Gearbox Legal Battle Becomes Messy Public Affair

Gearbox Legal Battle Becomes Messy Public Affair

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford and the studio’s formal general counsel Wade Callender are suing each other in a messy legal battle. These accusations include claims of siphoning money as well as some much more disturbing claims.

Gearbox calls claims “absurd” and “meritless.”

The legal issues started back in November when the studio sued Callender for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. More specifically, Callender allegedly borrowed money for a home loan and tuition that he never paid back. He also allegedly destroyed evidence of the agreement and used his company credit card on personal expenses, including family vacations, gun club memberships, and “trying to get six-pack abs”.

A month later, according to Kotaku (which broke the story), Callender filed his own suit against Pitchford. This suit claims Pitchford, among other things, struck a “side-deal” with 2K Games to give himself a “secretive ‘Executive Bonus'”. However, Callender’s most disturbing accusation involves an incident in 2014. In a Medieval Times restaurant in Dallas, Texas, Pitchford misplaced a USB drive during a company event there. An employee discovered it and found it contained sensitive corporate materials as well as pornography.

He said, he said.

Where the story diverges is on what exactly the porn consisted of. Callender claims that it was Pitchford’s collection of ‘underage’ pornography. According to Ars Technica, Pitchford confirmed certain parts of the story were true in the December 22 episode of The Piff Pod. However, he claims there was only one pornographic video on there. It reportedly featured a camgirl with a ‘barely legal’ (exactly 18 years old) handle, and Pitchford, who has a vested interest in magic tricks, wanted to work out how the camgirl performed a certain act.

However, the disturbing allegations don’t stop there. Callender also claims that Pitchford siphoned Gearbox funds to hold what Pitchford and his wife affectionately call ‘Peacock Parties’, in which adult men expose themselves to minors for Pitchford’s amusement. Gearbox denied this, saying that the Pitchfords hold a regular variety show at his venue, known as the Peacock Theater, which is recorded and “has featured some of the most respected and renowned performers in the world and has been attended by prominent members of the local community and larger media”.

Fueling the fire are a couple of tweets from former Gearbox VP David Eddings. The first, posted January 11, simply says “Yes, it’s true.” while the second one says:

There’s no mention of who he’s talking about, but the tweets have opened up more speculation.

So far, there’s been little solid evidence by either side. However, if anyone in this case did have knowledge of Pitchford exploiting minors, it would surely be a case for criminal proceedings, not a civil lawsuit. Ars Technica reports that the Frisco, Texas police department has no open investigations involving Pitchford. Still, the allegations in Callender’s lawsuit have elevated this case in a very disturbing fashion.

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