Electronic Arts has responded to a letter-writing campaign by anti-gay pressure groups calling for the publisher to remove same-sex relationships from BioWare’s Mass Effect and Star Wars games, saying it has no plans to censor such content.
The complaints appear to come from the members of two religious groups, the Florida Family Association and the Family Research Council.
One such letter reads: “It was troubling to learn that BioWare and Electronic Arts were pressured into committing to add LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] content to Star Wars videogames.
“I am also concerned that BioWare employees state in postings at Swtor.com that they have been censoring, deleting and banning forum members for expressing opposing views about including homosexual content in games children play.
“The overwhelming number of players on Star Wars games is [sic] children who do not need to be forced as a captured audience to participate in homosexual content.”
EA’s head of corporate communications, Jeff Brown, has responded to these letter writing campaigns on GamesIndustry International, saying, “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,” he continued. “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.”
Since Brown’s statement, an online petition in support of Electronic Arts’ position has appeared on AllOut.org and has been signed by 53,000 members of the public including journalist Charlie Booker and actor Stephen Fry.
“Good for @EA for telling the homophobes to f*** off. Petition here http://www.allout.org/en/actions/theforce or you could just tweet @EA,” said Booker on Tiwtter.
“If you do 0 else today, do join me and @Yoda to help game-maker @ea stand strong against anti gay hate & the dark side,” added Fry.