EA tells staff a statement decrying the abortion ban wouldn’t be ‘inclusive’

Video game publisher and developer Electronic Arts has reportedly informed its employees that it does not plan to issue a statement condemning a potential Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. This would see the company follow the steps of Sony Interactive Entertainment and Reality Labs parent company Meta in making public statements to employees confirming that their employers do not speak out in favor of reproductive rights.

Companies like Bungie, ArenaNet, Certain Affinity and others have taken the opposite position, making statements against abortion restrictions.

Like Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan, Mala Singh, EA’s chief human resources officer, apparently gave employees some bizarre reasoning for the decision, and also made comments that could be seen as tone-deaf. According to KotakuSingh reportedly told employees that ‘being an inclusive company means being inclusive from all of those perspectives’, and that the company only speaks out when it expects it ‘to have a positive impact’ and that it has a “consistent outlook” among its 13,000 global employees.

Singh apparently acknowledged that recent headlines in the United States reflected “tough issues” and that the company knew employees had been affected by those issues. His promise to help included something called “healing circles.” “One of the other things you’re going to see is we’re going to create more healing circles through modern health,” she said.

No further description of what “healing circles” were was provided. Singh called on EA staff to “join and process” global events together.

An EA spokesperson confirmed to Game Developer that Singh made the comments in EA’s Global Town Hall, but did not comment on them directly, saying it was “a corporate forum confidential”.

Said spokesperson issued a statement saying that EA is working to expand travel assistance for employees living in areas where abortion access may soon be restricted. “As a company, we are always focused on the health and well-being of our employees. We want our employees to be able to make the health decisions that are best for them, regardless of where they live. “, said the company.

“It is for this reason that we are working with our U.S. healthcare provider to determine how we can expand our benefits to include travel assistance for all covered services with limited access in an employee’s region, including reproductive services, gender affirming care and others.This through our health care providers facilitates confidentiality around these very personal needs.We will soon have an update of the benefits to share with you, and know that we are monitoring any new developments that may impact our employees.

A new form of inclusiveness

EA’s reluctance to comment on the potential loss of access to reproductive rights for millions of people in the United States is strange. EA has been one of the most vocal publishers in the video game industry, having commented in support of the Black Lives Matter protests, and condemned efforts to restrict the rights of transgender people in places like Texas.

EA affiliates like Respawn Entertainment have even gone so far as to create an in-game style to allow players to express their support for Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ rights, and Stop AAPI Hate.

The society also spoke out early on against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Its stated logic appears to be a desire not to speak out in favor of abortion rights, since some of its employees might not support such a statement, as they might personally oppose abortion for themselves- themselves (perhaps for religious reasons).

But it’s unclear why employees’ conflicting views on abortion are considered here, when they weren’t considered in regards to their statements on Black Lives Matter or policies restricting women’s rights. Transgender Americans. There are most likely EA employees somewhere in its ranks who have not personally supported these causes.

As Lily Bolourian, executive director of Pro Choice Maryland, explained to the game developer, not only is abortion widely popular among Americans (over 61% of American adults support access to abortion, and even those who oppose it are in favor of access to abortion in some cases), but those who regularly need abortions or offer them to patients are probably part of EA’s player base . By deferring to opponents of abortion, EA risks ignoring them.

It’s pretty grim to see an EA executive describe this inaction through the prism of inclusivity. The decision to have an abortion is a difficult choice that Americans make regularly, and it is a very personal decision. Being inclusive of opposition to abortion means being inclusive of the belief that one’s private medical decisions can be dictated by others, often on a religious basis.

The decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and allowing abortion bans or severe restrictions to take effect in at least 28 states will have a disproportionate impact on women, transgender men and others who need abortions. States like Texas have already shown that the denial of access to reproductive health has disproportionate impacts on poor communities of color.

EA may be considering supporting employees who need out-of-state healthcare (it has offices in states like Texas, where abortion is effectively banned), but there are still risks that employees will face when trying to seek such care. Some legislators are already promising to punish residents who seek care prohibited in their stateit is not yet clear whether they will target businesses or health insurance companies that facilitate such travel.

And most frighteningly, there may well be instances where travel could put an employee’s health at risk and out-of-state care may not be possible. If these bans are legitimized, there is no doubt that EA employees (and other game developers) will be at risk.

About Cedric Lloyd

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