Stardock CEO Sued for Sexual Harassment
Studio counter-sues plaintiff, claiming she deliberately sabotaged game's release.
All eyes were on Elemental: War of Magic developer Stardock yesterday as Kotaku's Kate Cox reported on the court case drama of Stardock CEO Brad Wardell and former Stardock marketing manager Alexandra Miseta, currently engaged in a battle of lawsuits at the center of which lies our good old friend, workplace sexual harassment.
As Cox recounts, in August of 2010 then-marketing manager of Stardock Alexandra Miseta left the company amid workplace pressure from Wardell, who had previously defended his sexually-themed comments and behavior toward Miseta saying:
I am an inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, embarrassing person and I'm not inclined to change my behavior. If this is a problem, you will need to find another job.
"Find another job" is precisely what Miseta did, and three weeks before the launch of Stardock's latest title, Elemental, she left the company, and soon after filed a lawsuit against Wardell for sexual harassment.
Now, here is where it gets interesting-- and it does not reflect favorably on Stardock CEO Brad Wardell.
After unsuccessfully motioning to dismiss the lawsuit, attorneys representing Stardock filed suit against Miseta, seeking "in excess of $1 million in damages" for allegedly destroying company marketing materials which forced Stardock to divert programming and debugging time to "re-create" the materials.
If the timing of the suit isn't suspicious enough, the suggestion that missing marketing materials led to a drain on programming and QA resources should raise some red flags. What were Stardock programmers doing developing marketing assets in the first place? And as Cox notes,
A former Stardock employee, speaking with Kotaku on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that a mere two weeks before launch, Elemental had many technical issues that had nothing to do with its marketing. The employee also added that at the time, nobody mentioned any materials having gone missing or any sabotage having taken place and showed Kotaku communications from Wardell that indicated satisfaction with how Miseta's staff replacement was taking over the review kit and review guide process.
Cox's entire write-up is, naturally, a good bit of journalism and should definitely be read in full. We'll keep you posted with any updates.