Mongoose Publishing just updated their statement with regards to the recent hullabaloo as follows:
We have been approached by several parties asking if we could make a statement that they feel will give our position on this matter a more fair and balanced perspective. We are more than happy to do so. We know James personally and professionally and do not believe him to be the misogynist, rape supporter or rape apologist that he has been labelled. As we said above, James and his own company, Postmortem Studios, have been moving in a different direction to Mongoose Publishing for some time now and we had no plans to work together in the future in any case. Existing stock of the book in question will be allowed to lapse out of print.
Which hopefully redresses some of the things that are being said and have been said. I wish this had gone out sooner but one thing or another kept meaning it got pushed back.
To be as clear as possible then:
Mongoose did not ‘fire’ me. We have not worked together for some time and the last thing I did for them (Sex, Dice & Gamer Chicks also known as Origins of the Specious) was a compilation/edit/expansion upon the various comedy Slayer’s Guides. This was also, substantively, a Flaming Cobra release in the way it was done, rather than a regular Mongoose release. It is not being withdrawn from sale, it is being allowed to lay fallow – which was almost certainly going to be the case anyway.
Mongoose has been moving much more towards miniatures, board games, card games and so forth. While I have an unquenchable Dust Tactics addiction, these things are not so much in my sphere of interest, or my history of writing and most of the rest of what Mongoose does is open source and I make more money working for myself most of the time.
Mongoose do not believe or support the accusations made against me. The previous works that people appear to have issues with are works of comedy and fiction and were commissioned, edited and produced by Mongoose without issue (barring the ludicrous thought that some had that the ‘Slayer’s Guide to Female Gamers‘ was actually about killing women, perhaps a warning sign of the silliness to come).
In short, the net effect of this entire brouhaha has been…not much.
I’ve been stopped from working effectively for two or three weeks.
Myself and Ms Cooper have been subjected to a horrible amount of opportunistic trolling and awful behaviour.
I’ve been libelled and people are very fortunate I haven’t taken legal action.
Two ‘sides’ have been polarised even more than they were already and any form of civil or intelligent conversation or negotiation has been pushed back by a huge amount and made less likely.
From my point of view this whole blow up, in combination with others past and present, has only confirmed what the original blog post that started all this was about. Namely that people react without thinking, they want to censor content without examining it. People go on what other people have said, rather than checking up on the original sources for themselves.
We all need to watch against that.
The rest of this post will be an FAQ on any particulars which I’ll update as I get questions. Otherwise – hopefully – this whole stupid fuss is now over and we can move on.
I have games to write.
Submit questions on Twitter, Facebook, Email or in the comments.
Q: Are you a misogynist?
A: No, I do not hate women.
Q: Are you blacklisted?
Q: Has this affected your business?
A: Not discernibly. A lot of blog hits and a slight uptick in monthly sales from supporters, otherwise no.
Q: Some have suggested boycotting Mongoose since they appeared to drop you. What do you think about that?
A: I think we need as many game companies as possible being as healthy as possible. I did not agree with the way things were handled, but as we can see now it was mostly a matter of perception. I would rather not see any game company boycotted for any reason. If games are good, buy them, if they’re not, don’t. That’s all we need. Follow your own conscience.
Q: Do you regret the books you wrote?
A: No. They’re a product of the time and place and in many places are still funny and I still get asked to sign them at cons from time to time.
Q: Do you regret the blog post you wrote?
A: No. Indeed I think this whole blow-up made the point better than the blog post did. Keep in mind I wasn’t even talking about RPGs in the original post and I was talking about both kneejerk reactions and how rape is one of many ‘bad things’ that can happen to characters in stories – and indeed make for good stories.
Q: Doesn’t that article excuse rape?
A: No. It’s defending rape as a plot element, a building block for stories.
Q: Are you sure you mean libel?
A: It’s academic since I’m not taking it to court but yes. There could have been financial damage – it wasn’t clear at the time – but libel also covers reputation damage and emotional distress.
Q: How can we support you?
A: Don’t buy my stuff to ‘get one over’ on anyone, or to back me up. Buy my stuff because it’s good and because you want to. More importantly, play the games, review them (whether you liked them or not) and don’t forget the other stuff I do, like fiction. Most importantly of all, before getting in on an internet hate mob, check the source and be sure of what you’re outraged about.