The team behind Extra Credits – formerly hosted on Elder Geek when it was in a more basic lecture format – announced earlier today that they have left the online games editorial magazine The Escapist over some disputed back pay. According to their Facebook posts, editor Daniel Floyd and writer James Portnow worked for free in exchange for monthly paychecks for Allison Theus’ artwork. When Allison recently went in for arm surgery, the Escapist had allegedly only paid for four episodes, owning the team $20,000.
“Dan and I work on it for free and I pay Allison’s salary out of pocket each month, then, in turn, The Escapist was supposed to pay us for our work – not much, but enough to cover Allison’s wages – unfortunately they were never able to.” read Extra Credits’ Facebook page, “When Allison hurt her arm, The Escapist had only paid us for four episodes over the course of a year. That meant I was down $20,000. That was the $20,000 I could have put in to help Allison…It hurt that I couldn’t tell you that then but I was asked not to.”
When the team asked for the rights to their IP back in exchange for forgiving that debt, the Escapist allegedly demanded 75% of the RocketHub donation money raised for Theus’ surgery. Floyd and Portnow then made the decision to leave the site and temporarily move Extra Credits to Youtube until another partner website can be found, and have begun undisclosed legal action. If the barrage of Twitter responses are factual, fellow ex-contributors Peter Gehm (animator for Creature Caster Master) and Robert Moran (creator of Unforgotten Realms) are just a few that claim similar treatment, which the team hope to provide some sort of legal assistance for.
“We asked the guys at The Escapist if we could trade some of the debt they owed us for the rights to our intellectual property back if they weren’t going to be able to pay us so we could do things like sell t-shirts or write a book…they responded by telling us that they felt that they were entitled to 75% of the Rockethub money, thus their debt was covered and, despite not paying us for nearly a year, we owed them $9500 dollars…What followed was weeks of legal wrangling, lies and muck.” the team concluded.
Alexander Macris, publisher at the Escapist, has issued a response via Facebook to the claims from the Extra Credits team, in particular Portnow. According to Macris, Portnow told the magazine to focus on paying others before them, a verbal arrangement that went on until the request came in for funds to offset Theus’ surgery cost. The RocketHub campaign was then created as a joint effort between the Escapist and Extra Credits, under the assumption that all funds not going to the surgery will be put back into the show’s production.
After the surplus funds were used to create a fund for independent game projects, Portnow reportedly only spoke to the Escapist through a manager. Said manager demanded the rights of the IP be given over to Portnow, and a deal was eventually reached between the two parties to exchange the IP rights for a fee. After emailing a proposal to pay off the $20,000 of Extra Credit’s debt, Portnow’s manager allegedly claimed a breach in the contract due to the delay in payment and terminated their arrangement. After posting this response, both Macris and Portnow agreed to post all documentation between the two parties at a future date.
(via the Escapist)
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