Former World of Warcraft Lead Mark Kern accused Bungie of only being pro-abortion to virtue signaling, and calls out their lack of support for Free Hong Kong amid the Blitzchung Hearthstone Controversy.
As previously reported, Bungie claimed abortion is an “essential healthcare right,” amid the circulation of a draft majority opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade and send the issue of the legality of abortion back to each individual state.
The company specifically stated, “At Bungie we believe that everyone has a right to choose their own path and that freedom is expressed across all faces 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.”
“Standing up for reproductive choice and liberty is not a difficult decision to make, and Bungie remains dedicated to upholding these values,” the company asserted.
While Bungie would issue this statement, the company’s soon-to-be parent company Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) through their PlayStation boss Jim Ryan reportedly informed staff to “respect differences of opinion” in an email.
A separate report would indicate that SIE was not allowing any of their subsidiaries to make a public statement on the issue with Insomniac Games’ CEO Ted Price saying in an alleged internal email, “[Sony Interactive Entertainment] will not approve ANY statements from any studio on the topic of reproductive rights.”
Price added, “We fought hard for this and we did not win.”
Following an inquiry as to whether Bungie would end up being muzzled on the topic, the company’s Senior Community Manager Dylan Gafner tweeted, “I admit, I’m just a CM [community manager] 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.”
Bungie CEO and Chairman Pete Parsons in turn agreed with Gafner with a simple “Yes.”
Former Team Lead for World Warcraft and the founder of Red 5 Studios and Crixa Labs Mark Kern responded to the idea that there would never be a muzzle big enough to stop Bungie from “standing up for what’s right.”
Kern tweeted “Unless it’s Hong Kong. Or China camps… Go on, I’m waiting.”
The former refers to Blizzard’s decision to punish a Hearthstone player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai for mentioning free Hong Kong on a 2019 championship livestream by banning him and stripping him of his prize-money. The latter would be China’s alleged Uyghur re-education camps. Bungie has not taken a public stance on either of these issues.
Kern elaborated on his statements later tweeting, “It’s not ‘whataboutism’ if Bungie is going to invite the comparison themselves claiming broadly ‘there is no muzzle big enough to stop us from doing what’s right.’,” Kern defended. “They staked their ground as political activists. Personally I think games should stick to entertainment for all.”
“If Bungie’s ‘what is right’ stops at the dollar,” Kern proposed, “well, it’s reasonable to be assume these are adopted virtues of convenience, easily cast aside when necessary. Corporations exist to serve shareholders and drive profits. Bet in their great products, not marketing virtue signaling”
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“Bungle [sic] was part of the Activision Blizzard family for many years,” Kern explains, referencing Bungie’s 10 year publishing deal with Activision Blizzard back in 2010. “Did they boldly ‘do what is right’ then during Blitzchung and Hong Kong? Did they loudly complain and throw money and marketing against the issues plaguing their publishers, Activision Blizzard?”
“I’m happy if games just stick to entertainment and act as a social balance and buffer,” Kern confessed. “We need them to be, to help heal and hold society together.”
What do you think? Are Bungie merely virtue signalling, being pro-abortion because the gain outweighs the backlash? Let us know what you think on social media and in the comments below.