Former Space Goat Productions employee Amelia Thompson has alleged that company founder Shon Bury treated employees "terribly," including what she describes as "aggressive jokes" and saying "violent and disgusting" things. Thompson started at Space Goat in 2016 as Community Manager.
She took to Twitter, asking for others to share her story.
1. I know for a lot of people this will come as a surprise that my boss, Shon Bury has treated both myself and my co-workers terribly in the last year and a half that we’ve worked for him at Space Goat Productions.— Your Average Punk (@AmeliaMaryT) November 27, 2017
2. Regularly Bury said things about my coworkers or ex-coworkers that was both violent and disgusting. Saying that they were half-brained or mentally ill when they struggled with a task, regardless of whether or not they were ever trained.— Your Average Punk (@AmeliaMaryT) November 27, 2017
3. I have witnessed every single one of my co-workers having panic attacks due to the weight, stress and aggressive atmosphere of this workplace. Although his treatment of staff has always been terrible the focus and sexism towards women was worse:— Your Average Punk (@AmeliaMaryT) November 27, 2017
4. When referring to a female graphic designer of ours being late on a project he said he should have choked someone to death for it and that he would have "been justified in doing so". Shon asked me at a work dinner in a full restaurant if I was going to die of diabetes.— Your Average Punk (@AmeliaMaryT) November 27, 2017
5. After I put in my two weeks and expressed that I was quitting because the aggressive jokes made me uncomfortable Bury told my supervisor that young women are too fragile for the comic book industry. That women can't take a joke, that he wouldn't be hiring young women anymore.— Your Average Punk (@AmeliaMaryT) November 27, 2017
6. I am desperately asking you to share this out, so that no one else has to work under Shon and endure what all of us have. I deeply appreciate all my co-workers, current and past, that are supporting me in the vocalization of something that’s incredibly hard to talk about.— Your Average Punk (@AmeliaMaryT) November 27, 2017
Other Space Goat employees are also speaking out against Bury, including both halves of Moonlighters, artist Cal Moray and writer Katie Schenkel.
THREAD: I'd rather not work for a man so emotionally volatile that he threatens violence against his employees. https://t.co/m2NEcPSnvt— Cal Moray (@CalMoray) November 27, 2017
I support @AmeliaMaryT 100%. I keep my gender under wraps because it shouldn't matter, but I am a woman. And I cannot be associated with someone who refuses to hire women due to his own personal insecurities.— Cal Moray (@CalMoray) November 27, 2017
Considering my contract has been broken with each late payment I've received anyway, please consider this its official termination.— Cal Moray (@CalMoray) November 27, 2017
I wish the best of luck to @AmeliaMaryT and hope that you will share her story and support her— Cal Moray (@CalMoray) November 27, 2017
This thread is important. I believe Amelia and I support her 100%. https://t.co/PHphPSSZJy— Katie Schenkel (@JustPlainTweets) November 27, 2017
Monster Elementary, another book from Space Goat, tweeted solidarity with Thompson.
We can confirm that payments to freelancers and creators by Space Goat are not timely, let alone at all. We have never received a full and complete reporting of our account and are still owed money. Shon has stopped replying to our inquiries. We have heard similar stories before.— Monster Elementary (@MonsterElem) November 28, 2017
Space Goat's official Twitter account was apologetic.
Amelia, I'm truly sorry about this entire thing. If you had brought up any of your concerns prior to your resignation, all of this could have been addressed.— Space Goat (@gospacegoat) November 28, 2017
I've always appreciated the work you've done for us and regret we where never able to address this with you in a productive fashion. I wish you the best.— Space Goat (@gospacegoat) November 28, 2017
While a now deleted tweet told otherwise.
Bleeding Cool reached out to Thompson for a statement.
There are two things I want people to know.
The first, I have the full support of both of my past Space Goat supervisors. They helped me edit every tweet for grammar and clarity. My ex-coworkers have been immensely supportive through all of this, two even resigning after I collected my things on Monday, Nov. 27. They expressed that the way I was treated after my resignation was unacceptable.
The second, I'm taking some time to recover and handle this media explosion while out of a job. If supporters wanted to aid me beyond just retweets, my paypal is on my twitter. I'm worried about making bills the next couple months but I just couldn't let my friends or myself be hurt any longer.
They also reached out to Bury for a statement.
I can't apologize enough for this entire situation. I deeply regret that I fostered an environment where a smart person like Amelia felt uncomfortable working under my direct management–and that she felt even less comfortable bringing up her concerns until she resigned. It has been my design since I opened the doors at Space Goat 12 years ago to create a workplace where smart, talented, young people can come to work and learn the craft of comic books. Amelia is exactly the type of capable young employee publishers should be looking to bring into their organization and to build up. I had thought I had created that environment for my staff, but the daily stress of running a graphic-novel and board-game publishing company at the tempo we have been running became visible to all around me over the last several months. This isn't on anyone else in my organization but me. This is squarely, 100% on me.
My inability to regulate my frustration during this period poisoned the very environment I had set out to create. I behaved poorly and I failed miserably at one of the core tenets of why I even want to be in business. I will always deeply regret losing Amelia, and am ashamed of how poorly I handled her resignation. I am taking immediate action to resolve this flaw within myself starting today with counseling and anger-management classes. Nothing is more important to me than the culture and community we are trying to create. I won't let anyone stand in the way of achieving those goals. Not even myself.