EA Staff Attempt Walkout Over Pride Statement
It's hard to believe it's already June, but just like every year, there's a rainbow-coloured tint over that corporate greed. June is known as Pride Month, and it's a time when high street stores dress their windows with a bright array of LGBTQ+-friendly paraphernalia and companies change their Twitter banners for the next 30 days.
The gaming industry is no different, as you only have to look at the colourful cover photo of Xbox to see it's one of the many embracing Pride Month. Just weeks after EA was called out for saying it wouldn't make a statement on a woman's right to choose in the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade, the publisher is once again being called out for its neutrality.
Is EA Celebrating Pride Month?
An internet EA Slack group chat has been shared by GamesIndustry.biz, with EA staff calling out its employer for a lack of support for Pride Month. Lamenting EA's stance, the message read: "If we see the company rainbow-wash their logo without making any substantive statement in support of trans people being abused nationwide in the US and elsewhere, especially after stating that the company doesn't want to make any statement not supported by the diverse viewpoints of our 13,000 employees, we collectively walk out on Friday, June 3rd."
The site claims that EA's social teams were given "haphazard" guidelines that were thrown together to stop a potential walkout. EA's guidelines state that all posts "may not be political in nature" and will have to be submitted to EA's corporation communications team before posting. That being said, the guidelines strongly recommended retweeting social media posts and sharing activities relating to the LGBTQ+ community and trans rights. That is "providing it is authentic to your community and the brand."
EA has since updated a blog post on its ongoing endeavours for inclusivity. This includes the Positive Play Charter against gender and orientation-based harassment, the Texas Competes Pledge that supports trans athletes, and a mention of last year's "It Gets Better" employee video. Is this enough though? As the Slack message said, "Just slapping a rainbow on our logo in June without any broader action will be unacceptable."
Will EA Staff Walkout?
Seemingly in defiance of EA, Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment has made its own feelings clear. Posting on Twitter, the developer said, "At Respawn, we strive to be inclusive in the games we create and how we treat our employees and our players. Inaction is a choice and hurts those we care for." Apex Legends is known for a vast number of LGBTQ+ Legends, and alongside its sentiment, Respawn shared an image of these characters. Finally, Respawn said "Trans rights are human rights" in capital letters.
While EA continues to dodge the issue, the latest update confirms the proposed staff walkout won't go ahead on June 3. Employees have apparently called off the strike as management has reiterated it will not be using Pride-themed logos on any EA platforms in June. Despite EA's silence, The Sims' VP of Franchise Creative Lyndsay Pearson and Respawn head Vince Zampella have shared their personal support of the LGBTQ+ community on social media. With 29 days left, it remains to be seen whether EA will be waving its own Pride flag or keeping things black and white.