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EA execs individually speak out on women’s and trans rights

Respawn boss Vince Zampella and The Sims exec Lyndsay Pearson have issued statements supporting the rights of women and transgender people, as EA continues to be pressured by employees to make a wider statement of its own.

The remarks, posted publicly on Twitter overnight, reportedly follow an internal meeting within EA on LGBTQ+ issues, Kotaku reported.

There, the publisher was again asked by employees whether it would make a public statement on these issues – and reportedly again kept to its previous line that these topics were subject to different points of view across the company.

Last week, EA acknowledged its lack of public comment over the current threats to abortion rights, pending the US Supreme Court decision on the country’s key Roe v Wade ruling, and trans rights, which are the subject of ongoing legal battles in several states.

At the time, EA’s chief people officer Mala Singh said EA would only make a statement on issues when the company could present a “consistent perspective” from the company’s global workforce. “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,” Singh said.

But this stance has differed from some others in the games industry, who have been vocal.

“Trans rights are human rights,” Zampella wrote last night via his personal Twitter account. “It is as simple as that. Respawn has grown on the principles of diversity, equality, and inclusion and strives to uphold those values. Let’s be better humans.”

“Women’s rights are human rights,” Pearson tweeted a little later. “Transgender rights are human rights. Maxis and The Sims value diversity, equality and inclusion in our core and we strive to bring this to life through our teams and our work. We see you and we stand with you.”

Zampella, as boss of Apex Legends and Jedi Fallen Order developer Respawn, is one of EA’s most high-profile creative leaders. His job role was recently extended to oversee EA’s troubled Battlefield franchise as well.

Pearson, meanwhile, represents the typically inclusive The Sims franchise. Last week, an update allowed The Sims 4 to display customisable pronouns for the first time.

Recent weeks have seen several high profile game developers speak out on human rights issues, in particular of the threat to Roe v Wade which may leave a swathe of US states in a situation where legal abortion is largely unavailable.

Destiny developer Bungie, Psychonauts studio Double Fine and Halo Infinite co-developer Certain Affinity have all criticised the potential overturning of Roe v Wade and, in some cases, promised support for staff who may be affected by the decision in future.

In contrast, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan drew criticism this month for briefly touching on the issue of abortion rights in an internal email where he asked staff to respect “differences of opinion”. That sparked a further report that Sony was, similar to EA, not issuing any statement on reproductive rights – which in turn prompted a firm response from the soon-to-be-bought Bungie.

EA has previously said it would, as other developers have, support any employee seeking an abortion if it became illegal in their state.

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