It’s not about separating the art from the artist: It’s time to stop tolerating bad actors in the RPG community

I’ve often found the argument that one should separate creative works from their creators to be a compelling one. For example, I enjoy H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction, but the dude was a virulent racist. He’s been dead for over 80 years, and in my judgment enjoying his work while denouncing its problematic aspects is fine: He doesn’t profit from that.

I’ve struggled with how to apply that to living artists, though. Some calls have been easy: When Orson Scott Card began using his fame to promote bigotry towards LGBTQIA+ people, no amount of past enjoyment of Ender’s Game would convince me to spend money on or recommend his work again.

Others have been more difficult, and when it comes to the RPG community I drew my line in the wrong place for far too long. “This person is an asshole, but liking an asshole’s work isn’t problematic.” But just ignoring and blocking bad actors and toxic people isn’t enough.

Everyone will draw their own line around art vs. artist, but for me it’s gotten clearer and brighter over time. When it comes to the RPG community, it’s not enough to separate the art from the artist.

It’s time to stop publishing and promoting work by bad actors in the RPG hobby, and to refuse to engage with them in our community.

There are many, many, many designers, authors, artists, and other creative folks producing awesome stuff who aren’t bad actors and aren’t toxic to the RPG community. Those are the folks we should be supporting.

Don’t waste money on shitbags.

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