California lawyer resigns after alleging that the state’s governor is interfering in the Activision Blizzard lawsuit

It's unclear what this means for the state's lawsuit.

Photo via Activision Blizzard / Mergr

Melanie Proctor, the assistant chief counsel for California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, has resigned from her position in protest of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s firing of her boss and his alleged interference in the Activision Blizzard sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit, according to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier.

Proctor reportedly emailed the DFEH staff last night, informing them of her resignation to protest the “abrupt” firing of her superior, chief counsel Janette Wipper. Proctor alleged in the email that Newsom and the governor’s office “began to interfere” with the lawsuit in recent weeks, demanding “advanced notice of litigation strategy and of next steps in the litigation,” which she says “[mimicked] the interests of Activision’s counsel.”

Both Proctor and Wipper had already “stepped down” from the Activision Blizzard lawsuit less than a couple of weeks ago without any explanation, according to Bloomberg. Proctor alleges that Wipper was terminated for attempting to protect the DFEH’s independence. A spokesperson for Wipper told Bloomberg that she is “evaluating all avenues of legal recourse including a claim under the California Whistleblower Protection Act.”

The Activision Blizzard case led by the California DFEH is currently pending in the Los Angeles Superior Court. Under Wipper, the department successfully got another game developer, Riot Games, to pay $100 million in its own sexual discrimination lawsuit that was settled back in December 2021. Just a few weeks prior to Wipper and Proctor’s departures, Activision Blizzard settled with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $18 million.