Thursday, September 21, 2023

Governor Newsom Charged With Interfering In Activision Blizzard Lawsuit

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A former attorney for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has accused Governor Gavin Newsom of interfering with the agency against Activision Blizzard. According to an email seen by DFEH assistant chief attorney Melanie Proctor said on Tuesday she was stepping down from her position to protest the abrupt resignation of Janette Wipper, the watchdog’s chief attorney.

“The Cabinet of the Governor repeatedly demanded advance notice of the process strategy and of the next steps in the process,” Proctor wrote in her resignation. “As we continued to win in state court, this interference increased, mimicking the interests of Activision’s attorney.” Proctor claims Wipper was “abruptly terminated” for trying to protect the independence of the DFEH. According to the email, the former lead attorney is “considering all avenues of legal action,” including a claim under California’s Whistleblower Protection Act.

We have reached out to Governor Newsom’s office for comment.

The news of the layoff comes just over two weeks after a federal judge ordered Activision Blizzard to settle a U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission lawsuit accusing the publisher of promoting a discriminatory workplace. Before that complaint was filed, the California Fair Employment Agency filed its own lawsuit against Activision Blizzard after a two-year investigation into sexual harassment allegations against the publisher. The DFEH case is currently set to go to trial in February 2023, but Proctor’s allegations are likely to raise questions about the ultimate fate of the lawsuit.

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