Michelle Belanger (sethanikeem) wrote,
Michelle Belanger

Vampyre Politics ... Father Todd

This post is an open letter intended to reach all of you in livejournal land and beyond. I am hoping that as many of you in the vampire community as possible stop by to read this. For those of you not interested in vampire politics, I suggest you just move along, or simply read this for curiosity's sake.

Since late 1998, I have worked with Father Sebastian Todd. Our initial partnership began after my work was plagiarized in his Vampyre Almanac 1998-1999. The material plagiarized was originally published in the 1997 Monolith Graphics Art Calendar. I touch upon this in my book, The Psychic Vampire Codex, but at Sebastian's insistence, left out the specified incident of plagiarism because he did not want to look bad.

At the time, Father Sebastian alleged that he had no idea who sent him the material. As reparation, he offered to have me write for the next Almanac -- without pay, of course. To this day, I am certain that Todd himself plagiarized my work, and this knowledge in part influenced my decision to work with him on future projects.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but I had been plagiarized before, and as a relative no-name, I had discovered just how hard it is to call someone to task for intellectual theft. I felt that if I worked with a known plagiarist, at least I would have some say in how my work was presented and I would be much more likely to be able to keep my name attached to that work. In later years, another factor that kept me working with Todd was the fact that I could influence him to be less destructive to the community -- my revisions of the Black Veil are a sign of this, as Todd's version that first appeared on the Sanguinarium website was criticized by many as reading like a bad rehash of The Traditions of the Masquerade. It was.

Last week, after many long and eventful years, my House and I decided to bring our association with Father Sebastian Todd to an end. For multiple infractions that have built up over a span of years but have specifically reached a head over the past 8 months, Father Sebastian Todd is no longer an ally of House Kheperu. Subsequently, he is no longer someone who can use our name, reprint our work, "borrow" our ideas, or otherwise continue to enlarge his own projects with our creativity, inspiration, or reputation.

First, I want everyone to understand that this was not done lightly. Ever since I first started working the Father Sebastian Todd in 1998, I have had various people approach me and warn me not to work with him. More people than I can count have approached me over the years with complaints against him and reasons for why our association should end. Until recently, I never felt there was sufficient evidence for such a drastic move. However, over the course of the past year or so, a number of events, incidents, disagreements, and issues have built to a point where the cessation of his ally status was inevitable.

When the infractions are based on material reported to us by another, be assured that we have acquired the text of letters, IM logs, chat transcripts, and other primary evidence to back up each individual's claims. Furthermore, the individual infractions are not limited to single incidents but represent a repeated pattern that cannot at this point be resolved. The material we have on file will remain private as it contains peoples' names and we have no desire to spread further drama and recriminations throughout the community. Just understand that by our exacting standards, it is more than sufficient to prove each case.

Here are the main points that inspired this radical decision:

Primary Infractions of Father Sebastian Todd:

Stating that House Kheperu is sponsoring events without first gaining permission from the House. Further, not even notifying House Members that we were supposedly sponsoring the events

Presenting himself under a known alternate ID as an ally of House Kheperu to other houses and then implying or outright stating that House Kheperu supports the issues and/or policy changes he is attempting to enforce in said houses.

Reprinting material from members of the House in his publications without first acquiring permission to do so. (plagiarism)

Frequently taking ideas and partial writings from the House for reprint in his own publications without proper attribution. (intellectual theft)

Misrepresenting concepts, ideas, and teachings from House Kheperu.

Attempting to recruit an established member of House Kheperu. Furthermore, attempting to use sex to do so, via a third party.*

Misrepresenting House Kheperu and/or its members to potential members and other individuals within the community.


Ordinarily, when someone becomes an ally or loses that status, we treat it as a private matter. It is only because of the very public identity of Sebastian and the widely known nature of our association that we make this a public matter on our boards. For the sake of peace in the community, we do not wish to debate the matter further.

We also wish to take this time to apologize to anyone in any order, coven, or house who has been approached by Todd, a member of House Sahajza, or its affiliates using our name. If any person claiming to be abbon of House Kheperu has attempted to inform you of our opinions or policies, they had no right to speak with our voice. They did this without our knowledge or our consent.

House Kheperu has no interest in dictating policy to other houses or individuals. If someone attempts to tell you what to do, using our name to back up their credibility, they are abusing both us and you.

If you run a vampire-related House, Order, or Website, please reprint this letter in its entirety. I am especially distressed to learn that Todd frequently used my name and the name of House Kheperu in private correspondence to lend credibility to his claims and demands. He never had permission to do this. If he has run an event and our name has been attached to it, he has never even asked if he could use that name. Some abuses I can tolerate when it's for the good of the community, but too many of the liberties he has taken with us have hurt the community I love.

--Michelle Belanger

*Ordinarily, we have no problem with our members joining other organizations. It is the fact that Sebastian has railed against other individuals who have sought to recruit his members that we take this into consideration at all. Our members can come and go as they please, but we feel that by Sebastian's own standards, a concerted effort to draw them away represents a serious insult to us and our House.
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