EA Stands Against Anti-Gay Protests Over ME3 and SWTOR
Between the announcement of the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut and EA being named Worst Company in America, it was a little tough to keep up with all the news swirling around Electronic Arts last week—but, in case you missed it, EA took a stand against some hate mail last week that had nothing to do with the ending of Mass Effect 3.
According to a post on GamesIndustry, EA received “several thousand” letters and e-mails taking the company to task for including same-sex content in its games, particularly Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. A few years ago, there was a similar furor over the ability to engage in same sex relationships in the original Mass Effect, and now, as then, EA has no intention to budge on the content their games’ content.
“Every one of EA’s games includes ESRB content descriptors so it’s hard to believe anyone is surprised by the content,” said EA’s VP of corporate communications, Jeff Brown. “This isn’t about protecting children, it’s about political harassment.”
The letters, apparently, threaten to boycott EA’s games if they don’t remove the “offending” content, and further allege that the company was pressured by LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) groups to include this content in the games. Moreover, the letters complain that EA is deleting forum posts against the content—but EA says they’re only doing so when the comments violate rules against hate speech.
Said Brown on the allegations:
“EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT characters in our games. However, we have met with LBGT groups and sponsored industry forums to discuss content and harassment of players in online forums. In short, we do put options for same-sex relationships in our games; we don’t tolerate hate speech on our forums.”
Michael Cole-Schwartz, the director of communications at the Human Rights Campaign, also offered his view to GamesIndustry on the content and EA’s reaction to the letters and e-mails:
“As in all media, there remains work to do in order for more people to feel represented and included. This is true for video games and for LGBT people. EA’s step in this instance is indicative of a continuing cultural shift toward greater inclusion.”
What do you think about EA’s position here? Plenty of people have been critical of EA’s inflexibility to those upset with the content included in the company’s games lately—does that criticism apply in this instance too?