Electronic Arts employees have threatened to strike over the company’s inaction during Pride Month.
The plan was expressed in a message sent to EA’s internal Slack group, seen by GamesIndustry.bizin which employees shared concerns about the publisher’s vague plans to support LGBTQ+ initiatives in June.
In the same message, employees threatened to go on strike if the company didn’t take enough action to back a blog post about the upcoming Pride celebrations.
“When we see the company wash its logo rainbow colors without making a substantive statement in support of trans people who are being abused nationwide in the US and elsewhere, especially after declaring that the company does not want to make a statement that is not made by the different points of view is supported by our 13,000 employees, we will go together on Friday, April 3.
“Just putting a rainbow on our logo in June without any further action is unacceptable.”
Shortly after the news was shared, another email was sent to EA’s social teams detailing what employees can and can’t post during Pride month.
“As most of you know, many companies lean into the Pride celebration on June 1st — often with limited effort beyond rainbow washing their social media profiles,” the email reads. “As the month begins, we want to make sure our efforts to celebrate the pride are meaningful.”
The email didn’t provide details on what specific actions the company plans to take, but said that “more will be shared this week” about what EA has planned to celebrate Pride internally.
It also included guidance on what EA executives, studios and franchises can do to support Pride externally.
The guidelines seen by GamesIndustry.biz states that messages and graphics shared online “may not be political in nature” and requests that proposed copies/graphics be submitted to EA’s Corporate Communications team for review before being shared.
It states that EA “strongly recommends activities that go beyond verbal support for Pride,” which includes sharing in-game activities related to the cause and directing players to resources to learn about Pride. Employees are also encouraged to share other efforts EA has made in the past to support Pride.
In a FAQ below, the email grants EA staff and the brand’s social channels permission to Tweet and Retweet social posts in support of LGBTQIA+ and trans rights, “provided it’s authentic to your community and the.” Brand”.
One employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, told us that the timing of these events “feels very hectic and haphazard to prevent the strike.”
The email follows a roundtable held by the company on May 24, at which the company said it would not comment on issues such as trans and abortion rights. During the town hall, Mala Singh, EA’s Chief People Officer, said the company will only speak up if it “actually has a positive impact” and the message has a “consistent perspective” for EA’s 13,000 employees worldwide.
“The thing about the world today is that there are many divisions, we know that right, we see it every day, but what unites us is that we are all here to make amazing games and experiences for our players, and that’s how we have the most positive impact on the world,” Singh said at the time, according to a transcript obtained by Kotaku.
“These things are tough and they’re personal and we all have our own perspectives and sometimes we don’t speak and that’s going to be annoying and I get that, we really do.”
Nevertheless, Respawn boss Vince Zampella posted a tweet in support of trans rights earlier this week.
“Trans rights are human rights,” wrote Zampella. “It’s that simple. Respawn has grown on the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion and strives to uphold those values. Let’s be better people.”
To update: An EA employee has since said that the strike – originally meant to draw attention to the hypocrisy of rainbow washing while refusing to make a broader public statement – was called off after EA leadership said they would not company-wide rainbow logo month for Pride.