Leading game maker Electronic Arts (EA) is refusing to remove LGBT content after being targeted by anti-gay groups.
EA says it has received thousands of letters and emails and forum comments as part of a co-originated campaign. It includes gay characters in its games, most notably Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic,
“Every one of EA’s games includes [Entertainment Software Rating Board] 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 Games Industry International.
The campaign claims that EA was forced to include gay characters by LGBT groups and that they are forced on children — neither of which is true.
“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 said.
A spokesperson for GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) said, “trying to rally Americans around messages rooted in hate is a losing proposition.”
Most of the letters seem to have been generated by the Florida Family Association, which is a one-man “group,” which seems to exist to run boycotts and raise money for itself. It also targeted advertisers on the now-cancelled reality TV show All-American Muslim.
Another group which has been involved in the EA attack is the Family Research Council, which is on Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups.
EA was the first gaming company to join the anti-bullying ‘It Gets Better Project.’ As with Starbucks, a petition is being organized to thank EA for its support for inclusive gaming.
Photo credit: Mass Effect 3 screengrab