronouns.  I apologize for the error in misgendering them. 

So, many of you are going to be wrong about whose side I’m on.

So, Bundle of Holding put together a Fate BoH, and without asking Evil Hat, decided that Contessa would be the beneficiary of it.  When Evil Hat found out, because of past actions by the head of Contessa they asked that the charity benefiting from the BoH not be Contessa.

Instead of telling Contessa that they were no longer the beneficiary of the Fate BoH, according to Stacy Dellorfano the head of Contessa, they discovered this the day the BoH dropped when the Electronic Frontiers Foundation was designated on the page as the charity.

First, Bundle of Holding should have cleared Contessa receiving the Fate BoH funds with Evil Hat BEFORE telling Contessa that they would be the ones receiving the money.  Not doing this was exceedingly bad form, and would never fly in the majority of fund-raising organizations.  It’s just good manners.

Second, this appears to be Bundle of Holding dropping the ball by not informing Contessa that they were no longer the beneficiary.

And because Contessa had already told people they would be the beneficiary of the BoH, Stacy Dellorfano, posted about it, blaming Evil Hat.

I do understand being upset, but they are upset at the wrong people.  They should be upset with BoH and their handling of it.

Instead they decided to take umbrage with Evil Hat because Contessa has “benefited them.”  Because they have allowed people to run Evil Hat games at Contessa events and “People who got their start at Contessa have created for Evil Hat.”  And they apparently don’t understand the “bad blood” between Contessa, actually themself, and Evil Hat.

This is my unimpressed face.

On the surface of it, Contessa looks like an organization that I would gladly support, and I did in fact throw my hat in when it was new, along with several other folks whom I can name later if they are cool with it.

And one by one we fell away, because Dellorfano’s actions and words to do not match, not at all.

If you read Fred Hicks’s statement, he explains the “bad blood,” which is his “feud” with James Raggi*. This “feud” started when Hicks called out Kingdom Death’s uber cheesecake-y art, a sentiment I agree with wholeheartedly.  Dellorfano came out, loudly, in Raggi’s camp, calling for a boycott of the Evil Hat Kickstarter that ran concurrently.  Five years later, Hicks and Evil Hat are still dealing with the fallout from this. (Ok, granted, it’s likely not as horrific as if they’d been female, enby or queer, but there has been some.)

And while Hicks does not specifically mention Dellorfano’s continued support of Zak S, a serial harasser of people, particularly women, in the gaming industry, he does reference ZS as one of those involved at the bottom in a footnote.  If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know how I feel about him.

So, Dellorfano pretends that none of this happened and they are shocked that Evil Hat would think twice about supporting their organization.

Also, as I’ve mentioned before, the people they should be pissed at are Bundle of Holding for their handling of this.  They botched it.  They really did.  I adore Bundle of Holding, they do good work, but this does not mean I am not going to come right out and say when they fucked up.  If events transpired as Dellorfano narrates them, BoH fucked up.  Not Evil Hat.

Also the idea that the former Contessa members who have written for Evil Hat got their start at Contessa** is laughable at best.  Start as what? Contessa doesn’t publish games.  They have people run them. And, as far as I can tell, publish the occasional blog post. That’s it.

Also claiming that letting people run Evil Hat games at Contessa is a benefit to Evil Hat is kind of a stretch.  You do events at conventions, all kinds of games get run at conventions, especially the new hotnesses and Evil Hat has produced a fair number of new hotnesses over the years. They certainly could ban Evil Hat products from Contessa’s events, and that’s fine. But in years where they are the ones with the new hotness, that would likely hurt Contessa more than Evil Hat.

I have never seen Contessa support Evil Hat publicly, nor boost or support any of their products.

Not even those written by the people who “got their start” at Contessa.

Like I said, I love the idea of Contessa.  They have done some good work. And if the organization were run by someone who didn’t continue to support and defend a serial harasser, while displaying several other hallmarks of “exceptional girl”-ism (not a comment on Dellorfano’s gender/perceived gender, but rather their actions and I can’t find a better phrase, I’ll keep looking), I’d be happy to support it.

Disclaimer: While I do not know Fred Hicks personally, I am friends with one of his business partners, Rob Donoghue.

*James Raggi, publisher of Lamentations of Flame Princess, who has publicly supported a known Neo-Nazi, Varg of Burzum, called Hicks a prude for pointing out the sexist art of Kingdom Death, which is not a property Raggi is involved with as far as a quick google search can tell.  The art in Kingdom Death is sexist.  Yes, the dudes also start out naked, but they just look like dudes, not like hyper-sexualized pin-ups. And during the Kickstarter the male characters were not the images pushed in the marketing.  Trust me, I have a former housemate who was VERY into Kingdom Death.  I know all about it.  Also, Raggi’s defense that he was supporting Varg’s game and not the man himself is weak at best, but that’s another kettle of fish.

**The main one I can think of off top of my head had been involved in RPGs for decades before Contessa, running gaming events, GM-ing, as a player.  I can’t remember if what she wrote for Evil Hat was her first published credit, but even if it is, that’s got fuck all to do with Contessa.

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