Sony will reportedly not be approving any statements on the matter of reproductive rights from PlayStation studios. These include Guerrilla Games, Naughty Dog, and Insomniac. The subject of abortion has recently been called back into question following a decision by the Supreme Court.
The news comes from President at Insomniac Ted Price who told employees last week that Sony “will not approve any statements from any studio on the topic of reproductive rights." The executive went on to say that "we fought hard for this and we did not win.” Insomniac previously pledged $50,000 to the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project. Sony has agreed to match this donation as part of its PlayStation Cares program, but the company is currently not permitting any public statements on abortion from subsidiary studios.
While most have been silent on the subject, some studios including Bungie and Double Fine have been open about supporting reproductive rights. Price was apparently asked by several workers to make a statement along the same lines.
"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 organization. For the most part, our ability to tweet has been unfettered. However, there are rare times when we’re in opposition (like this week) and Sony will have the final say." Workers at the studio have been expressly forbidden from voicing their opinions on Twitter.
Price described how "there would be material repercussions for us as a wholly owned subsidiary" if Insomniac went against the directives from Sony. "Among other things, any progress that we might make in helping change its approach would be stopped dead in its tracks.” The executive went on to say that “we'd also probably be severely restricted from doing important public facing work in the future.” Price apparently submitted a "near 60 page" petition to Head of Studios at PlayStation Hermen Hulst calling on Sony to "do better by employees who are directly affected." Sony has launched a program to provide employees with financial assistance if they need reproductive care.
This comes in the wake of several controversial comments on abortion by Chief Executive Officer at Sony Jim Ryan. The executive attracted much ire last week by telling employees that "we owe it to each other and to PlayStation's millions of users to respect differences of opinion among everyone in our internal and external communities.” The executive went on to say that “respect does not equal agreement. But it is fundamental to who we are as a company and as a valued global brand." This was taken as trivializing by many workers who soon struck back in protest.
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