In a new interview with Newsweek, former Borderlands voice actor David Eddings, who was the voice behind the series' mascot Claptrap, discussed his complicated relationship with Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford. Eddings recently revealed that he would not be returning to Borderlands 3, which sparked comments from Pitchford, alleging that Eddings was "bitter and disgruntled." Eddings hit back at Pitchford, citing an incident at GDC 2017 where the CEO "physically assaulted [Eddings] in the lobby of the Marriott Marquis" hotel.
The situation has been complicated since the start, and ironically, we thought there might be something more to the twitter feud than usual.
Eddings goes further into detail on that incident in his interview with Newsweek, saying he believes he caught Pitchford "in a deception" while asking about a then-rumored buyout of Gearbox Software.
According to a lawsuit from former Gearbox General Counsel Wade Callendar, Pitchford took a secret $12 million bonus from signing Gearbox to Take-Two Interactive. According to Callendar's suit, that bonus came straight out of the hands of Gearbox employees:
"Because Pitchford agreed to have his private 'bonuses' counted as advances upon the royalties owed to Gearbox employees, those employees — and their families — won't receive any of their accrued royalty or 'profit' shares until work repays Randy's bonuses to Take-Two Interactive."
Greg Richardson just so happened to be the man looking to price Gearbox, possibly as part of the Take-Two deal. Eddings was told by two separate sources that Richardson was "trying to get a price on Gearbox" at GDC 2017. Eddings, being VP of Buisness for Gearbox Software at the time, had no knowledge of any possible buyout or merger agreements.
It was only when Eddings went to discuss the situation with Pitchford that the alleged assault took place.
As Newsweek reports:
Eddings and Pitchford met up to discuss what had been said about Richardson. Eddings said he stood on his toes to whisper in order to "be secretive."
"Someone is trying to sell Gearbox," Eddings said, mentioning Richardson. This prompted Pitchford to respond "bulls**t, who told you?" A lawsuit from the former general counsel of Gearbox, Wade Callendar, suggests Pitchford already knew who Richardson was, and seemingly just wanted Eddings to tattle on his source. The lawsuit mentions that Richardson had helped collect capital "by July of 2017," though it's unclear if he was working with Pitchford in March. When Eddings refused to share his source, Pitchford got angry.
Things escalated quickly from there. " He shoved the f**k out of me while I'm on the balls of my feet trying to whisper. [He] knocked me back four steps… I believe I caught him in a deception," Eddings said. He shared images with Newsweek that he claims were taken shortly after the altercation that appear to show minor bruising on his ribs.
Eddings claimed that at least two people had witnessed this incident: Mario Kroll and Gearbox co-founder Landon Montgomery. Kroll can't verify it, telling Newsweek, "I was with him before and after the incident was supposed to have happened, but had to step away to tend to one of my clients." Kroll did notice Pitchford get "visibly angry" before leaving and returned to see Eddings "noticeably upset about what he described as an altercation with his boss."
Montgomery supports Eddings' story. "David leaned up to whisper something to Randy and out of the blue, Randy shoves him, hard," he told Newsweek.
On March 6, the Monday after GDC, Eddings headed into the Gearbox Studios office in Frisco, Texas to meet with Pitchford. The following day, Eddings claims that he was "rage fired because (he) wouldn't tell him about Richardson."
Eddings' comments to Newsweek seem to support Callendar's suit that Pitchford was in breach of contract, which could have an impact on court proceedings as both Callendar and Pitchford are counter-suing one another. Gearbox Software went so far as to file a grievance with the Texas Bar Association over Callendar's suit.
As a licensed attorney in Texas, Wade Callender is at risk of disbarment per the Texas Bar Association's punishments for Professional Misconduct if his allegations are found baseless. Callendar's suit is not merely about Pitchford being in breach of contract as Gearbox Software's CEO, though that is the main focus. The suit is lengthy and includes several other weighty allegations. Callender's claims that Pitchford leaked information on Gearbox's partner companies including 2K Games, Sega, Sony, and Microsoft by leaving a USB drive with sensitive information and pornography in a Dallas, TX restaurant. Callender's suit reads, "Upon information and belief, Randy Pitchford's USB drive also contained Randy Pitchford's personal collection of 'underage' pornography." Callender also claims that Pitchford held parties in which "adult men have reportedly exposed themselves to minors, to the amusement of Randy Pitchford."