Top Attorney in California Lawsuit Against Activision Blizzard Resigns Over Alleged California Gov. Interference


California’s case against Activision Blizzard has taken a new turn. A new report by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier details allegations that the California governor has become increasingly involved in the lawsuit.

The lead attorney on the case, Janette Wipper, was fired by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Another attorney on the case, Melanie Proctor, the assistant chief counsel, resigned this week to protest her boss’s firing. Those two attorneys had resigned their roles in the lawsuit earlier this month, with no explanation given at the time.

The ongoing lawsuit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) against Activision Blizzard is pending. The state agency recently tried to block the company’s settlement deal with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), but a federal judge refused and eventually signed the deal with a victory for Activision Blizzard.

In this case, the exit of the two top lawyers and allegations of interference raise questions about the future of the case. Proctor sent an email (as cited in the Bloomberg report) alleging that Newsom “repeatedly requested advance notice of litigation strategy and next steps in the litigation. As we continued to win in state courts, this interference increased and mimicked the interests of Activision’s attorney,” she wrote. She also said that Janette Wipper worked and tried to maintain DFEH’s independence, which resulted in her being fired.

A Newsom representative issued a statement denying the allegations and saying Newsom “will continue to support DFEH in its efforts to fight all forms of discrimination and protect Californians.” The DFEH issued a similar statement, saying it would continue to enforce state civil rights and housing laws.

Activision Blizzard, which this week announced the hiring of Kristen Hines as chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, is in the process of being reviewed for a Microsoft acquisition. The company has acknowledged shortcomings in hiring and, through the EEOC agreement and official company statements, has vowed to better achieve diversity goals and create a more welcoming workplace culture. Top Attorney in California Lawsuit Against Activision Blizzard Resigns Over Alleged California Gov. Interference

Fry Electronics Team

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