Monday, February 11, 2019

I am Going to Talk about Zak Today and Then Never Again

Yesterday Mandy Morbid, the former girlfriend of Zak Smith/Sabbath, and one of the members of his group of D&D players made famous by his blog and his show "I Hit it With My Axe" posted a letter to Zak on her facebook page.

You can, and should, read it here:

It's long but read the entire post. Come back here when you are done.

Back?  Good.
Or maybe not good. That is not a post that should make you feel good at all.

I want to say upfront I believe and support Mandy, Jennifer, and Hannah in this.
I wish them all nothing but the best and healing. They deserve that and more.

Now I have defended Zak in the past. I have lauded his works here and on social media.

Well, now I am condemning him for his abusive behavior and his violations, both physical and mental in terms of trust.

I apologize to you all, my readers who take the words I put down here and trust that I have vetted and verified them all.  I try, but in this, I failed.

Mostly I want to apologize to Mandy herself for giving support to someone that used that support as a means of coercion or control. Had it not been for people like me giving him vocal support he likely could not have done the things he did for as long as he did.

Don't expect to see any more support for Zak here.  I only wish I had seen all of this sooner and done more. I won't mention him here on these pages after this post.

We need to do better as a community. So I am starting with me.

Edited to Add: Satine Phoenix, who was/is friends with both Zak and Mandy has posted this.
Edited to Add 2: Vivka Grey has also added her experiences and how they confirm Mandy's side of the story.


JB said...


Cross Planes said...

Tim, I respect what you chose to do. But do you think it helps? Should we be picking sides in this or should we hope that Mandy is getting the help she needs and the rest of us just need to be aware of the information we have about Zak? Does this mean you will never purchase anything from Zak again?

I barely know Zak and I don't know Mandy or the other women. He's behaved like a jerk and agreed with me on some things. I thought about posting too, but I don't know the whole story. I know of Mandy's recounting and pain and I feel for here, but is the support going to help her?

I'm asking these questions, not making statements. I thought about posting it too, but it just seems like more of the same from the same bad actors that exhausts me.

To reiterate, I do respect your statement. I respect your idealism. But should gaming blogs be mired in the middle of things with a recounting of a toxic relationship?

It's your blog and I admire you, I just don't know myself. I guess I'm looking for answers. It feels like we can't just be an industry trying to post fun stuff anymore. Each week or two there is more of this kind of stuff from people that are jerks.

Ruprecht said...

It will be interesting to see if anyone sides with Zak after this.

Cross Planes said...

Should we be taking sides on the end of a relationship and one person's POV? If my wife and I were to focus on certain negative things that occurred in our 20 years together, I'm sure there could be some things brought forward that neither of us want to be in the public light. Thankfully, none of it involved sexual assault, and I admire Mandy for her bravery, but Zak has a rep and many are biased to believe negative things about him, but that isn't necessarily the full story. Mandy's healing has taken their relationship, at least parts of it, and made it a community event. I hope it provides her with more positives than negatives. Social media can be a cold, cruel place.

Venger Satanis said...

Knowing Tim the way I do, I don't think he could sleep at night if he didn't set the record straight and voice his opinion on these serious allegations. He's a nice guy.

Me? Well, it's partly wanting to do the right thing, partly punishing a truly garbage person who's ruined a good chunk of the RPG world, both for myself and others. Of course, I'm not a nice guy... I'm Venger Satanis!

Ruprecht said...

Mark, if you attacked anyone and everyone online for the better part of a decade you'd probably find people are interested in your downfall.

Cross Planes said...

But is being interested in his downfall going to really help Mandy?

I know lots of people that have had their relationships end and the hard part is trying navigate taking sides and listening to, possibly, both sides air their grievances. Mandy and the other women needed to do this, I respect that, but part of it has that feeling of people picking sides and some doing it to support their bias. It makes me uncomfortable, as it does in real life.

I respect everyone's position here. I just wonder if Tim should apologize for honestly promoting products he liked. I don't generally know the people whose few products I review. And perhaps he was closer to Zak than I was and defended him more.

When I see these myriad drams that crop up, it seems like there is a short list of names involved most times. I've tried to stay away form those names.

Cross Planes said...

Venger, if your bias wasn't involved would you be pushing this then? I'm not judging you either way, just asking?

Timothy S. Brannan said...

The side I am taking here is the side of what I think is right. It's the side now I don't think I was on before.
So I can only do what I think is right, right now.

Cross Planes said...

That's fair enough. I was exploring my feelings about it out loud here, because I know you well enough and respect you. I don't think I know the other parties involved well enough to join in either way. I just hope Mandy and the other women get plenty of positivity out of this.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

That's totally fair.

It's not an easy call to make, esp. if the artist involved is someone you like, and whose art you admire. Though in this case for me it was a pretty easy choice and decision.

I am not going to go out and burn his books (I find such an act horrific) but I do encourage others not to buy his products anymore.

Venger Satanis said...

I'd be sympathetic towards the women, but also a bit more skeptical of their stories. My personal involvement and experience is driving it, primarily.

Scott Anderson said...

You don't have to believe the woman to know that it tracks perfectly with what you know about the man.

Jon S said...

Mark, you are sounding dangerously like you really just want to stick your head in the sand and hope it all goes away. Is that what the film industry should have done with Weinstein? This isn't just about a break up for god's sake. And Venger, fascinating to see you turn it back on youself: a narcissist looks out for number one eh? Jon Salway as Quid Nunc.

Venger Satanis said...

Mark can feel any way he wants to about this. Don't round up Zak sympathizers or those who abstain from judgment and execute them alongside your intended target.

A narcissist almost always looks out for #1, yes. However, I prefer megalomaniac... as long as your handing out free diagnoses.

Cross Planes said...

Jon you are out of line. I asked some questions. If you want to persecute me because I'm not jumping on a bandwagon then do it. I believe the women, but I also think bias drives this in some people. I don't know Zak, I didn't have a run in with him and I didn't hitch my wagon to him.

I took the time to ask Tim some questions because I respect him immensely. I've always found him sincere, talented, honest, and pretty transparent.

Scott Anderson said...

Omg guys how is this a thing? It’s one guy. It’s not the end of a scene, an era, or a hobby.

He probably loves this.

Cross Planes said...

I agree with you Scott. But did you see how many blogs ran a story about it yesterday? ENWorld ran it too.

Scott Anderson said...

Yes. This isn’t a Tim thing. I feel like there’s some weird fever coursing through my friends.