Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) is reportedly planning to donate to an abortion fund following criticism from employees over its stance on reproductive rights.
Last week, SIE CEO Jim Ryan sent employees an email urging them to “respect differences of opinion” on the topic in light of a leaked Supreme Court draft suggesting it intends to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which legalised abortion across the US.
“Respect does not equal agreement,” he wrote, according to Bloomberg. “But it is fundamental to who we are as a company and as a valued global brand.”
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The message—which reportedly went on to include “five detailed paragraphs” about Ryan’s cats’ birthdays—is said to have angered many PlayStation employees, including staff at Spider-Man studio Insomniac Games, which plans to donate $50,000 to the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project.
That’s according to an internal email sent by Insomniac CEO Ted Price and viewed by The Washington Post, which reports that Sony will match the donation, as well as individual donations made by the studio’s employees through the company’s ‘PlayStation Cares’ programme.
Price said Insomniac sent a “near-60 page” document to PlayStation Studios boss Hermen Hulst in which numerous members of staff called on the company to “do better by employees who are directly affected” by the situation.
SIE is now reportedly planning to work with Insomniac to create a scheme providing financial aid to employees who have to travel outside of their home states to receive reproductive care.
However, Price said PlayStation won’t allow any of its studios to publicly comment on reproductive rights.
He said “there would be material repercussions for us as a wholly owned subsidiary” should Insomniac choose to go against Sony’s wishes. Doing so would also hurt its chances of changing SIE’s approach and would likely result in the studio being “severely restricted from doing important public-facing work in the future”.
Price said: “[SIE] will not approve ANY statements from any studio on the topic of reproductive rights. We fought hard for this and we did not win.”
He added: “As far as our freedom of speech goes, while we do have a LOT of autonomy that often gets taken for granted, there are times where we need to acknowledge we’re part of a larger organization. For the most part our ability to tweet has been unfettered. However there are rare times when we’re in opposition (like this week) and SIE will have the final say.”