A lot, actually. Get your popcorn ready.
Gearbox, known for the awesome Borderlands series and the not-so-awesome Aliens: Colonial Marines s***fest, is having a heckuva time these past few months. Its CEO and magician Randy Pitchford and its former general counsel/lawyer Wade Callender are suing one another where both men are accused of violating their legal duties to the company.
Here’s the breakdown via Kotaku:
- Wade Callender filed a suit on 21 December 2018, accusing Randy Pitchford of violating various contracts that involve Gearbox, his employment contract, and a real estate company they both owned. Gearbox’s official statement is as follows:
The allegations made by a disgruntled former employee are absurd, with no basis in reality or law. We look forward to addressing this meritless lawsuit in court and have no further comment at this time.
- Previously, at least a month ago before the Callender lawsuit, Gearbox sued the former company lawyer in a separate case for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. Basically, Callender borrowed money from Gearbox for a home loan and tuition that he did not pay back in full; he “abused the privilege of credit card access by charging unapproved, wholly personal expenses, including family vacations, gun club memberships, and firearms accessories, and trying to get six-pack abs.”
- Callender was also accused of destroying the evidence of the home loan agreement he made with the studio.
- Both men were longtime friends whose relationship fell apart over the past two years.
Here’s where the story gets even juicier.
- The current lawsuit Callender brought up also alleges that Pitchford made a deal in 2016 to receive a “personal, secretive ‘Executive Bonus’ of US$12 million to be paid directly to [him via a company called] Pitchford Entertainment Media Magic, LLC.”
- That US$12 million bonus was supposed to be royalties for the Gearbox staff. According to the lawsuit, this is “particularly tragic exploitation because these millions are being syphoned to Randy Pitchford’s personal accounts instead of funding the development of Borderlands.”
- Arguably the most sensational allegation is an accusation surrounding an event in 2014, where Pitchford left a USB drive in a Medieval Times restaurant in Texas containing sensitive corporate documents for Gearbox and its partners like 2K Games, Sega, and others. It also contains Pitchford’s personal collection of ‘underage’ pornography.
- Pitchford’s defence for the USB pornography bit? According to a magic podcast The Piff Pod (via Ars Technica), he described his enjoyment of “camgirl” pornography where their sex acts are akin to a magician’s trick than anything. Also, the video in question featured a barely 18 actress.
- Of course, the drama continues. Callender also accused Pitchford of holding “Peacock Parties” where “adult men have reportedly exposed themselves to minors, to the amusement of Randy Pitchford”. Gearbox denied this, stating that this was “made up by Wade in a further attempt to paint a sensational picture that is demonstrably false.”
- Following this news from Kotaku, Gearbox issued a new statement regarding the situation:
Gearbox will be filing a grievance with the State Bar of Texas against our former general counsel Wade for disciplinary proceedings for filing a lawsuit that includes accusations that he knows to be untrue. The lawyer’s rules of professional conduct expressly prohibit the filing of documents that are knowingly false.
The tell is within Wade’s claim itself – his use of hedged lawyer language and clever application of quotation marks betray that he knows that the impression he is trying to create is based in lies. We imagine that he used the quotation marks and lawyer language in hopes that will give him some angles of defense when we inevitably take action against him for false statements.
Wade is engaged in a shakedown and he’s clearly using deceit and lies to try to cause damage by promoting a narrative that he knows is false.
Guess we won’t be seeing a Borderlands 3 anytime soon, eh?