Electronic Arts defends itself against thousands of anti-gay letters

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    Apr 05, 2012 10:07 AM GMT
    From Gamesindustry.biz:

    EA is standing up for same sex relationships in games despite outrage from some.

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    EA has been inundated in recent weeks with what GamesIndustry International understands to be "several thousand" letters and emails protesting the inclusion of same sex or LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) content in its video games, most notably Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. When asked, EA confirmed that this has indeed been occurring, and unsurprisingly, EA has no plans to censor any of its games.

    "Every one of EA's games includes ESRB content descriptors so it's hard to believe anyone is surprised by the content. This isn't about protecting children, it's about political harassment," Jeff Brown, VP of corporate communications told us.

    The letters have been directed to EA's executive team, creative heads, its board of directors and just about anyone at a high level. Many of them threaten to boycott EA's titles if the publisher refuses to remove same-sex relationship content.

    The letters also infer that EA was pressured by LGBT groups to include homosexual content in its games, and that this content is somehow forced upon children, exposing them to LGBT themes. Of course, those of you reading this already know how ludicrous this is. The games are not for children, nor do they force LGBT content on a player - it's merely an option for gamers who wish to replicate their real-life sexual orientation.

    Some of the letters also complain that EA is deliberately deleting posts against LGBT issues on its official forum, which is true when the comments happen to violate discussion rules on hate speech.

    "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," Brown added.

    As it turns out, many of the letters have been coming from Florida, and while Focus on the Family (led by James Dobson) is based in Florida, this does not appear to be their handiwork. Instead, it's rather apparent based on this call to action for Star Wars that the Florida Family Association is directing a campaign against EA because of the same-sex relationship content.

    The Family Research Council, led by Tony Perkins, is also involved. "In a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists!" said Perkins.

    We asked Matt Kane, Associate Director of Entertainment Media at GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) about campaigns such as the one Florida Family Association and Family Research Council have been spearheading.

    "Anti-LGBT campaigns are falling into a pretty consistent pattern these days, in which messages of hate directed at our allies are met with an overwhelming outpouring of support for our allies in response," Kane noted. "Following Starbucks' announcing public support for marriage equality, 25,000 people signed a "Dump Starbucks" campaign, which in turn inspired more than 600,000 people to sign on to a "Thank Starbucks" campaign.

    He continued, "The group 'One Million Moms' tried to have Ellen Degeneres fired from her role as a spokesperson for JC Penny, but the public expressions of support JC Penny received following the Stand Up for Ellen campaign were so numerous that 'One Million Moms' announced they would be 'moving on to other things.' Trying to rally Americans around messages rooted in hate is a losing proposition."

    Michael Cole-Schwartz, Director of Communications at Human Rights Campaign (HRC), added that "those of us who work toward LGBT equality are pleased with the fair-minded stance EA's taken. EA should be commended for their inclusive approach that reflects the diversity of our communities."

    HRC is currently organizing a petition "so that EA hears from the majority of fair-minded Americans who welcome their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family and friends." The petition is not live yet, but the goal is to get people to show their support to EA for inclusive games.

    "It's important that companies know these protests represent a fringe interest," Cole-Schwartz added.

    Speaking to the larger issue at hand for the industry and LGBT content in video games, Kane remarked, "A lot of game makers are realizing that in order to create a believable universe it has to be a universe that is very diverse, and in some ways it sort of reflects the make-up of the culture we live in as well. I think it's very logical that you'll start to see more LGBT characters appearing in games."

    "This is also not only a reflection of the culture, but also in part of their consumer base - at least a segment of their consumer base. Certainly Star Wars is a good example. EA listened to the people who were intending to purchase the game and saw that there was a real desire to see same-sex relationships included within the romantic options."

    Cole-Schwartz believes that EA's progressive stance is a sign of the times and other publishers should take notice.

    "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," he said.
  • a303guy

    Posts: 829

    Apr 05, 2012 11:19 AM GMT
    In the voice of Darth Vader: "Most Impressive"

    I'm not a gamer myself, but EA's firm stance on this is pretty astute. Me likey.
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    Apr 05, 2012 12:16 PM GMT
    Thanks for posting this mate!

    interesting read!
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    Apr 05, 2012 12:21 PM GMT
    proud to be a nerd hardcore!
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    Apr 05, 2012 12:36 PM GMT
    a303guy saidIn the voice of Darth Vader: "Most Impressive"

    I'm not a gamer myself, but EA's firm stance on this is pretty astute. Me likey.

    Damn, I just read the OP and was gonna post the same thing. LOL!

    I'm not an action gamer, either, so don't know the quality and popularity of their games. But maybe EA is a company GLBT will wanna check out, if they haven't already.

    I'm wondering how the GLBT game characters are portrayed, and if they're original or based on the film cast. I wouldn't mind being Princess Leia, if they would let me accessorize properly - she's really got some problems there. Now the later films (of course earlier in the saga time line) had some really FABULOUS women, one of those ladies "off the rack" would be perfect for me.

    QueenAmidala1.jpg

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    Apr 05, 2012 12:44 PM GMT
    some companies take a socially responsible moral high ground... some do not...

    it is our responsibility to write to them to thank them for their foresight and committment to our fundamental human rights...

    thanks EA!
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Apr 05, 2012 12:55 PM GMT
    I've always loved EA and their games, since the eighties when they were writing programs for Commodore Amiga, lol.
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    Apr 05, 2012 3:02 PM GMT
    I first became aware of EA in 1987 when Trip Hawkins was running it. What a terrific company it was and is. I did some consulting work there and my experience was very positive.
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    Apr 05, 2012 3:15 PM GMT
    EA is based in the Bay Area. I think almost all of the companies there support gay rights... or they'll be in big trouble.
  • Imarks

    Posts: 19

    Apr 05, 2012 3:17 PM GMT
    I wish Origin and their customer support weren't so terrible. I used to just be opposed to EA for some of the shit they have pulled but now I'm conflicted. But I am glad they are holding ground.

    Families who don't want their kids exposed to "homosexual content" should NOT BUY THE GAME FOR THEIR KIDS. But at least their kids might become less hateful if they are exposed.
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    Apr 05, 2012 3:19 PM GMT
    Wow nice. And funnily enough. EA recently has been voted as one of the worst companies in America.
  • Relyks132

    Posts: 80

    Apr 05, 2012 3:32 PM GMT
    OH NOES you can make a gay couple in the sims!!!
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    Apr 05, 2012 3:36 PM GMT
    wow
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    Apr 05, 2012 3:54 PM GMT
    "The overwhelming number of players on Star Wars games is children who do not need to be forced as a captured audience to participate in homosexual content."

    No one forced your kid's male Shepard to romance Alenko in ME3, just as no one forced your kid's female Hawke to romance Isabella in DA2. You let your kids play a Star Wars game where you can blast other players with laser guns and stab each other with light sabers, and you're worried that the option of your kid's character to start a romantic relationship with someone of the character's same sex isn't suitable for a children's audience? icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Apr 05, 2012 5:22 PM GMT
    Imarks saidFamilies who don't want their kids exposed to "homosexual content" should NOT BUY THE GAME FOR THEIR KIDS. But at least their kids might become less hateful if they are exposed.


    I love the logic of these right-wing homophobes:

    It's okay for my kids to play kill-em-up violent death porn video games...as long as the characters aren't gay. icon_confused.gif
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    Apr 05, 2012 6:38 PM GMT
    As both a gamer and game developer i must say that gamers are some of the most intolerant section of society you will meet. As social outcasts the lessons they learn from being bullied and marginalized, is the best way to build yourself up is to take it out on someone who is even more ostracized than you.
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Apr 05, 2012 8:55 PM GMT
    yourname2000 said330x220

    Nothing like a printed out form letter to say "this issue is personally important to me". icon_rolleyes.gif

    And what the hell does killing Sadam Hussein have to do with anything??

    I think it says "Remember Sodom." The letter writer seems to present their viewpoint calmly without provocative words although using anemic logic. This phrase was likely added by another person once the letter was published online.
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    Apr 05, 2012 9:08 PM GMT
    yourname2000 said330x220

    Nothing like a printed out form letter to say "this issue is personally important to me". icon_rolleyes.gif

    And what the hell does killing Sadam Hussein have to do with anything??


    I think it is Sodom, as is Sodom and Gomorrah, the two cities sentenced to damnation in the bible.

    Also, Im surprised no one mentioned this but doesnt the form letter use improper English? The third sentence reads "The overwhelming number of players on Star Wars games is children..." and it should read "The overwhelming number of players on Star Wars games are children" unless my English is terrible but something about that sentence doesnt ring well with me.

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    Apr 05, 2012 9:09 PM GMT
    yourname2000 said330x220

    Nothing like a printed out form letter to say "this issue is personally important to me". icon_rolleyes.gif

    And what the hell does killing Sadam Hussein have to do with anything??


    Remember "Sodom" as in one of the cities God burned to the ground for, supposedly, the sin of homosexuality. Though, upon brief inspection of the actual passage, this clearly isn't the case.
  • FredMG

    Posts: 988

    Apr 05, 2012 9:18 PM GMT
    Chainers said
    yourname2000 said330x220

    Nothing like a printed out form letter to say "this issue is personally important to me". icon_rolleyes.gif

    And what the hell does killing Sadam Hussein have to do with anything??


    I think it is Sodom, as is Sodom and Gomorrah, the two cities sentenced to damnation in the bible.

    Also, Im surprised no one mentioned this but doesnt the form letter use improper English? The third sentence reads "The overwhelming number of players on Star Wars games is children..." and it should read "The overwhelming number of players on Star Wars games are children" unless my English is terrible but something about that sentence doesnt ring well with me.


    +1 on grammar wars.

    Actually I liked the statement "the biggest threat to the empire are gay activists". In the star wars universe the "empire" is the 'big bad". So, my questions to the person using that argument would be something like:
    - "Are you saying that opposing evil is some how bad?"
    - "Are you saying that imaginary characters fighting against an imaginary empire is going cause society to collapse"
    - "Do you realize that to anyone who knows anything about star wars, you sound incredibly stupid?"

    [edit]
    - and "Do you realized that parent is also a verb, and you should be reviewing and approving content that your child uses? Why don't you do your job as a parent?"
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    Apr 05, 2012 9:22 PM GMT
    ^^hehe glad I was the one who pointed it out.

    I mean, if you are going to use a form letter, make sure it says "Im educated enough to know what I am talking about."

    EA Games only response should have been "Please take whoever wrote this back to the second grade, and resubmit when he passes it."
  • jooloop

    Posts: 2

    Apr 05, 2012 9:45 PM GMT
    Chainers said
    yourname2000 said330x220

    Nothing like a printed out form letter to say "this issue is personally important to me". icon_rolleyes.gif

    And what the hell does killing Sadam Hussein have to do with anything??


    I think it is Sodom, as is Sodom and Gomorrah, the two cities sentenced to damnation in the bible.

    Also, Im surprised no one mentioned this but doesnt the form letter use improper English? The third sentence reads "The overwhelming number of players on Star Wars games is children..." and it should read "The overwhelming number of players on Star Wars games are children" unless my English is terrible but something about that sentence doesnt ring well with me.



    In the sentence quoted, the noun is "number" and is singular, thus the verb is conjugated as "is". "Of players" and "on Star Wars" are prepositional phrases that modify the noun, but don't affect the conjugation. However, it's a rule that is very often overlooked or misinterpreted, which is why the sentence may sound funny.
    /not that it really matters.
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    Apr 05, 2012 9:46 PM GMT
    Do republicans know that porn and video names are really popular?
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    Apr 05, 2012 9:51 PM GMT
    credo said
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    Hahahaha... "captured audience"... yeah, only hillbillies with defective English will sway the world.

    Damn, if these peeps don't like it they can boycott. They are such a dwindling force that EA will hardly notice. It's not like most parents *really* know what's in these games anyway. For EA, it's probably good business sense. They will likely get more sales from the good PR than they lose from people like these.
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    Apr 05, 2012 11:08 PM GMT
    The bible is fallible and fiction, get over it. It is too anthropomorphic to be anything god-like.