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EA Defends Itself Against Thousands of Anti-Gay Letters 1069

Posted by timothy
from the but-my-keyboard-only-has-26 dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "Video game publisher Electronic Arts has not only had to defend itself against 'worst company in America' labels, but GamesIndustry International has revealed that EA's been receiving thousands of letters protesting the inclusion of same-sex relationship content in games like Mass Effect and Star Wars: The Old Republic. The campaign against EA appears to be led by Florida Family Association and the Family Research Council. The letters threaten to boycott purchase of EA games if the company won't remove the LGBT content, and many allege that EA was pressured by LGBT activists to include the content, which they say is forcing LGBT themes on children playing the games. 'This isn't about protecting children, it's about political harassment,' said Jeff Brown, VP of corporate communications."
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EA Defends Itself Against Thousands of Anti-Gay Letters

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  • Well I say (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:10AM (#39586303)
    Soddom
    • Re:Well I say (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nschubach (922175) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:10AM (#39586319) Journal

      I can't help but to side with EA on this... if they want to boycott, fine.

      • by hpa (7948) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:13AM (#39586369) Homepage
        "Streisand effect" anyone?
        • Re:Well I say (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MoonBuggy (611105) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:19AM (#39586481) Journal

          It might actually be even stranger than the normal Streisand-related backfiring; there's a theory [imgur.com] floating around that EA are actually deliberately exploiting the increased publicity of this to divert attention away from the fact that they're an utter bunch of assholes in many other ways. No idea whether it's true or not, but seemed worth mentioning.

          • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:24AM (#39586585)

            It might actually be even stranger than the normal Streisand-related backfiring; there's a theory [imgur.com] floating around that EA are actually deliberately exploiting the increased publicity of this to divert attention away from the fact that they're an utter bunch of assholes in many other ways. No idea whether it's true or not, but seemed worth mentioning.

            yes its true, they are an utter bunch of assholes in many other ways.

          • Re:Well I say (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @01:01PM (#39588385)

            Well, thanks to the Streisand Effect, this bunch of assholes at EA are going to profit handsomely because another bunch of prudish, backwards religious assholes are making a big deal out of this silly issue.

            Personally, I'm rooting for the assholes at EA. I'm really sick and tired of the religious nuts around here.

            (Note that not all religious people are bigoted nuts like these morons; there's a bunch of Christian churches these days which openly state that LGBT people are welcome, generally the Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Episcopals.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by adisakp (705706)

          "Streisand effect" [wikipedia.org] anyone?

          Naw... "Starbucks Effect" [towleroad.com]... where anti-Gay protests causes your stocks to rise.

          Supposedly Starbucks is doing so well that Microsoft and Apple want the Anti-Gay NOM Group to boycott them as well [huffingtonpost.com] </satire>.

    • Re:Well I say (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:29AM (#39586701)
      For the most part the "Gay Agenda" is just to be treated like a normal citizen. Usually when people who have exposure to LGBT people realize this. And that they are not some evil group of people trying to stop us "Heteros" doing what we feel is natural to us. Actually by making them outcasts in society you force them to go to locations and socialize with people that are less desirable.
      We Don't want you in our church. So they won't go to your church. Not going to church they will not be exposed to the other values that you find good.
      Being exposed to a diverse set of people is usually a good thing, you are not shocked at everything that goes on. And the fact that you lived in backwater area with no exposure to your people won't change their ways just because you think it is wrong.
      • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:44AM (#39587035)

        (Not Mine but worth reading through. I honestly think some people believe 15:33 is going to happen).

        8:00 a.m. Wake up. Wonder where you are.

        8:01 a.m. Realize you are lying on 100 percent cotton sheets of at least a 300 count, so don't panic; you're not slumming.

        8:02 a.m. Realize you are actually in your own bed for a change. Wake stranger next to you and tell them you are late for work so won't be able to cook breakfast for them. Mutter "sorry" as you help him look for his far-flung underwear. You find out that you tore his boxers while ripping them off him last night, so you "loan" him a pair of boxer-briefs, but not the new ones because you never intend to see him again.

        8:05 a.m. Tell the stranger, whose name eludes you, "It was fun. I'll give you a call," as you usher him out the door, avoiding his egregious morning-breath.

        8:06 a.m. Crumple and dispose of the piece of paper with his telephone number on it when you get to the kitchen.

        8:07 a.m. Make a high protein breakfast while watching the Today show. Wonder if the stories you've heard about Matt Lauer are true. Decide they must be.

        8:30 a.m. Italian or domestic? Decide to go with three-button Italian and the only shirt that is clean.

        8:45 a.m. Climb into red Z4 and try not to look too much like Barbie driving one of her accessories as you pull out of your underground parking. Revos or Armanis? Go with Revos.

        9:35 a.m. Stroll into office.

        9:36 a.m. Close door to office and call best friend and laugh about the guy who spent the night at your condo. Point out something annoying about best friend's boyfriend but quickly add "It doesn't matter what everyone else thinks, just as long as you love him."

        10:15 a.m. Leave office, telling your secretary you are "meeting with a client." Pretend not to notice her insubordinate roll of her eyes (or the cloying "poem" she has tacked to her cubicle wall).

        10:30 a.m. Hair appointment for lowlights and cut. Purchase of Aveda anti-humectant pomade.

        11:30 a.m. Run into personal trainer at gym. Pester him about getting you Human Growth Hormone. Spend 30 minutes talking to friends on your cell phone while using Hammer Strength machines, preparing a mental-matrix of which circuit parties everyone is going to and which are now passe.

        12:00pm Tan. Schedule back-waxing in time for Saturday party where you know you will end up shirtless.

        12:30 p.m. Pay trainer for anabolic steroids and schedule a workout. Shower, taking ten minutes to knot your tie while you check-out your best friend's boyfriend undress with the calculation of someone used to wearing a t-back and having dollars stuffed in their crotch.

        1:00 p.m. Meet someone for whom you only know his waist, chest and penis size from AOL M4M chat for lunch at a hot, new restaurant. Because the maître d' recognizes you from a gay bar, you are whisked past the Christian heterosexual couples who have been waiting patiently for a table since 12:30.

        2:30 p.m. "Dessert at your place." Find out, once again, people lie on AOL.

        3:33 p.m. Assume complete control of the U.S., state, and local governments (in addition to other nations' governments); destroy all healthy Christian marriages; recruit all children grades Kindergarten through 12 into your amoral, filthy lifestyle; secure complete control of the media, starting with sitcoms; molest innocent children; give AIDS to as many people as you can; host a pornographic "art" exhibit at your local art museum; and turn people away from Jesus, causing them to burn forever in Hell.

        4:10 p.m. Time permitting, bring about the general decline of Western Civilization and look like you are having way too much fun doing it.

        4:30 p.m. Take a disco-nap to prevent facial wrinkles from the stress of world conquest and being so terribly witty.

        6:00 p.m. Open a fabulous new bottle of Malbec.

        6:47 P.M. Bake Ketamine for weekend. Test recipe.

        7:00 P.M. Go to Abercrombie & Fitch and announce in a loud voice, "Over!"

      • Re:Well I say (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kell Bengal (711123) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:45AM (#39587039)
        This.

        That always confounded me - why on earth would an earnest religious person turn away someone from their church, just because they were a sinner? Aren't non-christians the people you -want- to come to church? Afterall, Christ did lunch with sinners, and preached love and compassion. It's become clear to me that many christians (but not all) are not interested in saving souls, but only about their social club that lets them feel superior to people who are not Them - the other, the different, the outsider. It used to be the jews and gypsies until it became unpopular to ostracise them - now it's the gays and muslims.
        • Re:Well I say (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @12:07PM (#39587437)

          This.

          That always confounded me - why on earth would an earnest religious person turn away someone from their church, just because they were a sinner? Aren't non-christians the people you -want- to come to church? Afterall, Christ did lunch with sinners, and preached love and compassion. It's become clear to me that many christians (but not all) are not interested in saving souls, but only about their social club that lets them feel superior to people who are not Them - the other, the different, the outsider. It used to be the jews and gypsies until it became unpopular to ostracise them - now it's the gays and muslims.

          What's even stranger is that they want to pass laws so that secular law enforcement will coerce everyone into observing their inhibitions. Like that would help anyone get to Heaven, according to their doctrine.

          "Religious Right" is just a euphemism for "sex obsessed control freaks".

        • Re:Well I say (Score:5, Informative)

          by DesScorp (410532) <.DesScorp. .at. .Gmail.com.> on Thursday April 05, 2012 @12:17PM (#39587629) Homepage Journal

          This.

          That always confounded me - why on earth would an earnest religious person turn away someone from their church, just because they were a sinner? Aren't non-christians the people you -want- to come to church? Afterall, Christ did lunch with sinners, and preached love and compassion. It's become clear to me that many christians (but not all) are not interested in saving souls, but only about their social club that lets them feel superior to people who are not Them - the other, the different, the outsider. It used to be the jews and gypsies until it became unpopular to ostracise them - now it's the gays and muslims.

          That is simply not true. Most churches are open to anyone, and saving souls is task Numero Uno. That doesn't mean that they have to accept conduct, though, which is clearly condemned in the Bible. The idea is to be saved. Part of being saved is "changing your ways", as the Bible teaches. What some people are demanding, however, is that the churches should change for them, accepting things that the Bible teaches against. They want to have their cake and eat it too. Christ taught that salvation was a free gift to anyone that wanted it, but you had to accept it on his terms, not yours.

          If someone can't accept that, then so be it. Go about your life elsewhere. But don't demand that churches abandon their teachings and laws to make you feel comfortable. That's not the way it works.

        • Re:Well I say (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Githaron (2462596) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @12:35PM (#39587941)

          As a Christian, while I don't approve of homosexual activity, I would not deny a person who practices such the church or the possibility of friendship. I figure, every person, whether they are Christian or not, not only sins but they sin regularly. Who am I to judge another due to their sin? That is between them and God.

          That said, I still believe society has a obligation to hold those accountable take from others who are unwilling to give. For example, murder does not just affect those who volunteer to take part in the event. Stealing is another example.

          Flipping to the other side of the coin, barring rape, all participates are willing when participating in sexual immorality of any kind. They sins is just as bad in the eye of God but who am I to stand in there way? I can still try to convince them to change their ways and help them if they choose to change but I would do wrong if I used force to stop their actions.

          All this said, I am of course human. I still struggle to overcome my natural human tendencies to judge others and treat them unfairly but I do try to overcome.

      • Re:Well I say (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jythie (914043) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @12:11PM (#39587517)
        I recall years ago hearing a good summary of the Gay Agenda....

        (1) Not get killed

        (2) Have a nice lunch

        There person rounded it off by pointing out that 'our demands are simple'
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, to the protesters, I simply say, "Fuck you".

      "...but, of course, only in a monogamous heterosexual relationship, because otherwise that would clearly be indecent."

  • Ugh (Score:5, Funny)

    by An Ominous Coward (13324) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:12AM (#39586361)

    Are these bastards really going to make me side with EA on something? I need a shower.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:13AM (#39586371) Journal

    Who is more evil here? I'm going to say the FFA and FRC, but I don't think they're evil enough to get me to buy an EA product just to spite them.

    If this were any other company than EA (well also Ubisoft and Sony), I'd write them a kind letter and buy the product. I hope the normalization of homosexuality isn't impeded because no one is willing to defend EA.

    • Re:Conflicting (Score:5, Informative)

      by tbannist (230135) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:58AM (#39587303)

      From my perspective, the FRC is a scourge upon the United States. They exist solely to advocate for censorship of everything they disagree with, because if they don't like it, nobody else should be allowed to see it either. The most ridiculous part is that most of the people who send the letters in don't ever watch anything they're complaining about. They don't want to risk exposure to "that degenerate material" so the FRC employs people to scan shows and find things that they can be offended at, and then provide their membership with a form letter they can use to bombard the latest victim with complaints from people who never watched what they've been told to be offended about.

      The evil the organisation does isn't limited to what they actually complain about, companies avoid airing things they know the FRC will be upset about, particularly when Republicans have control of the FCC, because it can be very costly to run afoul of their arbitrary prejudices.

      EA mostly makes games that suck. I don't think there's much competition in the evil category here.

    • Re:Conflicting (Score:5, Informative)

      by mr100percent (57156) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @12:02PM (#39587357) Homepage Journal

      The FFA isn't exactly a real organization. They appear to be one single man with a website, who sent letters to Viacom threatening to boycott the advertisers over an episode of Degrassi which delt with LGBT issues in school, and sent letters to TLC threating to boycott the advertisers unless they cancelled the reality show "All-American Muslim" for, and I'm not making this up, only showing non-terrorist Muslims living in America. The controversy over the latter actually got them more attention than they deserve, and many people on the Far Right signed up for their mailing list.

  • I for one (Score:5, Funny)

    by maroberts (15852) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:13AM (#39586375) Homepage Journal

    Am, in the interests of balance, going to boycott EA games unless they have more lesbian content.

    It's only fair after all.

  • Walmart (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:15AM (#39586409)

    Anyone who voted for EA over Walmart as the worst company has no idea what they are talking about.

  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:17AM (#39586447)

    In those games, you actually have to ACTIVELY PURSUE gay relationships. So are these groups arguing that game makers have an obligation to stop good Christians from their *own* desire to pursue gay relationships? Because I'm pretty sure that eliminating the POSSIBILITY of gayness in a game is not going to make them all into good Christian heterosexuals, especially if they're *that* determined to pursue the gay endings.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:19AM (#39586489) Homepage Journal

    It does not currently have them. There are some suggestive conversations between different characters but is as close as it gets. Top it off with how bad the in game romance story lines are and I serious doubt any self respecting gay person would want to see the Bioware developers take a stab at it.

    I mean, the scripts used make the prequel love story between Anakin and Padme look downright Academy Award material.

    Then toss in the fact it all is a computerized version of "Choose your own Adventure" and its painfully obvious you could choose to totally ignore that direction in any conversation.

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:57AM (#39587267) Homepage

      There are some suggestive conversations between different characters but is as close as it gets.

      That's more than enough. These people don't want to be even subtly reminded that gays exist. Wanting to be able to exist in society without having to hide their identity, and creating entertainment that acknowledges that homosexuals exist, is "shoving the gay agenda down people's throats".

      Then toss in the fact it all is a computerized version of "Choose your own Adventure" and its painfully obvious you could choose to totally ignore that direction in any conversation.

      The mere fact that they are aware of its existence is enough.

      And does it matter?

      Think of it this way: If instead of an RPG where you basically craft whatever character you want and all the romance subplots are optional, what if it was a game about an openly gay character (with or without 'romance', and with appropriate age rating), and playing that character was the only option? Would that make their complaints legitimate?

  • Haters gonna hate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:24AM (#39586587)

    Far too many religious people define themselves by what they hate, and measure their own worth by how much hatred they can stir up.

    Personally, I'd like to see all these hateful "Family" outfits treated the same way as other hate mongers that are currently dealt with harshly by law, like neo-Nazis and Islamists.

  • Um, in Star Wars Galaxies ten years ago you could have same-sex marriage and inter-species marriage. Where was the outcry then?

    You know with all the families that deal with neglect, abuse and other problems you'd think Florida Family Association and the Family Research Council would have other topics to tackle that are just a tiny bit more important than whether or not a parent is too shitty to talk to their child about homosexuality in media. For crying out loud, people, really?

    You know, you have a right to be homophobic, I can't tell you how to raise your children. But don't fuck up my kid while you're at it. "Mommy, why was I able to marry my best friend in the SWTOR?" "Because some people are homosexuals and we believe that's wrong so don't ever do it in real life." There, was that so hard? Please let the rest of us move forward while your ignorance dies with you, okay?
  • by SoTerrified (660807) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:35AM (#39586821)

    I have it on good authority (No, I can't reveal my source) that this is EA responding to being voted the worst company of 2012 [consumerist.com] by Consumerist.com. The higher-ups are worried about the bad press right before the stock holders meeting, so they are deliberately trying to spin the negative press as being tied to their support of LGBT. However it's pretty obvious that the voters at the Consumerist were much more focused on EA's price gouging and charging extra for downloadable content just to get the basic content, anti-competitive measures and a host of other issues.

    So when you hear EA saying "They hate us because we're taking a stand for human rights", you know the truth is "They hate you because you mercilessly squeeze every dollar out of your customers, you provide horrid customer service and because you deliberately hold back game content as DLC, making the customers feel like they're being blackmailed instead of being consumers."

  • by HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:36AM (#39586845)
    Of all the things to hate EA for, they choose progressive gay rights? I'd say I have to side with EA on this, but I'm choosing to believe BioWare had the cubes convince EA to let them put it in.

    One of the very best things about the additional "same-sex" content was how completely UN-weird it was, and I applaud the developers for treating a historically delicate subject as standard fare. Hell, Cortez almost made me cry when I found out he lost his husband; that was definitely NOT the usual "zomg gheys!" giggle-treatment. Even the treatment of inter-racial relationships still doesn't have that level of dignity in entertainment media.

    I figure if a vampire can eat a fetus out of the uterus of the woman he impregnated with his zombie spawn on screen, and the only protest is the quality of the acting, two dudes can make out in a video-game just peachy.
  • by Torodung (31985) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:37AM (#39586865) Journal

    It's incredible how this all started with Jeremy asking EA to "suck his balls," way back in 2004. Who knew they listened to customer feedback?

    Well, EA can still suck my balls [youtube.com], and there's no religious group that will intimidate me from making such a request.

    http://www.purepwnage.com/ [purepwnage.com] has the full video, but there's egregious ad-portals in front of them. So you only have to sit through one, it's Season 1, Episode 3. The whole thing's worth watching, but the quote is at 4:14.

    As for fundamentalist family groups, they can suck my balls too. I can only hate on EA so much.

  • by minkowski76 (2611417) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:39AM (#39586941)
    I think EA needs to check their facts. Sending in letters to let a corporation know you do not approve of their behavior isn't 'harassment', it's freedom of speech, which is precisely why it is enshrined within the founding documents of the United States of America, and simply because letter senders speak from a position many deem 'unacceptable' doesn't violate that groups right to speak on behalf of their beliefs, unless you think everyone is required to accept homosexuality. Seems to me EA also missed the part whereby some thousand or more game-players exercised their right to free speech with respect to Mass Effect 3's ending, which seems odd to me, as it would appear it's quite acceptable to decry a video games ending like children throwing a tempter tantrum, but if you write a company to criticize their choice to popularize life-styles that conflict with your personal and cherished beliefs, your letters are labeled 'political harassment'. But I guess manipulating the masses is one good quality of every successful video game company. For the record, I'm a independent atheist, but everyone has the right in my opinion to say what they want, and if the US continues trending in it's current direction, the following link portends our future: http://catholicexchange.com/canada-orders-pastor-to-renounce-his-faith/ [catholicexchange.com] Not really where I want to see civilization trend.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @11:56AM (#39587247)

    Firstly let me state that I'm not gay.
    That said, I accept that homosexuality has been found to be a natural part of the animal kingdom (not just humans) since the beginning of all life, as far as smarter people than me can tell.
    Blowing peoples brains out with assault weapons is absolutely not natural.
    Yet look at which issue the American parents are worried that their kids might learn about.
    Personally I don't believe there's much of a cause/effect thing with kids becoming more violent just from playing violent video games, but there's always gonna be a very low percantage of freakish kids that will prove any theory wrong.
    I prefer believe that glorifying hard violence is far more dangerous to younger kids minds than showing people of the same sex kissing.
    But then the real fault is actually with the parents that let those kids play these games in the first place, even though they're often clearly marked 18+.
    Lets move the blame back to where it belongs, on the parents for not properly shielding and educating their kids instead of doing that very American thing of finding everyone/anyone else to blame instead of acknowledging their own failures.

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @12:01PM (#39587325)
    These same people rant and rave about Sharia Law coming to America, because they're worried it would move in on their turf.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @02:20PM (#39589477) Homepage Journal
    And it's the gay sex bothering them? Not, say, the 6 year old kid that gets killed in the opening scenes of the game or the sniper rifle headshots that make heads explode like watermelons? Or the humans being turned into zombie-like creatures? Yeah, exposing your kid to off-screen same-sex hookups in those games isn't what's making you a terrible parent, there.

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