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Lawyer behind Activision Blizzard lawsuit accuses California governor of meddling on behalf of company

A key attorney involved in California’s discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard alleges Governor Gavin Newsom intervened.

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Serious allegations have been made against Governor Gavin Newsom over the ongoing California discrimination lawsuit against ActivisionBlizzard. The allegations come from Melanie Proctor, a key attorney involved in the Activision Blizzard lawsuit and deputy chief attorney for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Proctor resigns and accuses Governor Newsom of interfering with the trial and that the interference mimicked “the interests of Activision’s attorney”.


The catalyst for Proctor’s resignation and the allegations against Governor Newsom and the governor’s office is the firing of Chief Counsel Janette Wipper. Wipper resigned from her post last month, but a rep has now confirmed she was fired. Proctor explains that Wipper was fired from her role after she “tried to protect” the independence of the department as it pursued the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. This effort is described by Proctor as directly leading to Wipper’s shot.

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Proctor’s Comprehensive Allegations Against Governor Newsom claim that he and his office “repeatedly sought advance notice of litigation strategy and next litigation steps” regarding the Department of Fair Employment and Housing’s lawsuit against Activision. Blizzard. Proctor says interference from the governor’s office increased as the lawsuit “continued to win in state court.” No other specific details about Governor Newsom or interference from the governor’s office were provided.

Wipper’s role as chief counsel for the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has been well regarded. Governor Newsom even reappointed Wipper to the post just four months ago. Previous efforts by Wipper’s team include audits of Google’s salary data and subsequent lawsuit, a $100 million settlement from Riot Games for alleged discrimination and harassment of female employees, and recently confirmed plans to pursue a lawsuit. against Tesla.

However, Wipper and Proctor did not leave California’s DFEH without controversy. In October, following California’s legal effort to overturn the EEOC’s $18 million settlement with Activision Blizzard, the EEOC alleged that Wipper and Proctor violated ethics rules by participating in an EEOC investigation into Activision Blizzard, and then also represented DFEH in its lawsuit against the company. It is unclear whether these allegations were followed up or played a role in these latest events.

What will happen next is completely uncertain. The EEOC has officially settled the federal lawsuit against Activision Blizzard for $18 million. California’s DFEH previously claimed that this settlement would undermine its own lawsuit in the state against Activision Blizzard, so the future of that lawsuit is unclear. Now there are allegations against California Governor Gavin Newsom that could turn into something big. This all comes as Microsoft moves forward with a $68.7 billion acquisition of ActivisionBlizzard.

MORE: Judge Upholds Activision Blizzard’s $18 Million Sexual Harassment Settlement


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