EA Responds to Hatemail, Stands By The LGBT Characters In Its Games
While Bioware is off not standing by its ending to Mass Effect 3, EA is making it clear that it does stand by the presence of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) characters in its games, most notably Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. This progressive, sticking-to-its-righteous-guns move comes just after EA was awarded the Consumerist’s Worst Company in America award of 2012. For the past few weeks, EA has been receiving thousands of letters complaining about the games’ same-sex options and now, perhaps at a calculated moment, EA’s made a point of telling dissenters exactly where they can shove their complaints.
EA’s VP of corporate communications, Jeff Brown, put it this way to GamesIndustry International:
“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.”
Or in short: What exactly did you expect? Pointing to the ESRB ratings is perhaps the best way Brown could have handled the situation considering that many people don’t seem to understand them and could use to be enlightened. Your personal beliefs aside, Brown makes an excellent and pertinent point; you can only be offended by what you’re exposing yourself to, and if you don’t want a game with same-sex relationship options in it, don’t play a game with same-sex relationship options in it.
The letters have been directed at a slew of high-ranking EA officials and generally threaten to boycott EA products if same-sex characters and options if they aren’t removed, and EA has no plans to budge. EA hasn’t directly come out and said as much, but the vibe they seem to be giving to the offended is along the lines of “by all means do.”
Brown went on to tell GamesIndustry International the following:
“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.”
This is sure to cast EA in a somewhat brighter light in the wake of recent criticisms, at least in the eyes of people who don’t mind a same-sex option. Fortunately for EA, the outcry has been limited to same-sex issues. It doesn’t seem that anyone has a particular problem with interspecies relationship or even interspecies intercourse, so that’s good at least. Of course, people might change their tunes if it were to start happening for real, but it’s good to know that — theoretically — if you wanted to hook up with an alien, the bigots would have your back. That is, so long as that alien is a different gender, of course.