EA ‘harassed’ over gay video game characters

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Following the introduction of gay characters in recent game series, video game manufacturer EA says it has been inundated with anti-gay letters.

Bioware, a division of EA, included gay relationships in its Mass Effect 3 game and in its Star Wars: The Old Republic multi-player game.

EA told Gamesindustry.biz it has received “thousands” of letters complaining about the inclusion of gay characters, with many threatening to boycott the developer, but defended the decision to represent gay players.

The vice president of corporate communications Jeff Brown said given the descriptors on the games it was “hard to believe” anyone was surprised by the availability of gay relationships.

He added: “This isn’t about protecting children, it’s about political harassment.”

A scanned letter published by GamesIndustry.biz says: “The overwhelming number of players on Star Wars games is children who do not need to be forced as a captured audience to participate in homosexual content. [sic]

“We ask that you please adhere to your long term policy of omitting and steering clear of this type of advocacy representation in your games.

“Please do not include LGBT content in Star Wars video games that will impact so many children.

“Thank you.”

Handwritten on the typed letter are the words “Remember Sodom”.

Mr Brown said: “EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT characters in our games. However, we have met with LBGT groups and sponsored industry forums to discuss content and harassment of players in online forums. In short, we do put options for same-sex relationships in our games; we don’t tolerate hate speech on our forums.”

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, said gamers had gone “to the dark side”.

He wrote: “Since the announcement, homosexuals have been celebrating the news, but parents sure aren’t. On the game’s website, there are more than 300 pages of comments – a lot of them expressing anger that their kids will be exposed to this Star Warped way of thinking. You can join them by logging on and speaking up. It’s time to show companies who the Force is really with!”

Matt Kane, Associate Director of Entertainment Media at GLAAD drew attention to recent backfires by anti-gay groups, including the National Organization for Marriage’s Dump Starbucks campaign and One Million Moms’ bid to have Ellen DeGeneres sacked for being gay, saying: “Trying to rally Americans around messages rooted in hate is a losing proposition.”