Stardock CEO Brad Wardell has always been outspoken. But, was he out of line with his treatment of one former employee? That's what the courts are deciding in an ongoing lawsuit between Wardell and Alexandra Miseta.
Earlier this month, Stardock filed a lawsuit against Miseta, former marketing manager at the company. The company alleges that she is partly responsible for the failure of Elemental: War of Magic. The game's launch was so poorly managed that it led to severe layoffs at the company.
Stardock alleges that Miseta "deleted, destroyed, and/or stole" marketing and analytics information regarding Elemental when she quit the company weeks before the game's launch. The company is seeking over a million dollars in damages. However, Miseta filed a suit against Wardell months after her departure, claiming sexual harassment.
Kotaku has a detailed report on the allegations. In an e-mail exchange between the two, Miseta requests that Wardell "never touch my hair or any of my body parts, not even jokingly" and to "be careful with your 'jokes' which are at many times inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, and very embarrassing." Wardell's response certainly raises some eyebrows: "I am an inappropriate, sexist, vulgar, and embarrassing person and I'm not inclined to change my behavior. If this is a problem, you will need to find another job," he said.
Kotaku's report notes the suspicious timing of Stardock's million-dollar lawsuit against Miseta, as it was filed "less than three weeks" after the courts denied a motion to dismiss the sexual harassment case against Wardell--that means Miseta's case will go to trial. Miseta's attorney told the site that "it is our opinion that Mr. Wardell's lawsuit against Ms. Miseta for allegedly deleting files, etc., is baseless and was brought solely in retaliation for her sexual harassment lawsuit. We firmly believe that Ms. Miseta's leaving Stardock had absolutely nothing to do with any failures pertaining to Stardock's release of Elemental."
Wardell admits that he was "a jerk" in his response to Wardell, but he claims that "it does not justify her getting pissed off, quitting without notice and using her network access to wipe out our marketing assets 3 weeks before the ship of the game forcing me and a few other key team members to scramble at the last second to deal with it." Wardell points out that even if Miseta had stayed, Elemental wouldn't have been a great game, "but that doesn't excuse someone from maliciously and intentionally wiping out years worth of marketing data, assets, etc."