Annie Fitch’s Testimonial

Finally sitting down to write a statement regarding all the recent discourse surrounding RQ. This is a statement I am writing and releasing for myself. No one at RQ has pressured me to write any of the following, nor altered my words in any way.

First, I want to talk about the allegations that RQ is mistreating employees. These experiences are my own, so please do not imagine I am speaking about any other specific case or anyone else’s story. Have I ever felt mistreated by anyone at RQ, professionally or otherwise? Categorically no. Not in the slightest. Professionally, leadership has been so patient, kind, and helpful in all facets of my time there. I obviously cannot divulge specifics, but there are occasions when errors on my part have directly and seriously impacted production. I always think a decent metric of how a company treats its employees is seeing how it treats them when they make mistakes. So how was I treated? Kindly. Patiently. With understanding. Above all, professionally. No one made me feel that I was in trouble, that they were angry.

Personally, these people are not just my coworkers and bosses, they are my peers and my friends. The inside working spaces of RQ are friendly, open, communicative, funny, fun, and easily my favorite employer I’ve ever had.

Am I telling you not to criticize the company? Absolutely not. I don’t personally agree with every single decision the company has ever made. It would be deeply unhealthy to treat RQ as above reproach. The problem, to me, is when people so desperately want leadership to be the villain. One big podcast and suddenly everyone thinks you’re Disney. I truly wish I could express to you the things Alex and Hannah have sacrificed, for me and everyone else at this company. Some of the recent discourse has been around pay scale; I wonder if you’re all aware that Alex pays himself the same amount as I get paid when editing? He’s got orders of magnitude more experience, skill, and knowledge than I do, but the pay rate is flat. A good leader is someone who will never ask you to do something they would not themselves do. When I train line supervisors at my day job, one of my maxims is “no one is too important to load a truck.” The message is to be the first on the line doing the shitty jobs; if you order someone else to break a sweat on your behalf and then stand around with a coffee giving orders, that person will never trust you. I can confidently tell you there is absolutely no job I could be asked to do at RQ that leadership would not be willing to bite down and do instead.

What’s most frustrating to me is the uncritical reception of allegations against these people. If you don’t personally know them, I don’t expect you to take it on faith that they’re good people. Likewise I don’t expect my testimony to their character to waive away all concerns. It’s disheartening to see people I trust, people who have gone out of their way to support me and the things I create outside of the company, use me as a model victim. I cannot thank these people enough for the kind words, the support of my streams and my music, and all they’ve done for me as a creator. On the other hand, it hurts me a lot to see my friends try to slag off my other friends on my behalf. Again, there are legitimate criticisms to be made, and they should be pursued when presented. That doesn’t feel like what’s happened; this feels like a group of people coming with preconceived notions, whether deserved or not, and immediately accepting anything they feel confirms them. What kind of advocate for workers’ rights doesn’t reach out to the workers currently employed for their input? When you wield your fandom as a hammer, the creators you support start looking like nails sooner than you think.

Even when the points were refuted, line by line and with proof, some people only doubled down. I begins to feel like nothing could ever be enough to turn some people’s opinions around, and that saddens me. There’s very little I can do to convince anyone, I know, but I hope at least some people can trust me when I say that the evil they’re looking for is just not present. These people are my friends, and some of the most honest and upstanding people I know. We can try to handle issues and disagreements in good faith, or we can keep cycling the same stress forever.

I know I’m painting a target on my back writing this. I’m not looking forward to finding myself on the other end of the outrage every time going forward. But in truth, if you want to support me, Twitch and Bandcamp are great, but supporting Rusty Quill IS supporting me. Supporting this company, critically but in good faith, is how you help me and my peers grow. It’s how you help us, all of us, do better. And for the love of god, I could do without the stress of this every three months.

I hope you are all well, I care about all of you immensely, and I am sorry if any of what I’ve said hurts or alienates anyone. I’ve held a lot of this back for a long time, and it’s clear it’s no longer helpful to anyone for me to stay silent. Be good to one another and I hope to see you all around very soon.

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