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Gearbox pushes back against discriminatory Texas bills

"We bring a lot of money into this state. We’re headquartered here. Don’t drive us to where we have to start expanding outside of Texas and outside of the country."

Texas-based Gearbox Entertainment has voiced its opposition to Texas House Bill 4042, cautioning lawmakers that discriminatory legislation prevents companies like Gearbox from hiring the best and the brightest, and makes it difficult for the company to guarantee a future in the state.

The legislation in question is an anti-trans bill currently being evaluated by the Texas House of Representatives. If passed, HB4042 would bar transgender athletes in public schools from competing in sports matching their gender identity and instead force them to participate in leagues matching the gender they were assigned at birth.

In testimony captured by Kotaku, Gearbox executive David Najjab spoke out against the bill during a committee hearing this week, telling lawmakers that discriminatory laws threaten to push companies like Gearbox out of the state.

"We bring a lot of money into this state. We’re headquartered here," said Nijjab. "Don’t drive us to where we have to start expanding outside of Texas and outside of the country. We want to keep doing business here.”

Gearbox is often vocal when it comes to discriminatory laws and bills in the state of Texas. Earlier this month, Gearbox released a statement in opposition to House Bill 6 and Senate Bill 7 that seek to add additional barriers to the voting process throughout the state.

"These bills would disproportionately harm communities of color and disenfranchise voters," reads a statement from the company. "The right to vote is a fundamental part of our democracy, which is why voting should be made more accessible, not less. Gearbox looks forward to working with our coalition partners and using our platform to push for free and fair elections across Texas.”

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford similarly spoke against an anti-trans bill from 2017 that sought to regulate the public bathroom usage of transgender people by forcing them to use facilities intended for their birth-assigned gender rather than one that reflected their lived experiences.

"Today’s workforce – especially millennials, and especially those working in high-tech industries – overwhelmingly support non-discrimination protections and seek to live in states that reflect the diversity and inclusion they value," reads a 2017 letter from Pitchford to Texas governor Greg Abbot. "We already face stiff competition with employers in places such as California. Discriminatory laws will only increase the challenges that we face in attracting top talent to Texas."

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