Sony Interactive Entertainment announced a new policy to allow donations for reproductive rights with their upcoming game, Spider-Man. The company has been the subject of controversy and criticism after it was revealed that Marvel threatened Insomniac if there were not changes made in two weeks or they would violate copyrights on Spidey’s suit.
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Sony subsidiary Insomniac has secured a new policy that will allow donations for reproductive rights. This is a big step forward in the company’s history, and it is likely to have an impact on other corporations as well.
We covered a Washington Post piece last week in which the gaming industry was chastised for its near-total quiet on the anticipated repeal of Roe v. Wade. Apart from Bungie and ArenaNet (as well as Activision-Blizzard and Microsoft, which only issued statements in response to the paper), the major companies WAPO spoke to avoided taking a public stance on reproductive health rights and bodily autonomy for women and other birthing people, which is surprising given the industry’s public support for other political causes and the importance of health care in corporate America.
On the same day that article came out calling out those silent companies, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO and PlayStation boss Jim Ryan sent out an internal email insisting that his employees, including those whose bodily autonomy is being debated, “owe it to each other and to PlayStation’s millions of users to respect differences of opinion” on said bodily autonomy, and then he spent multiple paragraphs discussing his pets, which, depending on the charitability of the charitability of the charitability of the charitability of The staff, let alone the gamers, were not amused.
Indeed, some of those employees were so irritated that at least one of Sony’s companies has gone on strike. According to a recent WAPO report, Insomniac Games opted to go against the grain, writing a 60-page letter to Sony and offering a $50,000 gift to the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, which Sony will be required to match via an internal program.
According to WAPO, Insomniac has been forbidden from making statements “on the topic of reproductive rights” (“We fought hard for this and we did not win,” Insomniac CEO Ted Price told employees); employees have also been “forbidden from explicitly mentioning Insomniac or Sony should they decide to retweet any announcements” made by the donation recipient, implying that other subsidiaries have been similarly muzzled.
The greatest result that Insomniac seems to have gotten is medical travel aid for employees, which is a little late but good nevertheless.
“In addition, Sony is working on a strategy to give financial help to workers who may need to travel to various states for reproductive care.” Insomniac will assist in the development of such policy.”
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