This news comes from Kotaku, which revealed this week that in a company-wide town hall meeting on May 24 the publisher told staff that they would not be speaking out on trans or abortion rights and that they couldn’t take a stance on everything happening in the world.
EA also stated to staff that “being an inclusive company means being inclusive of all those points of view.”
The meeting, which involved company leaders, was focused on covering future EA games, pay rises, as well as what was on employees minds at the time. With news surrounding both the potential loss of abortion rights, as well as the continuing push to stigmatize the trans community, these two topics were brought up by employees and leadership was called upon to make a statement.
In response to the call, chief people officer Mala Singh responded that the company only speaks out when it will “actually have a positive impact”, a perspective that is apparently “consistent” among EA employees all around the world.
“The thing about the world today is there is a lot of division, we know this right, we see it every single day, but the thing that unites us is that we’re all here to make amazing games and experiences for our players, and that is how we have the most positive impact on the world,” Singh said, the transcript verified by Kotaku. “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.”
This comes after Certain Affinity, the co-developers behind the Halo games, made a public statement about their desire to help their employees and took a public stance against abortion and anti-trans legislation. They also said they would help with relocating employees. EA’s own plans on how to help their employees during these hard times have not been confirmed, but they did confirm to Kotaku that they are looking to provide help through the company’s healthcare provider and are “monitoring” any new developments that could affect their staff.
Instead of publicly defending trans and abortion rights, EA have told Kotaku that they urge their employees to take advantage of “healing circles.” A healing circle is a mental health session that is provided through the company’s healthcare provider and each session is designed around specific topics.
“I know these have been tough issues, whether it’s the shootings that happened recently in the US, the Roe v Wade issues, these are hard,” Singh said. “And so, one of the other things you’re going to see is we’re going to be making some more healing circles available through Modern Health.”
While EA has commented to Kotaku that they will not be commenting on any of the discussions that took place during the town hall meeting, they have said the following:
“That said, we work to create an environment where our employees can talk about complex issues in our world today. We do this in a number of ways, from Town Halls to Slack discussions, group dialogues, surveys, and more. From all of that, we recognize these topics are deeply personal, and we know that there are many strong opinions, and some will be disappointed when we say that we’re not making public statements because we’re focused on the ways we can support our people around the world as their employer. That is what we’re doing, in this case, making sure that people have access to the healthcare benefits we provide as a company, even if those aren’t available locally.”