I actually have no idea how "word got out" that we turned them down, but since it did, here's the reasoning we gave:
While being published by Chucklefish would absolutely give us some strong, free advertising among their pretty sizable fan base, letting a larger company put their name on your product creates a significant risk of customer confusion. Even now, when we aren't being published by CF people still say Grindea is a CF-game sometimes (luckily to be quickly refuted most of the time).
For example, I wager many don't know who made Risk of Rain, or who's making Stardew Valley and that pirate game. To many people, maybe even most, those are all "Chucklefish Games", myself included I shamefully admit.
We want Grindea to be a Pixel Ferrets game, and we hope we've got a good enough product at release to reach reasonable success without publishing it under a different name!
i honestly know about risk of rain and stardew valley before they were picked up my chucklefish lol