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Whistleblower claims Gov. Newsom interfered in Activision Blizzard case

Activision Blizzard Share
Activision Blizzard Share (Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

What you need to know

  • A whistleblower is alleging that the California governor's office interfered in the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard.
  • The whistleblower, lawyer Melanie Proctor, accuses Gov. Newsom of firing Proctor's boss without reason.
  • Activision Blizzard's settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was recently approved by a judge.
  • The Department of Fair Employment and Housing's case has continued.

A whistleblower is alleging interference in the case against publisher Activision Blizzard that first broke back in July 2021.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, one of the top lawyers for the State of California has resigned while accusing the office of Governor Newsom of interfering with the ongoing Activision Blizzard lawsuit. The lawyer in question, Melanie Proctor, was the assistant chief counsel for California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Proctor reportedly emailed coworkers, alleging that her former boss, Chief Counsel Janette Wipper, was fired by the governor without any explanation.

Proctor, who had been with the DFEH since 2018, further alleges that the office of the governor was interefering with the lawsuit over the last few weeks. A judge recently approved Activision Blizzard's settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), agreeing to pay $18 million to eligible employees. The DFEH had attempted to have this settlement blocked but the request was rejected by the court.

"The Office of the Governor repeatedly demanded advance notice of litigation strategy and of next steps in the litigation," Proctor reportedly wrote in an email. "As we continued to win in state court, this interference increased, mimicking the interests of Activision's counsel."

"DFEH will continue to vigorously enforce California's civil rights and fair housing laws," a spokesperson told Bloomberg.

All of this comes as Microsoft is currently working to acquire Activision Blizzard in a deal worth nearly $69 billion. The deal is slated to close sometime before June 2023.

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.