PlayStation to donate $50,000 after Jim Ryan email controversy; Insomniac sends dossier

Last week, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan sent a controversial email to company employees urging them to “respect differences of opinion” on the issue involving reproductive rights after a leak in the US Supreme Court suggested that justices intended to reverse the ruling in Roe v. Wade, which legalized access to abortion for all women.

“Respect does not equal agreement,” he wrote, according to Bloomberg. “But it’s fundamental to who we are as a company and a valuable global brand.”

The message – which reportedly included “five detailed paragraphs” about Ryan’s cats birthday – caused outrage among several PlayStation employees, including staff at one of the publisher’s main studios, Insomniac Games.

In response to this, in an internal email sent by Ted Price, CEO of Insomniac, to which The Washington Post had access, the developer of Marvel’s Spider-Man will donate $50,000 to the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project.

According to the same email, Sony will match the donation amount, as well as any and all individual donations made by studio employees through the company’s “PlayStation Cares” program.

Price further said that Insomniac sent a “nearly 60-page” dossier to PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst in which team members demanded that the company “do more for its employees directly affected” by the situation.

As a result, SIE now plans to work with Insomniac to create a scheme to provide financial support to its employees who need to leave their states of residence to receive reproductive care. However, Price said that PlayStation will not allow any of its studios to openly comment on reproductive rights.

He said “there will be material repercussions for us as a wholly owned subsidiary” if Insomniac decides to go against Sony’s wishes. Doing so would also complicate the chances of changing SIE’s approach and would likely result in the studio being “severely restricted from doing important public work in the future.”

Price further said that Sony “will not approve ANY statement from any studio on the topic of reproductive rights. We fought hard for it and we didn’t win.”

Finally, he added that “when it comes to our freedom of expression, while we have A LOT of autonomy that at various times we take it for granted, there are certain times when we need to recognize that we are part of a larger organization. For the most part our ability to tweet has not been limited. However, there are rare moments when we are in opposition (like this week) and SIE will have the final say.”

About Raju Singh

Raju has an exquisite taste. For him, video games are more than entertainment and he likes to discuss forms and art.

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