Honest man or claptrap?
Tensions between Claptrap voice actor and Borderlands studio reach fever pitch
UPDATE: Gearbox says it takes assault claim "very seriously" but will "abstain from commenting on the allegations".
UPDATE: Eurogamer has received comment from Gearbox on the physical assault allegation made by David Eddings against Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford.
Here's the statement in full:
"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 appreciate David's contributions to the Borderlands franchise and have continued to assert we would welcome him back into the mix as the voice of Claptrap and other future opportunities."
ORIGINAL STORY: If you thought the Borderlands 3 drama was going to stop at Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford's ongoing lawsuits, his Twitter tirade over microtransactions or the Claptrap voice actor's claim he wasn't paid for his performances in the first two games, I've got news for you. The latter dispute has evolved into something truly nasty, with Claptrap voice actor and former Gearbox employee David Eddings claiming Pitchford once physically assaulted him in a hotel lobby. Yikes.
The latest argument began when Eddings explained he wouldn't be reprising his role as Claptrap in Borderlands 3, as apparently after "insist[ing] on getting paid" Gearbox chose to hire a different voice actor. Eddings also referenced Pitchford's legal dispute, in which the CEO has been accused of taking a secret $12m bonus.
"I'm not telling them how to run their business but maybe next time they should put the $12m payment from 2K in the Gearbox bank account instead," Eddings remarked.
Pitchford then stated Eddings was "paid very handsomely during his employment" and was "made a relatively generous offer to reprise the role", but turned the opportunity down. In a statement made to IGN, Gearbox clarified it "offer[s] the opportunity for salaried employees to voice characters in the game, but is not a mandatory responsibility to their job requirements". Gearbox says Eddings was offered an industry standard rate, but an agreement could not be reached.
Unfortunately, Pitchford then felt the need to call Eddings "bitter and disgruntled about having been terminated" on Twitter, adding Eddings was actually "offered 2x scale" to do the performance.
Still with us? This brings us to the current state of affairs, in which Eddings claims Pitchford physically assaulted him in 2017.
"I was fine moving on after Gearbox. But when my former boss starts mouthing off about various aspects of my employment including 'how highly compensated' I was and how 'generous' he is, I feel obligated to correct the record," Eddings wrote on Twitter.
"I ultimately offered to do it for 'free' in exchange for past royalties owed plus an apology for something I've never spoken about publicly until now: Randy physically assaulted me in the lobby of the Marriott Marquis at GDC 2017."
Eddings followed up the accusation by remarking Pitchford has "been on tilt" for several years, while also casting suspicion on 2K's refusal to give a statement on the ongoing lawsuit.
Eurogamer has contacted 2K for comment on the physical assault allegation.
Incredibly, while this may be the most dramatic (and serious) Borderlands 3 voice actor dispute, it's not the first. A few weeks ago Pitchford claimed Troy Baker had turned down an offer to reprise his role, but Baker insisted Gearbox told him he wouldn't come back.
"I think it's interesting that Randy Pitchford tweeted out that I turned it down, and then he said he heard that I turned it down," Baker said in response to Pitchford's comments. "So maybe... I would fact check before I tweeted out to the internet."
Borderlands 3's launch has so far been overshadowed by several dramas surrounding one person, and the allegation of physical assault is a particularly serious one. It's unclear whether Eddings filed a police report at the time, and the circumstances surrounding the incident are unknown. Pitchford is yet to respond, but it might be wise to keep an eye on that Twitter feed. One thing's for sure - this particular dispute has stepped up a gear.