State Government

Donovan resigns, takes senior exec post with Big Tech

by Guy Page

Attorney General T.J. Donovan Friday announced that he is stepping down from the office of Attorney General effective Monday in order to accept the position of Director of Public Policy and U.S. State Strategies for the company Roblox. Donovan will be based in Vermont.

According to media sources, Donovan’s new employer is both financially and ethically troubled.

Like many big tech companies, Roblox has seen its stock fall sharply in recent months, according to the June 5 issue of The Street: “Founded by David Baszucki and the late Erik Casse, Roblox finished down nearly 11% to $30 on June 3, a far, far cry from its all-time closing price high of $134.72, which it reached on Nov. 19. The stock has lost 71% of its value since January, and about $40 billion in market cap evaporated during this time. The company released Roblox, an online game platform and game creation system, that allows users to program games and play games created by other users.”

Attorney General Donovan issued the following statement regarding his decision:

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Vermont for nearly the last 16 years as an elected official. The Attorney General’s Office has a strong team in place to carry out its duties to protect Vermonters until the next Attorney General is sworn in. While this is a difficult decision, I’m excited that this new role will allow me to continue to advance consumer protections. I will also continue to advocate for kids, teens, and their families while learning about and building safeguards into emerging trends and technologies.”

Chief Deputy Attorney General Joshua Diamond will assume and discharge the duties of Attorney General unless and until the vacancy is filled by Governor Scott. The likely next Attorney General will be nominated in about 60 days during the Vermont primary election on August 9. 

In a June 10 column entitled “My Weaselometer is About To Explode,” VPO columnist John Walters questioned the promise to “advance consumer protections.” He says Roblox, once a kid-friendly gaming platform, has gone over to the dark side of child labor exploitation: “What Roblox has done in response is to effectively create digital sweatshops where kids do the designing and the company skims off the profit. In the early years it presented itself as a place for kids to learn. Eventually, though, Roblox adopted the slogan “Make Anything. Reach Millions. Earn Serious Cash.”

Categories: State Government

3 replies »

  1. TJ Grew up across the street from me [Bayview St in Burlington]. So i knew him well and his parents too. He always seemed a very decent kid with sound instincts and ethics. I wish him well.
    — D. Morrisseau…