Dungeons & Dragons Apologizes for Indie RPG Developer's "Negative Experience" During Contract Work

Dungeons & Dragons has issued another apology, this time to ENnie Award-winning designer Orion Black for their "negative experience" while doing contract work for Wizards of the Coast. The company issued the apology on Twitter a week after Black, a well-known Black game designer who designed the award-winning plot ARMOR and Mutants in the Night TTRPGs, spoke critically about their experience working for the Dungeons & Dragons team, including an incident in which someone took credit for work Black did without any negative consequences. Black's statement was shared nearly 5,000 times on Twitter and received over 10,000 likes.

"We sincerely apologize to Orion Black for the negative experiences they had as a contractor with the D&D franchise team," the D&D statement read over a two tweet statement. "Their statement is being taken seriously and is an opportunity for us to improve the experiences of all those who contribute to our company and community. We're not perfect and we know there is more work to do. The ongoing dialogue with our community is critical to make meaningful change. We remain committed to making D&D a more inclusive community by supporting voices from people of all backgrounds." A subsequent reply noted that the D&D team was looking into the best methods to keep its community updated about the progress being made towards the various goals noted in a diversity statement released in June.

Black posted a lengthy statement about their time at the company on July 3rd, noting that while many of the employees were kind to them, there was a general inaction towards the ideals that D&D claimed to represent. "Kindness doesn't replace respect," Black wrote. "Working within your comfort zone doesn't support change. Most people in that group were not ready for me to be there, a nonbinary Black person who would actually critique their problems." Black also stated their belief that they were a "diversity hire" and that Wizards of the Coast had hired two "two cis white dudes" in prominent roles during their time with the company while professing investment in diversity and change. They noted that one of those two "claimed that he doesn't know what he's doing."

Black ended their statement by encouraging fans and members of the wider TTRPG community to look critically at Wizards of the Coast's actions instead of focusing on their words. "Trust actions, not words," Black wrote. "Not "look at how much we freelance so and so", because freelancing is exploitation of diversity with no support for the freelancer. Not "here we finally did what we KNOW we should've done a long time ago", because they only care about how optics turn to dollars. EVERYTHING involving D&D will continue to farm marginalized people for the looks and never put them in leadership. They won't be put on staff. They will be held at arms length." I hope they prove me wrong."

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