Bungie CEO Pete Parsons refuted the idea that the company will be “muzzled” when it comes to promoting abortion after the company is fully acquired by PlayStation.
Bungie was one of the first video game developers to react to a draft majority opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that overturns Roe v. Wade and turns the power of whether or not abortion can be outlawed back to state legislatures.
The draft opinion reads in part, “We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision overruling Roe and Casey. And even if we could foresee what will happen, we would have no authority to let that knowledge influence our decision. We can only do our job, which is to interpret the law, apply longstanding principles of stare decisis, and decide this case accordingly.”
“We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito stated.
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In reaction to this, Bungie, as a company, declared that abortion is an “essential healthcare right.”
In a blog post they also detailed, “At Bungie we believe that everyone has a right to choose their own path and that freedom is expressed across all facets of life. The leaked draft decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade represents a blow to freedom in America and is a direct attack on human rights.”
They would later add, “Standing up for reproductive choice and liberty is not a difficult decision to make, and Bungie remains dedicated to upholding these values.”
Other developers would follow suit including Double Fine Productions and ArenaNet; however, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan told staff in an internal email to “respect differences of opinion.” He also stated that PlayStation and its community are “multi-faceted and diverse, holding many different points of view.”
“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,” Ryan elaborated. “Respect does not equal agreement. But it is fundamental to who we are as a company and as a valued global brand.” Some PlayStation staff however were reportedly dissatisfied with the response.
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Despite these claims, Sony would reportedly reverse course after one of their subsidiaries, Insomniac Games, the developer of Marvel’s Spider-Man and Ratchet & Clank, sent the company a near 60-page document to PlayStation Studios’ President Hermen Hulst in an attempt to convince him to “do better by employees who are directly affected” by the possible Supreme Court ruling.
The document reportedly convinced Sony to offer financial assistance to their employees who plan to travel out of states in order to obtain an abortion. They will also be matching a $50,000 donation from Insomniac Games to the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project.
However, in the same report that indicated Sony would reverse course Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price claimed, ““There would be material repercussions for us as a wholly owned subsidiary. Among other things, any progress that we might make in helping change [Sony Interactive Entertainment’s] approach would be stopped dead in its tracks.”
“[Sony Interactive Entertainment] will not approve ANY statements from any studio on the topic of reproductive rights,” Price noted. “We fought hard for this and we did not win.”
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Following this news and the fact that Sony Interactive Entertainment announced back in January they were acquiring Bungie for $3.6 billion, YouTuber Skill Up discussed the recent statements and actions by Bungie and PlayStation.
The YouTuber reacted to Bungie’s response to Twitter user @M3NofMAYHEM that asked the company, “Can we just stick to making video games?” Bungie succinctly replied “Never.”
“It’s going to really suck if Sony put a muzzle on Bungie in future and stop them from doing actual hero shit like this,” Skill up bemoaned.
In response to Skill Up’s tweet, Bungie’s Senior Community Manager Dylan Gafner replied, “I admit, I’m just a CM in the grand scheme, but I’m confident in the following: We are, and will continue to be, Bungie.”
“There will never be a ‘muzzle’ big enough to stop us from standing up for what’s right,” Gafner declared.
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“It’ll need to be proven over time, but we continue to strengthen our pillars and culture year over year,” Gafner reassured. “There’s so much more work to be done, but I feel we’re on the right track with the talent we have and the passion they bring (not just making games, but improving industry.)”
Gafner concluded with a “shameless plug” that Bungie were hiring new staff. However, Gafner’s initial tweet also warranted a response from Bungie CEO and Chairman Pete Parsons. Regarding Gafner’s “no muzzle big enough” comment, Parsons simply replied “Yes.”
Will Bungie’s morals compromise their acquisition? Will PlayStation continue to bend their impartiality to breaking point? Let us know what you think on social media, and in the comments below.
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