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EA Receives "Thousands" Of Homophobic Letters

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Indeed, sure as night follows day, concerned citizens (it sound so much nicer than "homophobes") have taken to the internet to voice their collective displeasure at EA. Letters have been written complaining about the inclusion of LGBT content in their games, outcry that their contributions to "discussion" about homosexuality have been deleted, and as always, sending a skyward prayer for "the children." Partly responsible was the Family Research Council: Tony Perkins, leader of the organization, had previously stated that "In a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists," apparently unaware that when it comes to the Star Wars universe, the Empire represents the forces of evil. But I digress.

Things get back on track after the jump!

In response, EA's VP of corporate communications Jeff Brown told gamesindustry.biz that the company will not cave to anti-gay pressure by censoring future titles, and went on to defend EA's forum policy.

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 [...] 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.

I'll resist the urge to go on a diatribe, since readers of the site are intimately familiar with homophobia (just a shot in the dark), and the irrational, hateful muck from comes forth. More insightful people have tackled the the issue with greater eloquence (link NSFW, on account of "the real f-bomb"), and especially for those who, like me, have a hair-trigger temper, such diatribes usually end up being the written equivalent of dousing the local church in kerosene and setting it alight. Despite being as godless as one can be without actually sprouting horns, it's worth mentioning that there are sane, sensible Christians (including LGBT folk) who, all things considered, are probably more annoyed at this phenomenon than my atheist *ss could ever be.

Thus, crawling out of the moist womb of nihilism for the briefest of moments, I was about to suggest writing a letter of one's own. Unfortunately EA has no contact email for such things - at all. Still, as a general rule (and for companies that occasionally enjoy customer feedback in a non-forum capacity), I'd like to think that writing a positive letter can, in some incremental way, help to contribute. Rather than drawing the homophobes into yet another shouting match - thus feeding the sense of persecution on which they so thoroughly get off - such action sends the message that the forces of hate are not the only ones with a point of view. This is especially true for our straight readers, whose support carries with it added poignancy. LGBT issues are not simply a matter of self-interest, and if we are to break down the false image of the "straight male gamer," it's going to take some members of the straight community to raise their voices and say, "You do not represent me."

20 Comments

Bia said:

I'm overall quite fond of the SWTOR community so far. General chat channels are usually free of the crap you see constantly in Warcraft.

I'm very pleased with EA. They've done well to smack down the homophobia on the forums and in those rare moments you do come across someone being an ass the in game support is quick to respond.

The latter is true for Warcraft as well, but it still remains rampant in that game. Though one of my favorite moments in Warcraft ever was watching a hateful troll get launched into the air and slammed to the ground in Dalaran.

Tasty Justice.

Riley said:

they have twitter accounts you can tweet to at least

Shawn said:

Thank you so much for this. I'm a straight reader who comes here because the quality of writing is superior to most other sites. Thank you for not adding fuel to the us-vs-them crap that usually results from news like this EA thing.

Karrde said:

As much as I hate to praise EA, credit where credit is due. Glad they didn't fold like other groups might have.

Nexus said:

Sooo... are these complaints in response to anything or just random homophobe BS?

Cody said:

Long time straight reader here.

The fact that anyone would feel this way that having gay/lesbian content in a video game could really impact people in such a way is really nothing more than a beautiful way of showing their lack of decision making and willpower.

The whole event of people feeling that this content must be removed disgusts me to a level I had not thought possible.

Shin Gallon said:

@Riley Unless you're like me and refuse to get a Twitter account for any reason.

As for the nimrods at the FRC, aren't they officially branded as a hate group? Or is that another anti-gay, err, sorry, "pro family" (because gay people don't have families, we just spring out of the ground like Uru-Kai) group I'm thinking of?

Limeade said:

@Nexus From the articles and newsbits I've read on this, these complaints and 'anti-gay' little movements are primarily aimed at SW:TOR's desire to include same-sex romance arcs (in the future) and BioWare's same-sex bi and gay characters/relationships.

Shin Gallon said:

@ Cody The problem is, for a lot of (stupid) people, even having to see that something exists is tantamount to having it forced on you. Witness the bitchfests whenever gay marriage comes up (gay marriage being legal means I'll be FORCED TO GAY MARRY!).
Basically they want gay people/issues to stay tucked nicely in the closet, or under a comfy rug, so that their narrow worldview doesn't have to be re-evaluated. Exposure = Indoctrination as far as they're concerned.

Richard said:

A few days ago, this http://i.imgur.com/UmLsc.jpg was posted after EA was given the 'Worst business in America' rating by The Consumerist. It was posted by someone claiming to be an 'anonymous journalist'.

Take it with a grain of salt, but it is another viewpoint to add to the mix.

BR said:

EA has been under a lot of fire lately for being, well, awful and ruining everything. The ME3 ending has brought a lot of controversy and negative publicity. Call me cynical, but I feel a move like this is an attempt to paint themselves in a better light.

Keep in mind, in this case it's Bioware, the developer, not EA the publisher that really dictates the content of these games. And while I'm glad that EA would allow gay content, and stand with their developers who've chosen to include it, I really don't feel the credit is theirs to take.

This whole thing reeks of manufactured controversy to me, as a PR ploy to make EA look good. Not to say they haven't received some complains (because the world at large and the gaming community specifically, is full of dicks) nor to say that a show of support from such a big name in the industry isn't welcomed. But I think press releases like this should be put in proper context before we start lauding corporations like this as allies.

Anon said:

@ Richard

They were paying shill posters on 4chan, that much has been verified. This and the Mass Effect 3 Ending DLC being announced do seem like EA PR in overdrive.

http://imgur.com/nLaJ5

Lucas said:

"Tony Perkins, leader of the organization, had previously stated that "In a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists," apparently unaware that when it comes to the Star Wars universe, the Empire represents the forces of evil. But I digress."

This is too perfect!

Ben Spurr said:

Here's the problem; EA never received any of these so called "homophobic emails." It's a selfish tactic they that already attempted four weeks ago after Mass Effect 3 was released and was faced with a lot of fan criticism. They claimed people only had a problem with the game because of the inclusion of homosexual relationship options, which was a flat out lie. EA is desperately trying to play the victim for their terrible company practices, and what better way to do that than to claim everyone who doesn't like them is homophobic?

EA hasn't received letters, let alone "thousands" of them, where people are claiming they're going to boycott the company and their products simply because of an option in a video game to play as a homosexual character. Not only are gamers one of the most homosexual friendly communities in the entertainment industry, but there are literally DOZENS of great, highly rated video games which include the option to be homosexual or star/co-star homosexual characters. A great example is the Ballad of Gay Tony for Grand Theft Auto IV, which was praised for having all of the fun that the Grand Theft Auto III series had (as GTAIV was a more serious title and removed a lot of the silly humour and gameplay features that previous games had).

The problem isn't EA and Bioware including homosexual options in their games. The problem is EA and Bioware are not releasing the products they promised, or are releasing products that are far below industry standards, so they were voted the worst company in America. They are now trying to do some hilariously immature damage control, claiming people only dislike them because they are homophobic, which is a blatant lie. They tried it four weeks ago when Mass Effect 3 released, and now they're doing it again after being voted the worst company in America. The worst part about this is how many websites are ignorantly reporting on this without doing any research into the issue, regurgitating ANYTHING EA tells them to say. Forbes is probably the only journalist site to report the situation accurately. I would have to recommend that a second article about this issue is written on your website that accurately reports what is going on, instead of posting this harmful BS that does nothing but slander video gamers for being responsible consumers.

Ambrose said:

AllOut has a petition going on this one , please show your support by signing it at...

http://www.allout.org/theforce

Thanks :-)

Lucas said:

@ Ben Spurr
I don't see slander against video gamers anywhere in this article...how exactly does it slander video gamers as irresponsible consumers?
You may be right in that perhaps EA is actually trying to drum up some good publicity considering the "Worst Company" win, but I don't doubt for a second that they HAVE actually received a shit-ton of homophobic hatemail. I'm somewhat familiar with the reputation Tony Perkins and the FRC have, and organizing a letter writing campaign is exactly the kind of thing they do, let alone the random bigots who weigh in. So, kudos to EA for standing up to them.
I'm not going to say that EA deserves to be excused for the practices which led to winning the Golden Poo award. Maybe it will be a good thing if the company does a little self-evaluation and changes it's practices. But considering that it beat out Bank of America for Worst Company...it says something about the ridiculousness of that Award.

Ben Spurr said:

@ Lucas
It's just silly that we've had so many games prior to this one, including ones by Bioware themselves such as Jade Empire Dragon Age Origins, which included optional homosexual relationships or homosexual characters and they've never received any sort of bad publicity or negative feedback for them before.

But regardless of all that, we've just today received proof that EA is using bots for their agenda; http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/s2anx/make_sure_everyone_sees_this_image_and/

Gary said:

EA is pathetic
They're using the whole LGBT defense petition and blaming homophobes thing as a smokescreen to hide their evil business practices.
They don't care at all about the gay community, all they do is for their own interest

If anything, their petition is offensive

Anon said:

http://alloutorg.tumblr.com/post/20842094391/allout-org-thanks-electronic-arts-ea-for-standing-up

@ Lucas

But there is no homosexuality in Star Wars The Old Republic. At all.

Richard said:

With 'Worst Company' award, followed by PR damage control diversion #1 & then the allout .org bot ridden attacks. (although it's hard to prove the bots are those of EA, at this point it doesn't matter)

I really hope this is the beginning of the end for EA. It's tiring, watching them do everything except change their habits. They have earned/deserved the Worst Company award.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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