Califonia governor Gavin Newsom has been accused of interfering in Activision Blizzard's sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit by Melanie Proctor, one of the state's top lawyers for the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. According to emails seen by Bloomberg, Proctor is using her resignation as a protest againt the firing of her boss Chief Counsel Janette Wipper.
Proctor claims in these emails that Newsom and his office "began to interfere" with the lawsuit and started "mimicking the interests of Activision's counsel," demanding "advance notice of litigation strategy and of next steps in litigation." Proctor also claims that Wipper was "abruptly terminated" for pushing back against the interference, thus leading to her resignation.
According to Bloomberg, both Proctor and Wipper had both stepped down from the Activision Blizzard lawsuit earlier this month, although they did so without explanation. Wipper is also now "evalutating all avenues of recourse" over her termination, including "a claim under the California Whistleblower Protection Act," according to her spokesperson Alexis Ronickher.
It's unclear what this means for Activision Blizzard's discrimination lawsuit at the moment, but Proctor's claims suggest that Gavin Newsom is attempting to at least mitigate any potential legal action taken against the publisher, although it's worth pointing out that these emails aren't public and we only have Proctor and Wipper's public statements to go on.
Activision Blizzard recently settled another of its many lawsuits at the end of March, finalising the lawsuit brought against it by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for a paltry $18 million. When you consider the size of Activision Blizzard and how much profit it brings in on a yearly basis, it easy to see why so many were critical of the sum when the news was announced.
Activision Blizzard workers attempting to unionize were also struck a blow earlier this month, as the publisher announced that it would be giving thousands of contracted QA tester full-time jobs along with healthy pay increases. A positive announcement on the surface, but it was later revealed that these pay increases would not extend to workers attempting to unionize, leading many to accuse Activision Blizzard of deploying union busting tactics.
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