Gaming

Gaming giant EA tells staff it won’t defend trans rights or abortion rights

Lily Wakefield May 26, 2022
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The logo for gaming company EA on a smartphone

EA said staff could make use of "healing circles" to process their feelings. (LightRocket via Getty/ SOPA Images/ Rafael Henrique)

Gaming giant EA has told staff that the company will not publicly defend trans rights or abortion rights at a company-wide meeting.

The gaming publication Kotaku reported that it had seen and verified a transcript of the town hall meeting on Tuesday (24 May), which allowed employees to raise issues with senior management.

Employees had called on EA, the gaming company behind FIFA and The Sims, to make a public statement on the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion which showed that the court is poised to strip constitutional abortion rights from US citizens, and on the wave of anti-trans legislation sweeping America, specifically legislation in Texas which classes gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth as “child abuse”.

But according to the transcript, and despite publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, staff were told that “being an inclusive company means being inclusive of all those points of view”.

Chief people officer Mala Singh reportedly said: “The thing about the world today is there is a lot of division, we know this right, we see it every single day, but the thing that unites us is that we’re all here to make amazing games and experiences for our players, and that is how we have the most positive impact on the world.

“These things are hard and they’re personal and we all have our own perspectives and sometimes we won’t speak, and that will be upsetting and I understand that, we really do.”

Instead, Singh reportedly told EA employees to make use of the gaming company’s “healing circles” to process their feelings about trans and abortion rights.

An EA employee told Kotaku that “healing circles” are group mental health sessions centred around specific issues, which are made available to staff as part of the company’s healthcare benefits.

“I know these have been tough issues, whether it’s the shootings that happened recently in the US, the Roe v Wade issues, these are hard,” Singh said.

“And so, one of the other things you’re going to see is we’re going to be making some more healing circles available through Modern Health.”

In a statement to the publication, EA corporate communications director Lacey Haines said: “We’re not going to comment further on the global town hall, as that is a company confidential forum.

“That said, we work to create an environment where our employees can talk about complex issues in our world today. We do this in a number of ways, from town halls to Slack discussions, group dialogues, surveys, and more.

“From all of that, we recognise these topics are deeply personal, and we know that there are many strong opinions, and some will be disappointed when we say that we’re not making public statements because we’re focused on the ways we can support our people around the world as their employer.

“That is what we’re doing, in this case, making sure that people have access to the healthcare benefits we provide as a company, even if those aren’t available locally.”

EA told PinkNews that Singh had told employees that the company was “working with our US healthcare provider to determine how we can expand our benefits to include travel support for any covered services where access is limited in an employee’s region, including reproductive services, gender-affirming care and others”.

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