2012-03-08 : An Apology

Hey, so I screwed up. I'm sorry.

I apologized to Cam privately a couple of days ago. I was hoping I'd get to apologize to him here with a similar kind of interview post to the ones I've been running, but that's taking some time and this is due.

Sorry, Cam.

Edit: I've also screwed up with the freelancers in question. I deserve anonymous' "fuck you."

Sorry, freelancers.

1. On 2012-03-08, Chris Chinn said:

Hi Vincent,

Question: Are you and/or Ben still in contact with the people whom this was for?  To your understanding, has there been issues about being paid on time or has this been a vast misunderstanding?

I'm not sure if your apologizing for incorrect delivery or incorrect facts, and knowing the difference means a lot here.


2. On 2012-03-08, Stewie said:

I'm waiting
on payments from MWP. Can you take my case?


3. On 2012-03-08, Vincent said:

Chris: I can't speak for Ben. Of the freelancers in question, I'm in contact with two of them. To my understanding, yes, there have been issues about being paid on time.

I'm apologizing because the freelancers in question didn't ask me to be their representative, rpg freelancers in general don't need me to look after them, and MWP didn't ask me to be their conscience. It wasn't appropriate for me to put myself in that position.

Stewie: You're complicating my life, here!

If you're serious, then no, I can't take your case. I'm not a collections lawyer. I recommend that you read this comment by JustinDJacobson for information.

If you're not serious, then ha ha.


4. On 2012-03-08, walkerp said:

But no word from Ben Lehman?


5. On 2012-03-08, Chris Chinn said:

Thanks for the clarification.


6. On 2012-03-09, Not one of your references said:

None of us want to air this shit publicly, but the fact is many of us have felt taken advantage of. I think your warning was fair. It wasn't a misunderstanding. I blame management and not Cam in the slightest (he's been the easy one to work with), but the fact is it's a problem.


7. On 2012-03-09, Darcy Burgess said:

Apology accepted, and incidentally, not required.


8. On 2012-03-09, Ben Lehman said:

I don't see why I would apologize to Cam.

In the circumstances that this has all been a big misunderstanding (I dunno, like everyone I talked to about this had checks lost in the mail or something?) the person I owe an apology to is Christi Cardenas, who runs payroll for MWP.

To be clear: this is not all a big misunderstanding. MWP has a history of delayed payment (and I'm not talking, like, several weeks. More like several months to over a year) and outright non-payment of its freelancers. "Not one of your references," above, sums it up nicely.

But, even if it were, I don't see where Cam figures into it.

Cam Banks, for those of you who are not up on this, is MWP's line developer. He has crap-all to do with anyone getting paid. Because of this, and because one of the folks I talked to specifically requested that I not lay any blame on him, I've not said anything about him, and I can't imagine why I would want to.



9. On 2012-03-10, walkerp said:

And I can't imagine why you are talking about an apology to Cam.  The issue here is that you make a bunch of unsubstantiated claims and call for a boycott in a very aggressive manner.  When the overwhelming response contradicts your position with many well-reasoned arguments and much evidence pointing out MWP's good track record with freelancers, one expects you to come out and respond to those arguments.  Instead, you remain silent until now, arguing against a straw man that avoids all the other arguments.  Here are the questions I think people would like you to answer:

1) What is your justification for a boycott, given that sales are what MWP needs to pay their freelancers?

2) Were you asked to call for the boycott by the unpaid freelancers or did you take that upon yourself?

3) Where is your evidence of a long history of delayed and non-payments to freelancers?

4) How would you run your business differently if you were MWP?


10. On 2012-03-11, Bret said:

How can we get the people who think Ben is wrong because delayed payments just happen in the industry and everyone knows that to talk to the people who say Ben is wrong because he has no evidence it happens. Because seeing those two contradictory arguments ignoring each other and attacking Ben is fascinating.


11. On 2012-03-12, Jack said:

And I do want to reiterate: read Ben's original rant.

He never actually advocates pressuring MWP to pay these freelancers he's so certain are being so abused.  He calls for a boycott but puts no terms of compliance with this grave injustice he's the only one brave enough to fight (or whatever).

He might have really meant to call for those things before the siren's call of Marvel ranting, "big mean company v. Indie little guy", and "let me paint freelancers as timid and unwilling to handle their own affairs" and such hit but...he didn't.  He did have the time to tell everyone how he'll never work for the man and how important creator owned stuff like his is but...he was too distracted to actually serve as an actual advocate for the poor anonymous souls he was protecting from...margaret weis?  I mean have you ever met her because...big scary creator abusing overlord is not the term that springs to mind.

Seriously, and I say this as a trained and experienced advocate...if that was intended to be protecting and championing someone other than Ben and his own stuff?  It basically sucked.  I mean it was babytown frolics...

Of course as an attempt to drum up attention for oneself using a profession Ben proudly declares he'll never be part of and yet who need his altruistic and completely not self interested at all...well it still kinda sucks, but it's much better I admit.


12. On 2012-03-12, Jack said:

Also, as someone who freelances for MWP...Ben never contacted me. Never asked about payment or my satisfaction with the gig. He certainly never asked me how I'd feel about a boycott.  I suspect he also never considered some freelancers might not like a guy who admits he knows nearly nothing about work for hire being our mouthpiece.

But yeah, I guess the only freelancers who rate Ben's consideration are the anonymous ones who he's not worried about being identifiable counterpoints to what I see as a transparently personal agenda.


13. On 2012-03-12, Sean M. said:

Probably not a big comfort, but that's why pencils have erasers!


14. On 2012-03-12, Jack said:

And as for Vince...apology accepted but...what the hell ever made you think speaking as an unsolicited representative of a group of people who do something you also admitted you've never done/ know obviously little about was a good idea?

I mean, okay.  You're sorry and I get that but.  Whiskey Tango Fucking Foxtrot*?  Please tell me you're gonna at least try to think about stuff like that before you do something like it again...

* yes, I know.  yes, I meant to do that.


15. On 2012-03-13, Ben Lehman said:


1) I didn't call for a boycott.

2) I didn't call for a boycott.

3) I have spoken with, at this point, a large number of freelancers, all of whom have been repeatedly lied to about payment, or not paid, or random other bullshit which is specific to their cases. I have promised people I won't say who they are. You can rant about that all you want, but fundamentally it's not my call whether or not to reveal who they are and give the details in each case. It's their call. If you want them to come out and tell their personal stories I might suggest being slightly less hostile? All of them are looking at the shit being flung at me right now and going "no way in hell am I stepping into that." I don't blame them.

4) I can't even begin to answer that question... I have very specifically chosen not to become a 3rd tier RPG publisher. Regardless, not lying and stealing would be a great start.



16. On 2012-03-14, Jack said:

So a bunch of MWP freelancers have come forth and at best admit to some delays they got ironed out.  Seriously, read the original thread as well as elsewhere this has been discussed.

I and no one else I've talked to was contacted by Ben.  Unless they're afraid I'm a tool for the man and refusing to tell me...

And yet Ben has spoken with SO many people about how terrible a company is who recently offered to rush a payment being sent out because I needed it (it wasn't that urgent so I passed but still).  He won't name any of them and Vince has admitted he at least wasn't asked to be a champion for at least two of these poor souls...and yet Ben is championing and protecting the silent army of the wronged.  Seriously, just a wee bit skeptical.

Now maybe I'm the lone lucky one...I mean I don't post anonymous rants where I air a bunch of crap, insult everyone involved, and then claim I'm not maybe that's like sucking up or something.

But yes, liars and thieves.  Well, I'll take that over dripping with self-interest and dodging any counterpoint he's having trouble dealing with.


17. On 2012-03-14, Jack said:

Actually that last bit's not fair.  I don't know Ben's trying to shill his own agenda and ride some coattails of a popular new rpg release but...wait, that's at least a step or so below calling people liars and thieves over and over on proof and information so controlled by one person that it's nearly impossible for most reading this to verify.

So maybe that is fair...


18. On 2012-03-16, UserClone said:


Please, PLEASE redact that part of your last comment where you claim twice not to have called for a boycott. Or else please explain to the rest of us how else "[c]onsumers who have an interest in creator's rights should avoid purchasing any MWP products" can be interpreted?

For the record, my reading of that statement is "consumers who think that people who create something for a living deserve to be paid an agreed-upon wage for it (also known colloquially as 'non-douchebag consumers')should avoid purchasing any MWP products (also understood to be the definition of a boycott against MWP)."


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