Former GTA Producer Suing Rockstar, Company Responds
This is bound to get ugly.
It has been announced that former Rockstar North boss Leslie Benzies is suing his former employer, claiming he is owed $150 million in royalties and further alleging that the company forced him out.
Benzies left the team in January following a 17-month sabbatical and apparently, this sabbatical is the crux of the issue. Here's what Christopher Bakes, a partner at Benzies' legal team of Locke Lord LLP had to say:
"While on sabbatical, Mr. Benzies discovered numerous deceptions on the part of Take-Two, Rockstar, Rockstar North Ltd, Sam Houser and Dan Houser, who sought to force him out of the company and terminate his portion of royalty payments based upon arbitrary actions by the company's royalty Allocation Committee, a committee that may or may not have actually ever met."
Benzies says he is owed "in excess" of $150 million in unpaid royalties, and the lawsuit also cites "a lengthy deception by Sam Houser," one of the founding members of Rockstar. Bakes then alleges that Take-Two "breached its mediation obligations by issuing an out-of-bounds and inaccurate press statement regarding his sabbatical and that he would not be coming back to work." Benzies supposedly tried to return on April 1, 2015 but was barred from entering the building. The Rockstar North office manager ordered him to leave "without reason."
On the flip side, Rockstar argues that Benzies resigned from his post "without good reason" and is therefore not entitled to any post-termination royalties. The last royalty payment Benzies received was on April 28, 2014 and Rockstar claims he has received all appropriate royalties. And just recently, Rockstar has issued an official statement on this $150 million lawsuit of Benzies:
"Leslie Benzies was a valued employee of our company for many years. Sadly, the events that culminated in his resignation ultimately stem from his significant performance and conduct issues. Despite our repeated efforts to address and resolve these issues amicably both before and after his departure, Leslie has chosen to take this route in an attempt to set aside contract terms to which he previously agreed on multiple occasions.
His claims are entirely without merit and in many instances downright bizarre, and we are very confident this matter will be resolved in our favor. A core ethos since Rockstar's inception has been the concept of 'the team.' It is deeply disappointing and simply wrong for Leslie to attempt to take personal credit for what has always been the tremendous efforts of the entire Rockstar team, who remain hard at work delivering the most immersive and engaging entertainment experiences we can for our fans."
Fun stuff, no?
4/12/2016 8:46:15 PM Ben Dutka