Earlier this month, former Claptrap voice actor David Eddings answered a fan question that insinuated he was never paid for previous voice work and the denied compensation was the reason why he wouldn’t be returning. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford retaliated almost immediately by calling him “bitter and disgruntled.” Eddings then responded with a report that Pitchford physically assaulted him, and now he’s going into even more detail and this time he has witnesses.
Eddings recently sat down with Newsweek to discuss his past with Pitchford before he himself left Gearbox. According to new details, he was “rage fired” by Pitchford following an incident during GDC 2017. “I liken it to getting pushed off the Titanic 20 feet from shore,” Eddings said. “You’re sopping wet, disgruntled and angry, but two days later you’re thankful. You’re not on the sinking ship. But you’re sad, because there are a bunch of people still on the ship.”
Eddings went on to discuss his tumultuous working relationship with Pitchford, saying that the general culture revolved around Pitchford’s changing “whims.” He also detailed an incident when Eddings had lost his voice while working as Claptrap and how Pitchford ‘bullied’ him before a showcase:
“Randy had gone into the booth, yanked my cans off and stuck a wet finger in my ear that he had licked,” Eddings mentioned. “He jumped back and he cackled at me. Christoph and I are looking at each other like, what just happened?”
Though the above situation seems like it was a bit of misunderstood frat-boy joking, it was later that things became truly serious and has been a catalyst for the current state of the culture surrounding Gearbox.
Prior to GDC, the situation never escalated to violence until the 2017 conference following Gearbox buyout speculation. According to Eddings, he was approached by numerous people about Greg Richarson looking for a price for the company. He then approached Pitchford about the secretive buyout, which resulted in Pitchford demanding to know his sources. “He shoved the fuck out of me while I’m on the balls of my feet trying to whisper. [He] knocked me back four steps… I believe I caught him in a deception.”
In the report, Eddings revealed two witnesses, one which mentioned that they didn’t see a physical assault, but did say Eddings seemed “noticeably upset about what he described as an altercation with his boss” after the fact. The second witness, Gearbox co-founder Landon Montgomery, said: “David leaned up to whisper something to Randy and out of the blue, Randy shoves him, hard.”
This situation eventually resulted in Eddings being “rage fired,” which he alleges stemmed from him refusing to reveal his source.
Gearbox responded to Eddings’ original claims earlier this week in a very non-committal way, though they did add “We think it’s a shame that the 400+ employees here who have poured the love and passion into Borderlands 3 are having their work be diluted by personal allegations.”
Both the studio and Randy Pitchford has yet to respond.