Wizards of the Coast Freelancer Leaves Company Due to Hostile Work Environment

Freelance game designer Orion D. Black has quit their job at Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons & Dragons department, criticizing the publisher for ignoring criticism of systemic problems, and exploiting BIPOC while paying lip service towards change and diversity.

In a statement published on TwitLonger, Black wrote talked about his problems with his work experience with Wizards of the Coast's D&D department. The letter comes within a month of members of the RPG community asking for more accountability at Wizards.

"Kindness doesn't replace respect. Working within your comfort zone doesn't support change," Black said in their statement. "Most people in that group were not ready for me to be there, a nonbinary Black person who would actually critique their problems. Idk what they expected."

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Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Black said that they "firmly believe" that they were a "diversity hire". "I think genuine people proposed me as an option and it was accepted because it would look like a radical positive change," Black wrote. "It would help quiet vocal outrage. And because I had to stay silent, it was a safe bet." In the statement, Black claims that leadership at one point gave them "2 assignments over about 5 months" and did not give them an extension or FTE.

Black went on to say that someone in leadership stole their work, "which destroyed me". They wrote that despite the "smiles and vocal support" from coworkers, the leadership continued to ignore Black.

"Then, as social unrest continued global due to BLM, the D&D team comes out with their statement. It was like a slap in the face," Black wrote, referring to the statement Wizards released mid-June. "How much they care about people of color, how much changing things (that I and others had been pushing for months, if not longer) was just going to happen now. It took weeks of protesting across the globe to get D&D to do what people they hired have been already telling them to fix. You cannot, CANNOT say Black lives matter when you cannot respect the Black people who you exploit at 1/3rd your pay, for progressive ideas you pick apart until it's comfortable, for your millions of profit year over year. People of color can make art and freelance, but are never hired. D&D takes what they want from marginalized people, give them scraps, and claim progress."

As of today, WotC hasn't released a stateement in response to Black's account.

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