Accusations include a wet-willy and aggressive shoving.
David Eddings

One week ago, the dispute between Gearbox's Randy Pitchford and former Gearbox employee David Eddings went public in a hurry. It seemed as though this was largely over a pay dispute between the two parties but, as with most things involving Randy Pitchford, there's a bit more to it than that.

Eddings has claimed, on more than one occasion now, that Randy Pitchford physically assaulted him. These allegations really came to light a few days ago when Eddings posted the following series of tweets. He mentions how he is still owed past royalties in addition to the claims of being assaulted.

Eddings tweets

Today, Newsweek published an interview with David Eddings that goes into additional details about how Pitchford assaulted him. This abuse includes giving Eddings a wet-willy and at least one occasion in which Eddings was forcibly shoved during GDC 2017. It was after this event that Eddings said Pitchford "rage fired" him mere days later.

Eddings says the two had a complicated relationship, and that Gearbox employees constantly shifted priorities to meet the whims of Pitchford, a CEO who Eddings says delights in pulling unprofessional pranks. For example: Eddings had lost his voice after performing as Claptrap at a gaming convention in February 2017, but Pitchford wanted him to perform again for a studio tour for former 2K Games president Christoph Hartmann later that month. The day of the tour, Eddings waited in the sound booth for Pitchford to text them the signal to begin.

“Randy had gone into the booth, yanked my cans off and stuck a wet finger in my ear that he had licked,” Eddings claimed. “He jumped back and he cackled at me. Christoph and I are looking at each other like, what just happened?"
During the Game Developers Conference 2017, Pitchford and Eddings were at the Marriott Marquis hotel, a "networking hotspot during GDC." Eddings says that on the Thursday of the convention, he was approached by two different people who claimed that someone named Greg Richardson was trying to get a price on Gearbox.

Eddings says that he met up with Pitchford to talk about what had been said about this Richardson person. Those sources that spoke to Eddings had asked him not to reveal that they shared the information about Richardson. Eddings continues on to say that he had stood on his toes in order to lean in near to Pitchford's ear to whisper the information in order to "be secretive."

“Someone is trying to sell Gearbox,” Eddings said, mentioning Richardson. This prompted Pitchford to respond “bulls**t, who told you?” A lawsuit from the former general counsel of Gearbox, Wade Callendar, suggests Pitchford already knew who Richardson was, and seemingly just wanted Eddings to tattle on his source. The lawsuit mentions that Richardson had helped collect capital “by July of 2017,” though it’s unclear if he was working with Pitchford in March. When Eddings refused to share his source, Pitchford got angry.

Things escalated quickly from there. “ 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,” Eddings said. He shared images with Newsweek that he claims were taken shortly after the altercation that appear to show minor bruising on his ribs.
Eddings says that there were two witnesses to this encounter. One witness was supposedly Mario Kroll, but Kroll claims that at the time of the incident he had to "step away to tend to one of (his) clients." Kroll did say that when he returned he noticed Pitchford was "visibly angry" and that Eddings was "noticeably upset."

The other witness is Gearbox co-founder Landon Montgomery. Montgomery supports Eddings's side of the story. He says, "David leaned up to whisper something to Randy and out of the blue, Randy shoves him, hard."

On March 6, the Monday following GDC, Eddings went to work to meet with Pitchford. The following day he was "rage fired" because he "wouldn't tell him (Pitchford) about Richardson." Even with all of this, Eddings says that he was willing to come back as Claptrap.

“I’ll do it for free as soon as Randy makes a public apology to me and pays me the royalties I’m owed,” Eddings said. When he was first approached to reprise his role, he tweeted that he “was willing to put differences aside and do something cool for Borderlands fans with my friends at Gearbox.” The only prerequisite was that he needed to receive the past royalties he felt he deserved and an apology for the incident at GDC.

Pitchford has remained quiet on Twitter since Eddings broke the news he wouldn’t return. Eddings has decided that now is the time to share his story; he recently left Rooster Teeth to work on an unannounced project and has “nothing holding (him) back.”

“I can stand up to Randy because I’m not afraid of him,” Eddings said.
Eddings also shared screenshots of text messages sent between himself and Pitchford that took place right around the time of the public assault that took place at GDC. If nothing else, they really seem to paint a clear picture of just how furious PItchford was.

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An unnamed representative of Gearbox did issue a statement to Newsweek about this story. The statement concludes with a very unprofessional, very obvious attempt at a guilt trip.

Gearbox takes any and all claims of this nature very seriously and we will abstain from commenting on the allegations Dave is making because it is a personnel matter. 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.