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Celebrities support EA in wake of anti-LGBT campaign

Electronic Arts says it's received several thousand letters protesting the company's incorporation of LGBT themes within games such as Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: the Old Republic. The company says it has no plans to censor its games – and at least three celebrities (at least two of them real) have come out in support of the Redmond giant's stance.

“If you do 0 else today, do join me and @Yoda to help game-maker @EA stand strong against anti gay-hate & the dark side,” tweeted podcasting pioneer, actor and comedian Stephen Fry, known in the US for his work in films such as Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and games including LittleBigPlanet and Fable III. He refers to a petition at LGBT rights site Allout.org, which aims to employ Yoda (?) to deliver messages of support to EA for its inclusion of LGBT themes. At time of writing, the petition's frozen after a hacker attack, just short of its target of 75,000 signatures.

Above: Brooker (left) and Fry (right). Don't worry, we hadn't heard of them either until we did

“Good for @EA for telling the homophobes to fuck off. Petition [at allout.org] or you could just tweet @EA,” echoed presenter and ex-PC gaming journalist Charlie Brooker, whose shows such as GamesWipe and Black Mirror have commented on games alongside other contemporary media and whose column in the Guardian often comments on gaming in pop culture.

Responding to allegations of pushing an LGBT agenda and deleting anti-gay comments from its forums, EA's Jeff Brown says the company “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.”

Allout stresses that its petition is not affiliated with EA, which was the first gaming company to contribute a video to the “It Gets Better” project. It's been pointed out elsewhere that while the company's stance is laudable, its own output isn't free from potentially homophobic content. "We are not arguing that Electronic Arts is a perfect company," explained Allout's Andre Banks, "but we know that today, on this issue, they are taking an important stand that should be celebrated and supported."

Previous campaigns have failed to change the pro-LGBT politics of corporations such as Starbuck's and JC Penny. Allegations that the Rebel Alliance itself was pursuing a pro-LGBT agenda could not be confirmed at press time; but if the anti-EA Family Research Council wants to just outright compare itself to Emperor Palpatine and friends, we'll let that one slide.

61 comments

  • slowdrum13 - April 12, 2012 8:09 a.m.

    I understand the whole "if you don't want your kid to play it, then don't buy it for them" idea, but there really should be a disclaimer on the box for homosexual content, not just "sexual content".
  • insertdisk - April 12, 2012 11:42 a.m.

    How is homesexual content different from sexual content?
  • ParagonT - April 12, 2012 12:45 p.m.

    Theyre the same. I wish people would evolve....
  • adrian-otoole - April 11, 2012 5:26 p.m.

    If gay bashing was the in thing right now...EA would have released DLC that featured Shephard curb stomping Kurt from Glee for 10 bucks a pop. EAwill go where the good pr and therefore, the money is...that is the oly thing you can trust EA with.
  • JohnDagger - April 11, 2012 1:57 p.m.

    Weird how in previously EA published games that had homosexual relationships (Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 1, even Jade Empire which is now owned by EA) EA never claimed to receive criticism for them...but those games were adored by fans. But since fans had actual criticisms of ME3 and EA's business decisions with it (on disk DLC, micro transactions, contrived ending solely to allow more DLC) they suddenly have this stance for why people hate the game? It seems like a tactic to draw attention towards a very small minority of criticism of the homosexual relationships in order to undermine the actual legitimate complaints. It makes it even worse when the petition they have created is clearly being signed by bots. You can look at the front page of the petition and see that four people made the exact same two sentence statement at the exact moment and each from a different country. They do this to make it looks like they are leading a civil rights movement and the paragon of society, when they are in fact just covering up bad business decisions with smoke and mirrors. It is nice to see a large company take this stance, but I wish they would address the actual criticism they have been getting rather than the small amount of it they claim to be getting about homosexual relationships in their games. TL;DR I applaud Bioware's writers for being progressive in their writing, but I boo EA for this blatant PR stunt in order to draw attention away from legitimate criticisms rather than address them. (PS Stephen Fry is awesome, check out his show called QI on Youtube, hilarious!)
  • guybrush_threepwood - April 11, 2012 1:16 p.m.

    I feel this section has got waaaay off topic but I must comment as I find a lot of what's being said genuinely disturbing. I'm assuming most of you on here are from the US where it seems, from what's been said, that it's deemed ok to hate homosexuals? I hate to break it to you but this is absolutely not the case. At all. Hating someone for a lifestyle that they didn't choose to follow is not, nor will it ever be 'ok'. Just as racism is finally being properly stamped out (certainly in the UK), homophobia is also, thankfully, becoming a disease that's slowly being cured here, rather than something people just put up with. This is not a matter of 'it's my opinion I'm allowed to have it' just as it's not ok to hate someone because of their race, disability, nationality or other factor that they were born with and have no control over. Comparing homosexuality to peadophilia and adultery is an argument that's so ridiculous, and so unbelievably offensive that it doesn't even merit a response. Just think for a moment about what you've said about gay people who are members of this website, as well as about the gay friends and family of members as well. This may be a blatent PR stunt by EA but if it promotes the rights of the LGBT community then I hope other publishers take note and we have a load more 'PR stunts' just like it in the near future!
  • babyface - April 11, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    Wait so now instead of being on topic like you said your putting a country down for a small percentage of its people? You just contradicted yourself. Every country has it's idiots, and you can't say just because a few comments that "I'm assuming most of you on here are from the US where it seems, from what's been said, that it's deemed ok to hate homosexuals?" I feel as if that's totally crossing the line.
  • gazzc - April 11, 2012 12:49 p.m.

    I have no problems with lesbians (infact I regularly watch quite a few of their 'movies') or gay people, or for that matter lesbians and gays in games, I respect their right to be treated the same as everybody else. What does piss me off however is people that do not respect the views of anti-gay people, apparently it is OK to hate these people because their views do not correspond with those that are pro-gay. I believe people should have the right to oppose or be disgusted by homosexuals if they do not feel it is right. I do not believe anybody should be forced to accept it, be that for personal or religious reasons. Society seems to be moving more towards forced acceptance lately and that just will not end well for anybody. So tldr: Gays are entitled to be equal people, but anti-gays are entitled to hold their own opinion too.
  • adrian-otoole - April 11, 2012 5:23 p.m.

    No, society is moving towards not freaking out when they see two dudes holding hands or two women kissing or whatever. They have the right to be disgusted by what they imagine homosexuals do. And everyone else has the right to think they are idiots. I can't respect anyone with anti gay views because usually their entire argument is "I would hate to sleep with a guy, therefore nobody should because it is icky". Probably why you are cool with watching "their movies" (for the record, you are prpbably not going to make any lesbian friends anytime soon...). How can I respect someone who can't get passed their own desires to formulate rational thoughts about other peoples?
  • kyle94 - April 11, 2012 8:50 p.m.

    Yea, take a look at women! We were forced to allow them to sometimes make the same amount of money as men, and to allow them to vote, and look how that worked out! I can't go outside without being mugged by a woman, and my town is starting to look like a Mad Max movie! Though, on a serious note, you can't change someone's beliefs or opinions. You can't force an individual to like homosexuality when they're against it, either for religious or personal reasons. However, they should at least bloody try. They should try to be open-minded, understanding individuals. Even if they don't like it, they should respect them, instead of treating them with disgust and prejudice. But, I suppose that would be acting against human nature. The human mind evolved to have that sort of mindset. A tribe stuck together best, with its members surviving more often, if they got along better and didn't sympathize with potential competitors, to those that are different and outside of your own group, at least not often. Humans evolved a "Us vs Them" mentality to help survive, and it's still kicking around.
  • darron13 - April 11, 2012 12:33 p.m.

    As a gay man, I tip my hat to you, EA.
  • KidJustKid - April 11, 2012 10:35 a.m.

    I fully agree with the idea of standing up for progressive games, but seriously, you had to look up who Charlie Brooker and Stephen Fry were? Stephen Fry's probably the most famous satirist and TV personality in the UK (and until the hideous rise of the Oprah and CNN accounts was the most followed person on Twitter for a good 2 years), and Charlie Brooker's got a shout for most famous print journalist or columnist. They're more than celebrities, they are major influences in the British debate on the media which, thank fuck, is a whole lot more progressive than the American one by all accounts. Captcha: regulus, others
  • mothbanquet - April 11, 2012 9:26 a.m.

    I personally liked Cortez' character in ME3 and, though I'm not gay myself and neither was 'my' Shepard, I was genuinely moved by his tragic story of losing someone he loved. Then I have friends who are opposed to homosexuality but still feel that his character contributed something very emotional and 'human' to the story at large. I've never heard anyone complain that it was forced on them personally, and I suspect many of the anti-gay voices have neither played the game or are at all interested in the nuances of what exactly is represented. I was worried about the content when first announced, truth be told, not because I'm opposed to homosexuality in any way but because it seemed a little shoe-horned after 2 games of not having the option altogether. So it was with pleasant surprise that I found out just how well Cortez fit into the bigger picture whether or not you chose to romance him. And this is what it all comes down to, in my opinion. We all have a choice. You can choose to play the game knowing there is POTENTIAL lgbt content, or you can choose not to. I won't knock anyone for giving the game a miss altogether based on their personal beliefs. But please, don't say that the gay stuff is forced on you because that's simply not true. You don't even have to talk to Cortez beyond the mission-essential if you don't want to.
  • babyface - April 11, 2012 9:22 a.m.

    Listen guys there is only one reason EA is doing this and trust me when I say it's not for equality. Recently there company has come under heavy fire for things such as DLC and of course calling there paying customers spoiled, so now they are looking for a way to get back in good graces. The only way they could do that was to take the ramblings of trolls on there forums and say " These people aren't trolls! They are all clearly raging homophobes!!" Thus people forget about being mad at the way EA runs there company and instead only worry about the "message" they are promoting, and I would hate to break it to you all but it is definitely not sincere.
  • The_Boz - April 11, 2012 9:30 a.m.

    Good point, one thing I do hate on blogs are people that have to retort to name calling etc. I do like a good debate, and I know they can get heated at times. Interesting though that you think this is just a publicity stunt and how much coverage is ME3 getting with all of this. From what I know about the game, there is no controversy, but it has sure stirred up some controversy within the community. I really do not know what all the fuss is about.
  • mothbanquet - April 11, 2012 9:37 a.m.

    Oh believe me, I'm not defending EA, just the game itself. I agree with you and it galls me that they're in danger of being seen in a progressive or - dare I say - virtuous light. Especially when they didn't develop the bloody game in the first place.
  • Voodoowolfe - April 11, 2012 9:05 a.m.

    I think everyone should calm down and relax a bit. I am not going to buy a game or support a corporation if it's going to label me a homophobe or gay rights supporter. Do I have a problem with what EA is doing? No. I do have a problem with people jumping all over this blowing it WAY out of proportion. We aren't talking about the right to vote or whatever. Are there LGBT people in the world? Yes. Do they make interesting characters in games? Just like ANY game, it all depends on who is writing. Should we include them? It's up to the writers. I don't want someone's story wrecked because the writers have to include LGBT characters. If the writers do put them in and the story is good, great! If they put them in where it doesn't make sense(I'm sorry but the ME3 gay club scene thing was horrible and I thought derogatory to the gay community)then it won't help or support anyone.
  • The_Boz - April 11, 2012 9:21 a.m.

    Agree totally. Can't comment on the cut scene as I have not seen any clips yet as I do not want it to spoil it for when I do eventually play it. Think you have made the best post on here.
  • The_Boz - April 11, 2012 5:19 a.m.

    Oh, forgot to mention, did anybody dislike Sims 3 because you could have a homosexual couple, even with kids? Family could have been a guy and 4 teen girls, or it could have been 2 male lovers with a few babies. When I created a household I never had any gay characters, and to be honest, if the game forced it upon me that the neighbours were gay, I wouldn't have kicked up a fuss and a storm, I would just not have bought it for that reason. A game could be aimed at gay men just like bars, also, nothing wrong with the majority aimed at hetrosexual men because we are the ones that created the industry for ourselves in general. Men have games, women have day time TV. Why the controversy. We have the choice to buy into something or not.
  • gaz-wkd - April 11, 2012 8:09 a.m.

    "Men have games, women have day time TV." You need to take a step back and re-read what you said there. That's almost the same as saying 'the men go out to work, the women stay at home' That comes across as a mindset from the 1950's era.

Showing 1-20 of 61 comments

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