EA – one of the world’s largest video games companies – has defended itself against “several thousand” complaints it has received for the inclusion of LGBT content in its recent games releases.
"This isn't about protecting children, it's about political harassment," Jeff Brown, VP of corporate communications for EA told Games Industry International.
"Every one of EA's games includes ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) content descriptors so it's hard to believe anyone is surprised by the content."
In EA's role-playing games (RPGs) such as Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic, players can customise their character's gender, physiology and race. As such, the opportunity to engage in same-sex romances can appear throughout the main storyline mission depending on the chosen gender of the player' in-game character.
A right-wing conservative group called The Florida Family Association is thought to be responsible the complaints campaign, which saw high-ranking staff members at EA bombarded with letters, emails and calls from "concerned" parents, alleging that EA games like Star Wars and Mass Effect are "forcing" LGBT content on young gamers.
Matt Kane, Associate Director of Entertainment Media for GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), told Games Industry international that the failure of similar homophobia campaigns against Starbucks and JC Penney/ Ellen Degeneres show that the majority Americans are supportive of LGBT issues.
"Anti-LGBT campaigns are falling into a pretty consistent pattern these days, in which messages of hate directed at our allies are met with an overwhelming outpouring of support for our allies in response."
"Trying to rally Americans around messages rooted in hate is a losing proposition."