Paizo Publishing, the publishers of the immensely popular RPG product Pathfinder (and Starfinder) have had some allegations come to light about the internal workings of the company. Recently, Paizo Customer Service & Community Manager Sara Marie was let go from the company. Shortly there after, Paizo customer service representative Diego Valdez resigned in solidarity with Sara.
After which, former Paizo project manager Jessica Price wrote a long twitter post alleging many serious accusations against Paizo’s upper management. You can read her entire thread here, but among the accusations are:
- Having to work in an unclean/unsafe work environment
- Eric Mona, Head of Publishing for Paizo, hanging racist imagery in his office, posting a swastika on his Facebook page, and wanted to include mental illness sections in their horror book against the wishes of the development team
- Forcing female developers to start with the “assistant title” and pay them less than their male counterparts
- Paizo President Jeff Alvarez bullying a female staffer until she quit (I believe this is before he was promoted to president). The bullying including giving her a nude female medusa and saying she looked like it, and also a picture of a vibrator telling her to “loosen up”. He also gave female employees the advice at conventions to “try not to put yourself in a situation where you might get harassed or assaulted.”
- Lead Paizo Designer Jason Bulhman hit on “every female employee in the creative department that wasn’t in a relationship”, including Jessica. And that when she rebuked his advances, he instructed his team to not talk to her or help her.
These are just a few of her many accusations, you can read her whole thread here.
These are all serious accusations and, if true, would mean that Paizo has a very toxic workplace. Paizo President Alvarez has since made a statement on Paizo’s forums reaffirming the companies core values. Note: he doesn’t specifically deny any allegations from Ms. Price.
Publisher Eric Mona has released his own statement on Reddit, specifically denying Ms. Price’s accusations (or explaining them).
Director of Game Design has also denied Ms. Price’s accusations against on the Glass Canon Podcast Discord server.
Many current and former Paizo Employees have come out in support of the Paizo Executive team including:
Former Paizo game designer Owen K.C. Stephens
Paizo VP of Marketing and Licensing, Jim Butler
Paizo Managing Art Director, Sonja Morris
Paizo Director of Brand Strategy, Mark Moreland
Paizo’s Public Relations Manager, Aaron Shanks
These accusations, while serious, do run counter to the brand Paizo has sought to cultivate over the years. Paizo has long been very progressive with its RPG products (a fact Jessica Price attests to in her post). There is even a blog post about from 2014 about 50 LGBTQ characters in the Pathfinder RPG. So while there are accusations of Paizo’s executive team being anti-LGBTQ, they are still greenlighting products including and in support.
Whether or not these accusations are true, Paizo has also publicly stated that they are wanting to improve its leadership through growth. So time will tell if their company’s future actions hold up to the core values that their RPG products promote.