Original: Strap in for this one, folks. Gearbox has been at odds with their former general counsel, Wade Callender, for some time now, and things are getting heated. Callender, a longtime friend and business partner of Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, was accused of fraud by the company in November. According to Callender, it's the other way around, and Pitchford is the guilty party.
With both sides accusing the other of contract breaches and fraud, lawsuits have been filed, and further explosive accusations have been made against Pitchford. Callender claims that Pitchford violated not only his Gearbox agreements, but also separate contracts related to a real estate company that they owned together. In addition to alleged grievances against Callender, Pitchford is also accused of secretly negotiating a deal with parent company Take-Two Interactive to receive a $12 million bonus. That money was allegedly given to Pitchford as an advance on royalties that would otherwise go to Gearbox's staff.
Gearbox and Pitchford vehemently deny these accusations, writing them off as the actions of a disgruntled former employee. Their statement makes no mention of the personal friendship between Callender and Pitchford or their ventures together outside of Gearbox.
"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." — Gearbox
Gearbox's suit against Callender accuses him of taking Gearbox money for a home loan and tuition, failing to pay it back, and destroying evidence related to the transaction. They also claim 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."
In addition to all the financial allegations being flung by both sides, Callender's suit also alleges serious sexual misconduct on Pitchford's part. The suit states that these claims are based " Upon information and belief," which would suggest they are second-hand accounts rather than actions Callender personally witnessed.
Callender accuses Pitchford of having a collection of child pornography (as well as sensitive documents related to 2K Games, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, and others) on a USB drive which he accidentally left at a restaurant in Texas. He also claims Pitchford threw parties at which " adult men have reportedly exposed themselves to minors, to the amusement of Randy Pitchford."
Shortly after these allegations surfaced, former Gearbox Vice President David Eddings appeared to corroborate some (or possibly all?) of them. Eddings, who worked at Gearbox for more than a decade, vaguely tweeted out " Yes, it's true" with no further details. Kotaku's Jason Schreier (who broke the story) reached out to Eddings for clarification, but at this time he has not received an answer. You can read both of the lawsuits in full by clicking the source link below.
Update: As it turns out, Pitchford himself recently mentioned the USB incident, although he tells it a different way. Pitchford claims he copied over a single video of a cam girl who was "barely legal" and used the screen name "Only 18." Pitchford claims he only copied the video because he believed her orgasm and ejaculation to be fake and "a magic trick" that he wanted to figure out. Pitchford confirms that he accidentally left the USB drive at a Medieval Times restaurant and that it was taken home by an employee. He also acknowledges that the USB contained secret information about upcoming games. Pitchford stated all of this on the December 22nd episode of the Piff Pod podcast.
Additionally, Gearbox has issued another statement, threatening action against Callender with the State Bar of Texas. It reads as follows:
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. — Gearbox