In an internal Sony email first acquired by Bloomberg, PlayStation President and CEO Jim Ryan refused to take a position on the topic of abortion in light of the leaked Supreme Court draft that would overturn Roe v. Wade in the United States. Mentioning that he hopes that employees “respect differences of opinion,” Ryan then goes on to detail the birthday celebrations of his two pet cats in the following five paragraphs, resulting in a bizarre email that reportedly angered people within the company.
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Instead of taking a firm stance on the upsetting political issue of the moment (or simply staying silent as many company heads have since the leak), Ryan urged Sony workers to consider the many different viewpoints of PlayStation customers and how fundamental that respect is to Sony’s global branding. Then in an attempt to make a tough pivot and bring up something lighthearted, he also spoke at length about how he perceived dogs as useful for keeping burglars away and chasing balls in the yard. For the record, Ryan hopes to own a dog one day, but he does not have one currently.
Jim Ryan’s email, seen by Bloomberg News, does not take a stance on Roe v. Wade or abortion rights but does declare “that dogs really are man’s best friend, they know their place, and perform useful functions like biting burglars and chasing balls that you throw for them.”
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) May 12, 2022
Sony staffers are reportedly furious at the email, with one quoted as saying that they’d “never been so mad about a cat birthday before.” Other female employees felt as if their rights were disrespected or trivialized by an email that rebounds between political discussion and an essay that could see print in Cat Fancy magazine.
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Despite Sony’s nonresponse to the issue, a studio it now owns has been more forthcoming with support. Destiny developer Bungie put out a post last week saying that the Supreme Court decision was a “direct attack on human rights,” and vowed to back anyone it employs who needs aid regarding reproductive choice.
Double Fine Productions, known for games like Psychonauts and Broken Age, also released an all-caps statement in support of women’s reproductive rights, saying that the impending decision to overturn Roe v. Wade would “deny people their human rights.” ArenaNet, the developer behind Guild Wars, tweeted a simpler statement: “Your Body, Your Right.” When prompted by The Washington Post, other companies like Microsoft voiced support for such reproductive health services, but haven’t made public statements as fierce as the previous three examples.