EA reportedly told employees it wouldn’t talk about abortion rights
After newly leaked documents signaled the U.S. Supreme Court’s plans to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade, several publishers and game developers have come out in favor of reproductive rights. However, Electronic Arts may not be joining the chorus.
According to a report from Kotaku, EA held a town hall on May 24 to address the issue, telling employees that Electronic Arts is an “inclusive company” and therefore must include all views on the issue of reproduction and transgender. rights. Although many employees reportedly expressed outrage and a deep desire for their employer to openly support the rights of women and the LGBTQ+ community, Mala Singh, EA’s head of human resources, said: “These things are difficult and personal. and we all have our own views. and sometimes we won’t talk, and it will be upsetting and I get that, we really do.
Singh went on to explain that EA only talks about social issues when it “will actually have a positive impact.” This statement has left employees and players frustrated, as many fail to see how speaking up for reproductive and transgender rights wouldn’t have a positive impact.
Many have pointed to the fact that EA publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the 2020 murder of George Floyd, with the popular games publisher even donating $1 million to organizations fighting against the virus. racial injustice. Last March, EA partnered with 64 other companies, from Apple to Gearbox, to sponsor an ad in the Dallas Morning News which condemned anti-trans legislation in Texas, though EA never spoke publicly about the announcement on any platform. Electronic Arts has also tweeted in favor of Ukraine, condemning the Russian invasion and calling for an end to Russian violence against Ukrainian civilians. EA has gone so far as to ban Russian and Belarusian teams from all EA esports competitions, including the Apex Legends Global Series and EA Sports FIFA 22 Global Series.
EA confirmed to Kotaku that it is currently looking at ways to follow Microsoft’s lead and provide out-of-state travel to all employees in need of an abortion who live in a state where it is made illegal.
EA also offers its employees another form of support, which the company calls “healing circles.” These are actually in-house group therapy sessions offered as part of EA’s healthcare plan. Healing circles can cover a number of issues and are meant to help employees deal with difficult experiences — from mass shootings to human rights attacks — in a group of their peers. But it’s unclear what additional steps EA might take to help women and LGBTQ+ people who will be impacted by anti-choice and anti-trans legislation.
According to the public meeting transcript obtained by Kotaku, Singh ended the public meeting with some words of comfort for EA employees and its investors:
“But know that whenever one of these things comes up, we put a lot of attention and thought into it, and consider multiple points of view, and then decide what’s in the best interests of EA and the various gaming communities. stakeholders we have, including our employees, players, fans and stakeholders, [and] our shareholders.
EA isn’t the only gaming company to take ire from employees for its handling of ongoing political issues. In mid-May, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan sent out a company-wide email urging employees to “respect the differences of opinion between everyone in our internal and external communities. “. This was followed by five paragraphs about her cats’ birthday party, in the hopes “to inspire everyone to be mindful of having a balance that can help ease the stress of uncertain world events“.
A week later, Sony-owned Insomniac Games donated $50,000 to the Pro-Choice Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project. That donation was matched by another $50,000 from Sony through its PlayStation Cares program, which matches charitable donations made by Sony employees. But according to the Washington Post, Sony demanded that Insomniac employees remain silent about Sony’s donation to the cause. Despite Ryan’s comments and the company’s request that Insomniac remain silent, Sony has agreed to match all donations to charities, as long as they are made by Sony employees through the PlayStation Cares program.
Several companies have publicly expressed their support for reproductive rights, including Destiny-maker Bungie, developer of Guild Wars ArenaNetDeveloper Psychonauts Double fineand Pont Neufthe developer behind several entries in the Life is Strange series of games.