The donations from Insomniac and Sony will go to an unusual cause in the world of video games, a women’s reproductive rights organisation, to compensate Jim Ryan for his opinion on the current Supreme Court review of Roe v. Wade.
The recent leaked Supreme Court opinion, which apparently portends an imminent overturn of Roe v. Wade, has also reached Sony, with repercussions felt across the US, including the video game industry. Several studios, such as Bungie and Double Fine, have already taken a stand for women’s reproductive rights, donating to several organisations and calling on the games industry to join these efforts. Other companies, such as Sony, initially kept a low profile, but an email from PlayStation president Jim Ryan caused an unpleasant backlash within the company, with some saying he was being dismissive, and the company is now donating to women’s reproductive rights alongside Insomniac.
Sony’s donation comes after repercussions within PlayStation, which reportedly developed within the company after Ryan sent a company-wide email in early May addressing the Supreme Court leaks and the Roe v. Wade case.
In it, Ryan avoided taking a strong stance on the issue, instead of asking employees to “respect differences of opinion” on abortion, before Ryan concluded the email by talking about the recent birthdays of his two cats.
The email was reportedly greeted with disdain within PlayStation Studios, particularly among female employees who felt Ryan had tried to avoid the subject in question and trivialised it further by talking about pets.
According to a report in The Washington Post, internal emails sent by Insomniac CEO Ted Price to employees on May 13 were obtained, stating that the studio would donate $50,000 to the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project. Price’s email also includes a statement that their parent company, Sony, will match the donation to WRRAP, as well as contributions made by individual employees to the group through Sony’s PlayStation Cares charity program. The email concludes with Sony confirming that it is working with Insomniac to establish a financial assistance program to support employees who need to travel outside their home state for reproductive treatments.
The tone of Ryan’s email is a far cry from the tough stance taken by Bungie, which has boasted that it is one of the most socially responsible studios in the industry today, as seen by its strong support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Bungie was rather blunt in a blog post on May 4, calling the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade “a blow to freedom in America and a direct attack on human rights.” The studio also provided links to several women’s reproductive rights groups and encouraged anyone willing to donate and show support for these groups.
Regardless of what led to the donations and the new company initiatives, it would not be surprising if many gamers are just happy to see one of the most significant powers in the gaming industry taking a stand on this issue. This could even pave the way for several other big companies, such as Electronic Arts and Microsoft, to take a more prominent role in rights groups like Bungie and Sony, but only time will tell.
Source: The Washington Post