One week after the allegations against Zak Smith went public, the tabletop community continues to roil over how companies and individuals should handle Smith’s past work and what his status in the community will be going forward. That status was cast into further doubt Tuesday when Dungeons & Dragons, who Smith worked for as a playtester for their lauded 5th edition of the game, put out an official statement addressing their relationship with him. The demand for a statement from Wizards and D&D was a result of what some considered a tepid early response from them as well as accusations that they downplayed or ignored Zak’s reputation when he was hired.
Wizards of the Coast and Dungeons & Dragons are united against all abuse. Full statement regarding Zak Smith here: https://t.co/IL87hRCi9W
— Dungeons & Dragons (@Wizards_DnD) February 19, 2019
Much like similar statements from former Smith collaborators like Kenneth Hite or Paul Gallagher, the D&D team acknowledged their relationship with Smith and stated that they “regret their choice” to work with him on 5e. To reflect this, they’ve removed Smith from all future print and digital editions of the 5e Player’s Handbook, where he was previously credited as a consultant.
In addition to Smith’s removal from the book, the team also announced that much like DriveThruRPG, they would be working with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and raising money for them via special fan-made Dungeon Master’s Guild bundles that include DM tools, starter sets, supplementary rules, and more.
The team finished by emphasizing the need for transparency and community engagement, stating that they are “committed to working with and learning from…the D&D community.” Not only do they intend to be better at responding to social media engagements, but they have also set up an email address at firstname.lastname@example.org to facilitate greater feedback from their fans.
D&D and Wizards of the Coast join a growing list of companies and individuals who have denounced and disavowed Smith and his work following the allegations made against him. While the strong responses have been lauded, many believe there is still a ways to go. Some of the larger companies who worked with Smith, who like Wizards have been accused of covering for him, have remained mum about the controversy. However, with the seemingly positive response to the D&D team’s statement, they may be encouraged to take a stronger stance.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault or know someone who is, please contact RAINN. Their site has links with info about how to report incidents, how to prevent, and recover, as well as the number for the National Sexual Assault Lifeline.