Electronic Arts (EA) is being thanked
for including gay themes in its games after social conservatives
launched a campaign to pressure the gamemaker to drop gay characters.
Tony Perkins, president of the
Christian conservative Family Research Council (FRC), is among those
criticizing EA for allowing players to enter gay relationships in the
video games Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3.
“In a new Star Wars game, the
biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists!” Perkins
said in a January radio bulletin.
The Florida Family Association has also
called on members to complain to EA.
“LGBT extremists pressure Star
Wars video game maker to commit to add LGBT content and censor
critics,” the group said on its website. “An overwhelming
percentage of the 1.7 million games sold are being used by children
who do not need to be introduced to this propaganda.”
“If BioWare … adds LGBT characters
for kids to select as their action character it could be something
like Darth RuPaula, a combination of Darth Vader, one of the most
popular Star Wars characters, and RuPaul, the renown
transgender cross dresser,” the
EA Vice President of Corporate
Communications Jeff Brown called the campaign “political
harassment” and defended the company's actions.
“[W]e do put options for same-sex
relationships in our games; we don't tolerate hate speech on our
forums,” Brown told GameIndustry.biz.
In response, gay rights advocate
AllOut.org launched a
petition on its website “demanding Electronic Arts resist the
power of the Dark Side.”
“Electronic Arts customers are
speaking out loud and clear: Being for equality is good for
business. Groups like the Family Research Council are truly on the
'dark side' – they put pressure on companies like EA to block fair,
balanced portrayals of gay characters in gaming and other media.
You don't have to be a gamer to understand that it makes a real
difference for Electronic Arts to present positive portrayals of gays
and lesbians to its community of 100 million players,” said Andre
Banks, executive director of AllOut.org.
AllOut.org said on Tuesday that it was
forced to disable its online petition two days after being posted due
to a spam attack. Before the action, more than 68,600 people had
joined in thanking EA for standing up against homophobia.