REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — Video game developer and distributor Electronic Arts, under fire from Christian right groups for including same-sex relationship options in their games, has dismissed the complaints, calling them political harassment.
The American Decency Association and the Florida Family Association, among others, have accused EA and its BioWare division of “pandering to homosexual extremists” by allowing same-sex relationships in many of their popular games, including “Mass Effect 3,” “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” and “The Sims.”
The Family Research Council has accused EA of “crossing over to the dark side,” and the Florida Family Association has warned parents against the dangers of “exposing small children to gay Stormtroopers.”
But in a statement, Jeff Brown, EA’s vice president of corporate communications, has said that the company will not remove the same-sex content and dismissed the complaints as political agenda.
“Every one of EA’s games includes ESRB [Entertainment Software Rating Board] content descriptors so it’s hard to believe anyone is surprised by the content,” Brown said.
“This isn’t about protecting children, it’s about political harassment.”
In recent weeks, EA has received thousands of letters — most appearing to appear to come from the members of the Florida Family Association and the Family Research Council — demanding they remove same-sex relationship options, charging that EA was pressured into including the content by LGBT groups, to somehow “force” it upon children.
Letters also complained that BioWare employees “have been censoring, deleting and banning forum members for expressing opposing views about including homosexual content in games children play.”
According to Brown, “EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT characters in our games,” but added, “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.”
The groups are calling for product boycotts.
A petition at AllOut.org thanking EA for its decision to allow same-sex relationships has more than 60,000 signatures.
Last year, the Florida Family Association spent $7,000 to fly banners over Orlando for two days to warn residents of the upcoming “Gay Day” at Walt Disney World.
The Family Research Council has been designated as an anti-gay “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.