Sony has reportedly banned its subsidiaries from making public statements about the ongoing Roe v. Wade debate, and it is matching a donation from Insomniac Games to the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project.
Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court had an unprecedented leak of a draft opinion on an ongoing case. Politico reported that it appears the USSC intends to overturn Roe v. Wade when it makes a decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization this summer. While some game developers and publishers have made public statements opposing this decision, Sony has remained silent on the topic -- and a new report indicates that it is preventing its subsidiaries from making public statements, too.
What's Going On with Sony and the Roe v. Wade Debate?
As The Washington Post reports, an internal e-mail went out to PlayStation employees urging them to "respefct differences of opinion" on the topic of Roe v. Wade. The lack of a public statement -- combined with an attempt at levity by relating stories about cats -- was apparently not well-received by some employees. New details have since emerged that Sony is preventing its subsdiaries from making public statements on the topic.
Insomniac Games has decided to make a $50,000 donation to the Women's Reproductive Rights Assitance Project (WRRAP), a donation that Sony will match, along with donations made by individuals through its PlayStation cares program. However, internal discussions reportedly say that neither Sony nor Insomniac will be making public statements about Roe v. Wade or its donation to WRRAP -- a notion that reportedly did not sit well with Insomniac CEO Ted Price.
"[Sony] will not approve ANY statements from any studio on the topic of reproductive rights," Price reportedly said in an e-mail. "We fought hard for this and we did not win."
"As far as our freedom of speech goes, while we do have a LOT of autonomy that often gets taken for granted, there are times where we need to acknowledge we’re part of a larger organization,” Price wrote in the email. “For the most part our ability to tweet has been unfettered. However there are rare times when we’re in opposition (like this week) and SIE will have the final say."
Insomniac's dispute on the issue reportedly included a nearly 60 page document to PlayStation studios Hermen Hulst, with statements from Insomniac employees saying that leadership has to "do better by employees who are directly affected". Price also shot down the idea of going over Sony's head in a comment saying that doing so would restrict their ability to make changes at SIE, and likely limit their freedom to talk on future topics overall.
While Sony (and its subdiaries) remain silent on the subject of Roe v. Wade for the moment, other game developers did not hestitate to make their views known publicly.
"Standing up for reproductive choice and liberty is not a difficult decision to make, and Bungie remains dedicated to upholding these values," Bungie said in a statement on May 4, 2022. It followed the statement with several links to pro-choice charities. In the future, Bungie may not be able to make such declarations as it is currently being acquired by Sony.
Though there are not yet any pubic statements, Sony is apparently working on plans to assist employees who may be in situations where they would need to travel to other states to get an abortion or for other reproductive healthcare. However, it does not appear to have any plans in motion to make its stance on the subject known publicly.
Understandably, many employees appear to be upset about this decision. It's unclear if Sony will make any sort of public statement at a later date.