Sony studios Bungie and Insomniac speak out for abortion rights

Insomniac Games reportedly took major issue with Sony CEO Jim Ryan encouraging employees to be respectful of those who opposed abortion rights.
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Sony studios Bungie and Insomniac Games are speaking out for abortion rights following a week of turmoil at Sony Interactive Entertainment. After an email sent around by SIE CEO Jim Ryan encouraged staff to ‘respect differences of opinion‘ on abortion caused major outcry, Insomniac CEO Ted Price reportedly led a push to donate US $50,000 to the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, and sent a ’60-page’ document to PlayStation Studios boss Hermen Hulst.

The document, viewed by The Washington Post, reportedly contained a number of testimonies from staff, who called on SIE to do better by its employees and everyone who is directly impacted by the ongoing debate around the repeal of abortion rights in the United States.

Sony is reportedly listening, and will match the donation, as well as any individual donations made through the company’s existing PlayStation Cares programme. In addition, The Washington Post reports Sony is now planning to work with Insomniac to create a fund that may provide financial aid to those who need to travel outside their home state to seek reproductive care.

While this is a progressive and important step, Price reportedly said Sony is not allowing its studios to comment publicly on abortion rights due to the potential for these comments to have ‘material repercussions’ on the company’s business.

‘[SIE] will not approve ANY statements from any studio on the topic of reproductive rights. We fought hard for this and we did not win,’ Price reportedly said. ‘As far as our freedom of speech goes, while we do have a LOT of autonomy that often gets taken for granted, there are times where we need to acknowledge we’re part of a larger organisation.’

Read: PlayStation CEO reportedly told staff to ‘respect differences of opinion’ on abortion rights

In response to this ‘muzzling’, a Bungie community manager expressed public confidence in the ability of the studio, which is in the process of being bought by SIE, to ‘continue to be Bungie’ and provide support to everyone.

‘There will never be a “muzzle” big enough to stop us from standing up for what’s right,’ they said. The company recently took a hard stance for abortion rights, and became one of very few publishers to express overt public support for reproductive care.

The sentiment was shared by Bungie boss Pete Parsons, who confirmed he stood by this statement.

Going forward, it appears Sony will continue to maintain public neutrality, despite The Washington Post reporting the company will go ahead with a donation to the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project. This step remains an important one, although a more public statement would have a wider and more meaningful impact.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.