Gaming Goes Soft on Abortion Rights
A series of articles Thursday showed a pained relationship between gaming companies and their employees' views.
Since Texas enacted its Heartbeat Act (SB 8) in May 2021, many U.S. companies have made promises to their employees that the they would cover costs for local employees seeking abortions out of state. That includes Apple, Bumble, Lyft and Match Group, all of whom have major presences in Texas, and several others who have spoken out in solidarity.
Silent, though, is most of the gaming industry. That was until Thursday, when two major events changed the conversation.
First, The Washington Post reported that it had contacted 20 major games publishers following the Politico story and received responses from just two—Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, with only the former affirming the same financial assistance guaranteed by other companies. The latter issued a bland statement that included no specifics.
“We are committed to an inclusive environment that is supportive of all of our employees,” Activision Blizzard spokesperson Rich George told the Post. “As a company, providing fair and equitable health care is a top priority, and we will closely monitor developments in the coming weeks and months.”
Then, later in the day, Bloomberg published excerpts of a leaked email from PlayStation president Jim Ryan to the company’s staff.
“We owe it to each other and to PlayStation’s millions of users to respect differences of opinion among everyone in our internal and external communities,” Ryan wrote, according to Bloomberg. “Respect does not equal agreement. But it is fundamental to who we are as a company and as a valued global brand.”
Ryan then shared “something lighthearted” and discussed his two cats’ birthdays, their cake and his desire to adopt a dog. Sony employees, furious, promptly spoke to Bloomberg on background and leaked the contents of the email. When that went public, the gaming community responded with fervor.
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