Employee Walkout Canceled After EA Makes Statement Supporting Transgender And Women’s Rights

After weeks of controversy regarding Electronic Arts’ refusal to openly support transgender and reproductive rights, EA employees took matters into their own hands, with some studios–including Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment–speaking out in support of trans rights. But other employees took things even further–EA staff members planned a June 3 walkout, but that ultimately didn’t happen after the company issued a public statement.

On June 3, a tweet supporting both transgender rights and women’s rights appeared on EA’s official Twitter page, along with a link to the gaming giant’s Pride Month web page.

The threatened walkout was organized via a message posted on the company’s internal Slack. According to GamesIndustry.biz, the message read:

“If we see the company rainbow-wash their logo without making any substantive statement in support of trans people being abused nationwide in the US and elsewhere, especially after stating that the company doesn’t want to make any statement not supported by the diverse viewpoints of our 13,000 employees, we collectively walk out on Friday, June 3. Just slapping a rainbow on our logo in June without any broader action will be unacceptable.”

EA hadn’t outlined specific plans to support the LGBTQ+ community and encouraged EA employees to make use of “healing circles” to process difficult events like Roe v. Wade potentially being overturned by the United States Supreme Court. Outraged that the company would behave this way internally while outwardly celebrating Pride Month by changing the EA logo to a rainbow design and celebrating diversity in gaming, EA employees said they would leave their posts and walk out.

EA’s public statement appears to have satisfied the upset employees, who did not proceed with the walkout, according to GamesIndustry.biz.

EA is hardly the first company to deal with controversy surrounding reproductive and transgender rights at the moment. While Destiny 2 creator Bungie came out in support of reproductive rights, Sony CEO Jim Ryan recently encouraged employees to “respect differences of opinion among everyone in our internal and external communities” before proceeding to discuss his cats’ birthday party in a company-wide email that was met with outrage. A week later, Sony-owned Insomniac Games donated $50,000 to a pro-choice organization. The donation was matched by Sony via its PlayStation Cares program, but Sony reportedly refused to allow Insomniac to make a public statement of support.

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