Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Joint Statement Regarding Criminal Case Against John Szczepaniak

April 15, 2014

Hanako Abe, Nobuhiro Abe, Agness Kaku, and Peter Duimstra

We have recently endured a campaign of threats and defamation led by Mr. John Szczepaniak (a.k.a. Jan Szczepaniak) of Saint-Laurs, France. This is our first public statement on the matter.

In 2013, John successfully pitched a Kickstarter project involving a series of interviews in Japan. At John's request, Agness Kaku helped to plan and promote the project. She also put John in contact with her sister, Hanako Abe, whose network of professional interpreters seemed a good match for his needs. John persuaded Hanako to act as his interpreter-coordinator, and came to depend on her heavily as a de facto project manager.

Shortly after John's arrival, it became clear that he was unprepared and under-qualified for the work ahead. Over the next several weeks, he repeatedly abused professional interfaces and strained working relationships. John's sense of entitlement, along with his health problems, eventually led to a personal and professional meltdown in Japan. When Agness intervened to save the project, John responded with hostility. When Hanako decided to resign, John responded with panic and false accusations.

Since returning to France, John has used public and private Kickstarter postings to spread lies about Agness and Hanako and about the people they brought to his project. We believe these lies were meant to displace blame for John's failures to meet project goals, to provide a false account of the project's funds, and to punish Agness, for whom John seems to have developed inappropriate feelings. When we privately informed John that we would not tolerate his abuse, he threatened to destroy the careers of both Agness and Hanako. He has since expanded this threat to include their respective spouses, Peter Duimstra and Nobuhiro Abe.

Because John Szczepaniak has refused to retract his public statements about us, we are now prosecuting him for criminal libel in French court. An initial hearing has been scheduled for June 12, 2014.

We are happy to answer any inquiries about this matter via LinkedIn.

For basic details about the case, please see the following:


Does Hanako Abe owe John a refund?
Did Hanako Abe pressure other interpreters to quit?
Why did M, the "junior interpreter" John repeatedly mentions, quit?
Why did Hanako Abe quit?
Did Haruko Ota defraud John of ¥80,000?
Did Haruko Ota destroy John's only chance to interview the Quintet developer?
Was the interpretation for Quintet substandard to the point of being unusable?
Why would Haruko Ota do well on one interview and less so on another?
Did Agness Kaku tell John to "keep quiet" about trouble with interpreters?
Did Agness harass John's friends on Facebook?
Did Agness harass John’s backers?
How did John's backers harass Agness?
What did Hanako Abe do on the project?
How much was Hanako paid?
How much were the interpreters paid?
What did Agness Kaku do on the project?
How much was Agness paid?
Did John really have a meltdown?
What brought on the meltdown?
How did you respond?
Did John actually threaten you?
Is John well?
Will you be taking legal action against abusive project backers?

We are ready to provide documentary evidence of all the above points. For appropriate parties, we will also provide access to the complete archive of 500+ emails and messages exchanged with John over the last 9 months.


(June 17, 2015)
What is this site and why should we care?
Aren't you supposed to keep quiet about court cases?
If John has no money, what good is suing him?
What if you never get a verdict?
Why didn't Hanako just pay John the disputed $150 booking fee?
If this is between John and Hanako, why is John attacking Agness?
So, you did nothing wrong?
Isn't this just "he said, she said"?
Have you tried contacting John’s parents?
Have you thought about trying ... ?
What’s your gut feeling about the situation?


  1. We have received notice that the summons had been served to Mr. Szczepaniak by a bailiff of the court.

  2. John's response to the above post:

    "...That website is filled with nothing but disgusting lies, and is a blatant attempt at character assassination by two con-artists who fleeced me in Japan and are now upset that I dared to reveal the truth publicly. They either twisted everything I said or outright lied. There is not a shred of truth in anything they say, and I have the emails, signed invoices, and audio recordings to prove it. If this persists, I will be forced to reveal every single thing in public in order to defend myself. Agness' husband Peter contacted me, and I repeatedly offered them an olive branch - I wanted peace. I said if they walk away and leave me alone, I will do the same. He refused. This, in addition to contacting all of my interviewees, is utterly disgraceful behaviour." [John Szczepaniak, Kickstarter, April 20, 2014]

    We strongly encourage John to reveal "every single thing" in public, unedited. Like several of his backers, we also encourage John to take legal action against us, if he believes his claims are legitimate. Indeed, we begged him to do so.

  3. Hello, my name is Nick Livaditis (usually known as "NightWolve") and if I may, I would like to briefly share my experiences regarding John, to essentially lend myself as a character witness in the court of public opinion... I will remain professional given the sensitivities here which is quite a difficult task as I prefer to use profanity when it comes to something like John... I don't need to elaborate obviously.

    So first off, I genuinely wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being motivated enough in wanting to bring a libelous criminal such as Mr. John Szczepaniak to justice!!!! You wouldn't be seeking justice just for yourselves, but for others as well, people such as myself who were also subjected to his particular style of vicious character-assassination/defamation... You are not the only victims in the wake of this man's path!!

    I'll try to be brief. My story begins in 2009 when John used the platform of "Hardcore Gaming 101" to print a libelous attack article against me. He told 2 main falsehoods, the first of which really was the result of his laziness and incompetence, but the second one was a blatant lie and showed the true nature of his maturity/dishonesty/lack of integrity. John had falsely constructed a story that I was trying to stop someone called GeeMac32bit from working on a dubbing project for a videogame called "Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys." As a result, there are people ~5 years later that still believe this lie because of him even despite the eventual deletion of the article!

    Now, as some kind of “journalist,” you’d think he would seek quotes from all parties involved, myself, GeeMac32bit, etc. to substantiate the accusations that he was making… But we’re talking about John here, he did NO such thing as he knew he was lying... When I learned of this, I contacted Kurt Kalata, the owner of the HG101 website and asked him to talk some sense into him – I disproved the first blatant falsehood and Kurt simply deleted the article in question and issued a mild apology. John, however, has never apologized and never will. It seems that other people have to apologize for him. Another staff member also apologized and asked that I do not represent HG101 by John’s “approach” to things…

    A few years later, I briefly wrote about my encounter with John, just a few short sentences, 3 to 4, to mark the experience after the project in question was completed despite his harassment. Predictably, John had a meltdown after he saw these sentences… He unleashed vile, venomous, vicious verbal abuse against a project member of mine, he attacked everyone in the project, and he unleashed far more character-assassination than he had ever before. Morever, he threatened a libel lawsuit against us as well if my comments weren’t deleted!!!! That’s right… You see, only John Szczepaniak should get the privilege to trash people over the Internet. That’s how the world is supposed to work in his little "mind!" If someone responds in his same tone, and style, he threatens a lawsuit to shut them up! In short, he has a severe problem of not being able to take a taste of his own medicine.

    Anyway, I think you get the idea of my experiences with John Szczepaniak. I wasn’t his first victim, and I certainly won’t be the last by this bully! You have my deepest sympathies for having had the unfortunate displeasure of meeting and doing business with someone like him… I hope you can eventually resolve this, however that is accomplished… I wish you all the luck in the world!!

    Best regards,