Aliens: Colonial Marines Games Gaming & Culture Gearbox Software Policy Randy Pitchford

After lawsuit filed, Gearbox CEO confirms he left USB stick of porn at Medieval Times [Updated]

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, recreated in a photo illustration of the game <em>Borderlands</em>

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, recreated in a photo illustration of the game <em>Borderlands</em>'s cover art.

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, recreated in a photograph illustration of the sport Borderlands’s cowl artwork.

Photograph illustration by Aurich Lawson

A pair of lawsuits filed in Collin County and Dallas County District Courts late final yr got here to mild on Friday, every revolving round an apparently nasty dispute between the previous basic counsel of Gearbox Studios (makers of the Borderlands and Aliens: Colonial Marines recreation collection) and its CEO, Randy Pitchford.

A November submitting by Gearbox, uncovered by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, alleged that the corporate’s former common counsel, Wade Callender, “exploit[ed] Gearbox’s generosity and trust for his own personal gain.” Callender’s personal countersuit, filed in the identical courtroom one month later, went fairly a bit additional. Callender’s go well with alleges that Pitchford “breached his fiduciary duties by exploiting Gearbox employees and property to fund Pitchford’s private cravings,” and one portion of the go well with makes two sensational accusations about Pitchford’s conduct: that he by chance left a variety of “underage” pornography on a USB stick at a restaurant, and that he used his firm’s cash to host events the place “adult men have reportedly exposed themselves to minors, to the amusement of Pitchford.”

The allegations a few USB stick locations its discovery at a 2014 Medieval Times Dinner and Event location in Dallas, down the street from Gearbox’s Plano, Texas, headquarters. Callender alleges within the December go well with that somebody from the restaurant perused the USB stick’s contents upon their discovery after which contacted the sport studio in order that its staff might recuperate it. “Pitchford declared that the thumb drive was his and requested its prompt return,” Callender’s go well with states.

Presently, Callender and different Gearbox counsel have been “mediating yet another case in which Pitchford’s conduct was front and center: the Aliens: Colonial Marines class-action.” Callender alleges that whereas he was out of city, he requested Gearbox staffers in Texas to “make a copy of the USB drive, to ensure that its contents could be verified and, if necessary, acted upon.” Callender was unable to see these information, he alleges, as a result of “Pitchford intervened by retrieving the lost USB drive himself and ordering Gearbox personnel to destroy the copy that Callender requested.”

Citing “information and belief,” Callender alleges that the USB stick in query contained “Randy Pitchford’s personal collection of ‘underage’ pornography,” along with “sensitive corporate documents of Gearbox and business partners like Take-Two Interactive, 2K Games, Sega, Microsoft, Sony, etc.”

Moreover, Callender alleges that Pitchford “syphoned Gearbox profits to fund parties thrown by Pitchford and his wife.” The go well with describes these events, generally known as “Peacock Parties,” as gatherings the place grownup male friends “have reportedly exposed themselves to minors, to the amusement of Randy Pitchford.”

David Eddings, a former Gearbox vice chairman up till 2017, took to Twitter after Kotaku’s report went reside with a obscure, two-word submit: “It’s true.” As of press time, Eddings has not clarified whether or not his submit refers to particular allegations from the lawsuit, and the Twitter publish isn’t a direct reply to some other publish concerning the lawsuit.

Callender’s go well with doesn’t affirm whether or not regulation enforcement was notified about these allegations of sexual publicity to minors or the attainable presence of baby pornography on a USB stick owned by Pitchford. Neither Callender’s authorized counsel nor Gearbox representatives responded to Ars’ questions as of press time. Nevertheless, Gearbox did supply a press release to Kotaku on Friday: “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.”

Representatives from the Dallas FBI didn’t instantly reply to questions on potential investigations relating to youngster pornography and Pitchford. The Frisco, Texas, police division stated it had no investigations involving Pitchford at this time.

Randy’s rebuttal: The porn was a “magic trick”

Bizarrely sufficient, Pitchford corroborates some of the story’s particulars by showing on a podcast that went stay in the future after Callender’s go well with was filed. On the December 22 episode of The Piff Pod, Pitchford talks at size about porn that he enjoys watching, together with “camgirl” pornography, through which a number exposes themself to a stay feed and takes requests and monetary ideas from shoppers. Pitchford defined that he was “a consumer of this content.” He confirmed that he copied a selected video “to this memory stick” to, as he describes it, “work out the method” of how a camgirl host faked the act of feminine ejaculation. (Be warned: he describes how the video appears in notably graphic element.)

“I realized, this is not a sex worker,” Pitchford stated on the present. “This is a fucking magician.” Pitchford, for these unaware, has a vested curiosity within the area of magicians and owns the magic-focused Genii Journal.

“This was before I learned I should probably have password-protected memory sticks,” Pitchford says, earlier than admitting that he had certainly left a USB flash drive at a Medieval Times Dinner and Event restaurant. “Some kid, an employee of Medieval Times, discovered this memory stick, took it home… and discovered secrets of my company and future games in development, and also discovered the pornography. It was ‘barely legal’ porn. This girl’s handle was ‘Only 18.'” The USB flash drive was returned to Gearbox, Pitchford says, in trade for “swag” and video video games.

Pitchford claimed that the flash drive arrived at the studio whereas Pitchford was on trip, so his government assistant checked its contents. “Before I know it, I think the entire office looked at it. And there was one piece of content on here. And it never occurred to any of them that the reason why there was just that single porno was because of the magic trick, not because of [pause] I don’t know whatever the fuck they thought.” Later within the podcast, Pitchford suggests placing this “Only 18” performer “on the cover” of a future Genii Journal concern.

Claims about Media & Magic

Gearbox’s November lawsuit filed towards Callender seeks over $1 million in damages. It alleges, partially, that Callender didn’t absolutely repay a $300,000 mortgage issued by Pitchford in 2015 and that he used Gearbox’s company bank cards for private use earlier than resigning from the corporate in July 2018.

Callender’s countersuit seeks damages from each Pitchford and Gearbox Software program “in excess of $1 million” on the idea of the defendants’ “intent to defraud or harm” the previous Gearbox basic counsel. Callender’s authorized staff claims these actions “destroyed [Callender’s] property and pecuniary interests.” The go well with moreover alleges that Pitchford accepted a $12 million bonus from recreation writer Take-Two Interactive to “Randy’s side entity, ‘Pitchford Entertainment Media & Magic,” and that this occurred “unbeknownst to Gearbox employees,” thus putting a “financial burden” on these staff.

“Randy Pitchford is a manipulative and morally bankrupt CEO who shamefully exploited his oldest friend, a Texas attorney and military veteran named Wade Callender,” the countersuit states.

[Replace, 6:15pm ET: Shortly after this text went stay, Pitchford posted a response to Callender’s lawsuit on his Twitter account. “The attacks made by my former friend and colleague have no basis in reality or law,” Pitchford wrote. “He is simply trying to shake me down for money. We will win, but because lawsuits are pending I can’t comment as much as I’d like. I am shocked by his lies. Thanks for your love and support.”

[Replace 2, 6:24pm ET: Gearbox replied to our emailed request for remark with out answering our questions. As an alternative, a Gearbox consultant requested a “revision” of the article’s headline and content material.

“Though the podcast episode came out a day after Wade’s suit was filed, the actual recording (and telling of the story) was done before the suit was filed,” Gearbox Publishing PR supervisor Austin Malcom wrote in an e mail.] [Replace three, 6:48pm ET: Gearbox PR has forwarded a prolonged assertion to Ars Technica relating to the December lawsuit filed towards Gearbox and Pitchford. It begins with Gearbox’s pledge to “file a grievance with the State Bar of Texas against our former general counsel for disciplinary proceedings.” The assertion questions Callender’s “use of hedged lawyer language and clever application of quotation marks,” then alleges that Callender is “clearly using deceit and lies to try to cause damage by promoting a narrative that he knows is false.”

Gearbox’s assertion included a hyperlink to the identical Piff Pod episode linked earlier in our report, thus apparently endorsing its statements on a company degree.

The assertion additionally describes one thing referred to as the Peacock Theater as if it have been an present, publicly accessible arts venue (“owned by the Pitchfords and hosts a variety arts show that has featured some of the most respected and renowned performers in the world”), when it’s in reality a personal, invite-only occasion hosted at Pitchford’s “massive house in a gated community.” Gearbox claims that “every performance at the Peacock Theater is recorded” and invitations members of the press to “watch any or all of these videos in private for further validation.” We’ll comply with up with Gearbox’s supply of viewing these movies.

The assertion concludes with the next assertion: “Randy is shocked by the meritless allegations brought up by a former friend and colleague, to whom he has extended his personal funds multiple times to help him purchase a home, a car, and even fully finance his tuition and expenses for an executive MBA at Pepperdine.”]

Senior Gaming Editor Kyle Orland contributed to this report.