Saturday 24 March 2018

Former Rockstar North boss suing GTA publisher for $150m

Rockstar North
Rockstar North

Mark O'Beirne

Former Rockstar North boss Leslie Benzies is suing Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of Grand Theft Auto, for $150 million.

Former Rockstar North boss Leslie Benzies is suing Take-Two Interactive for $150m.

According to Benzies’ legal team, he was terminated while on sabbatical without being told. As a result, they claim, he is owed $150m in unpaid royalties. It is also being claimed that Benzies was deceived while on sabbatical by Take Two, Rockstar, and Sam and Dan Houser.

Benzies went on sabbatical on September 1st, 2014 and departed Rockstar in January 2016. However, Benzies is accusing Rockstar of lying about his sabbatical. He says that he attempted to go back to work on April 1st, 2015, only to find that his building key had been deactivated.

Christopher Bakes, a partner at Benzies' legal team Locke Lord LLP, says that Benzies was then ordered to leave by the Rockstar North office manager without reason. The case claims that Sam and Dan Houser sought to force Benzies out of the company.

"The Defendants flew Mr. Benzies to New York and encouraged him to take a six-month sabbatical to recharge his batteries," the lawsuit explained. Prior to this sabbatical, it’s alleged that Sam Houser sent Benzies supportive e-mails claiming to have his back, but then pulled the rug out from under him once he actually took the sabbatical.

Rockstar has dismissed Benzies’ allegations, stating that his resignation “ultimately stem from his significant performance and conduct issues.” The company labelled his claims “entirely without merit and in many instances downright bizarre.”

Rockstar is confident that the matter will be resolved in its favour.

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