#RPG – Company Statement on Zak Smith

People are asking anyone and everyone with even the slightest historical or current connection to Zak Smith to denounce him, due to allegations made against him by his former girlfriend, Mandy Morbid and two other women in a Facebook post. These allegations are serious, and if true we denounce his actions as would any decent human being.

If true.

At Postmortem Studios we strongly believe in the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The basic logical principle that underlies this – the burden of proof – is also a foundational basis of science and we do not believe things without evidence. All we have, at present are accusations.

We also believe in the right to reply, which Zak has not yet exercised.

In light of the absence of facts or an admission of fault (at point of writing), we cannot consider him guilty, nor treat him as such. That said we had no plans to work with Zak in any case, and this is in part due to personal differences and obnoxious behaviour towards us on Zak’s part.

Of course, being obnoxious doesn’t make you guilty of anything else.

This situation does, of course, throw up all sorts of other issues, but they’re more properly addressed elsewhere.

In short, we don’t know if the accusations are true, and while we will no longer be defending Zak we do not believe a mere accusation is sufficient reason to censor and deplatform everything anyone has ever done, nor to punish their associates and co-authors for his, alleged, actions.

Zang.

9 responses to “#RPG – Company Statement on Zak Smith

  1. Hi Zang and Co, this is a really poor response – let me tell you why. The right to be presumed innocent instead of guilty applies specifically to the courts to prevent a zealous state from denying a member of public of their freedom. Because this is about imprisonment and also because of the power dynamics of state vs public, it is absolutely right we hold this burden of proof.

    However, you are Not the State, nor are you being asked to determine the fate of Zak. You are a member of the public like me and everyone else. You get to decide for yourself whether you believe these three women, and whilst it may be helpful to hear from Zak, their own truths exist independently of anything he says. You either believe them (wholly or at least substantively) or you don’t. And if you don’t, you’re calling them liars. So this “If true” stuff rings out like an unwillingness to believe victims. You can do better.

    • The truth exists, not many truths, one objective reality.

      Zak may or may not be guilty. They may or may not be telling the truth. I don’t know, you don’t know, most people haven’t the faintest idea and that’s why it’s unsound to move forward in punishing someone.

      The burden of proof, the presumption of innocence, is a basic foundational logical requirement. It is not limited just to law, or to science, it applies everywhere at all times.

      When the mob is being unjust, it behoves us all to pump the brakes a bit.

      When we don’t know, we have to presume innocence and one can do this without calling them liars. That’s a false dilemma.

      I don’t believe victims, because without evidence you can’t say that they are victims. What I believe is evidence. Nothing else.

      It’s not us that needs to do better, it’s every self-aggrandising, opportunistic person looking to twist the knife and profit from this, just because they argued with an arrogant prick online once. The alleged victims deserve better and their audiences deserve better, and Zak, he deserves the usual rights of the accused – whether he did it or not.

      (Zang is just a sign-off).

    • So if someone spoke poorly of you you would want everyone beyond the State to give that someone the benefit of the doubt?

      If someone told me you watch “adult entertainment” and I happened to believe that all producers and consumers of such were misogynist pigs – or at the very least complacent – and I spread the word that you were a misogynist pig you would just want everyone to accept that? I doubt it. You would likely enter the pathetic throes of defensiveness that we are now seeing from Zak Smith.

      This is a serious allegation. Choosing not to jump on a wagon of finger-pointing – as if doing so alone absolves you yourself of any wrongdoing and isn’t just a display of pure, sickening sanctimony- is not saying his accusers are liars. It is being mature and rational.

  2. Right, and racism isn’t real unless people get a signed note from their klansman. Abusers profit specifically because people don’t want to believe the victims. If evidence were produced then the goalposts would magically shift to demand ever greater proof. People have known about Zak for years and years and always there’s the “provide more proof!” Or half-assed pretenses of “investigations” that somehow fail to do even basic diligence. And he just kept on stalking, harassing, and abusing. The fact that there are still people who want to let him continue his abusive behavior is just a sign of how far down cultural misogyny goes.

    • You can’t just assume someone’s a racist without evidence either. This is elementary stuff and that you and people like you are willing to toss out the presumption of innocence is just incredible.

      People have known, for years, that Zak is an argumentative pedant. Not that he is sexually or emotionally abusive. People on the wrong end of that (many of them, ironically, abusive harassers) seem to be distastefully falling on their chance to get him.

      Basic standards of logic, reason and evidence aren’t misogynistic.

      • Evidence includes first person account (which exist, are detailed and credible). Your understanding of the presumption of innocence (that it exists outside of a State vs Civilian context) is really disturbing. When presented with account such as from his ex partner, we as individuals are legitimately responsible for judging that info on its merits. Your expectation of what constitutes evidence ignores the most poignant evidence – the lived experiences of people involved in the events. So continue to ignore or gaslight victims, your responses are classic exhibition of what people mean when they say ‘rape culture’.

      • Anecdotes and accusations are not data. Your presumption that logic ends at the courthouse steps or the door of the laboratory is far more disturbing. It’s not responsible to take ‘J’ACCUSE!’ at face value, nor is it gaslighting or ignoring victims (who you can’t state with any certainty are victims without evidence). Surely the Jussie Smollett case demonstrates – very well – why we shouldn’t let our emotions run away with themselves? Poignancy isn’t a measure of veracity. That your heart-strings were tugged isn’t a measure of what’s true.

        Allow me to demonstrate.

        You, Peter, raped me behind an Arby’s in 2007. So now, by your own standards, what next?

        If you think basic standards of logic, reason, evidence etc are rape culture, you’re deranged.

      • @Jim: I know people are complaining about it, so just wanted to say thumb-up on your statement.

        @Peter: I totally + jim on the importance of doubt (burden of proof, the presumption of innocence,…) as a leading principle. We must remain humble. An additional issue with your reasoning is that to make a decision one should consider as much “quality” information, and not just stick to the (first) one matching some cognitive bias.

        My personal (minimal?) list currently include
        – accusers/accusee direct information : Mandy (FB post), Vivka (FB post), Zack (statement) (both Mandy and Zak contain accounts from other people, but it’s not direct information, so unless “confirmed” as most Zak report are, see below, I consider them less reliable)
        – direct witness accounts: Connie (reddit), Frankie (reddit)
        – direct indication of involvement: StacyRex (twitter)
        – Reaction of potential witness (but without detailed report): Kimberly Kane (twitter), Charlotte Stokely (twitter), Satine Phoenix (twitter and FB)
        – Secondary “informed” and apparently not too biased (or explicitly so, and taking it into account) opinion, which make deduction based on previous interaction but unlikely to be witness regarding current accusations: Patrick stuart (blog), Scrap Princess (blog), cavegirl (blog, contains sample of conversation with that, for which my interpretation diverge from hers) and Jim D. (here)

        (Do not hesitate to point me to quality information (not just distant opinion) I might have missed)

        And even just that only allows me to make my personal opinion, at most an intimate conviction (not yet, currently). And (I think I diverge with jim in this regard) both may have their truth (it’s as much about individual mind-space than hard fact here).

        Then, strangely one of my main take is that the IHIWMA group, which sounded like a symbol (though I did not start watching it until this affair, and only 1 ep. thus far) utterly broke apart, and this idea makes me quite sad.

  3. What I find interesting is that some of Zak’s defense comes from Connie but Zak is also accused of using sock puppet accounts to support himself in the past and some are suggesting the Connie post is another example.

    Nice Karma if he has used sock puppets in the past but horrific if he hasn’t and now his witnesses are unreliable because of other folks lies.

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