PlayStation president Jim Ryan has left staff fuming after asking them to "respect differences of opinion” over the eroding of abortion rights in the US.
Staff at Sony PlayStation have been left angered after PlayStation president, Jim Ryan, felt it appropriate to "inspire" his staff with stories of his two cats' birthdays in an email that also explained that the company would be taking a decidedly neutral stance on the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the US.
Originally reported in Bloomberg, an email addressing the recently leaked Supreme Court draft signaling that the court will overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision went out to PlayStation employees on Thursday (May 12). While many would have been hoping for a show of support for women's rights, Jim Ryan, instead, reportedly wrote of "respect[ing] differences of opinion" on the matter.
We owe it to each other and to PlayStation’s millions of users to respect differences of opinion among everyone in our internal and external communities. Respect does not equal agreement. But it is fundamental to who we are as a company and as a valued global brand.
That stance alone had the power to anger staff - the overturning of Roe v. Wade would turn abortion rights over to the States, endangering women's lives who will find it more difficult than ever to get access to safe, legal abortions - but it was his subsequent comments about his pets that really showed how out of touch Ryan is with his employees.
Jim Ryan Talks About His Cats' Birthdays
After asking to be allowed to sit on the fence on such an important matter, Jim Ryan then reportedly spent the next five paragraphs of the email imploring his staff to essentially look on the bright side as their fundamental human rights were stripped from them.
Wanting to share something to "inspire everyone to be mindful of having a balance that can help ease the stress of uncertain events", Ryan shared that his two cats recently had their first birthdays and that one day he dreams of owning a dog.
Jason Schreier, the reporter behind the Bloomberg piece, later tweeted more from the email with Ryan reportedly detailing what makes dogs such good pets.
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.
Ryan's musings on trivial matters reportedly angered employees, with Bloomberg reporting that one had “never been so mad about a cat birthday before.”
Employees across the United States and beyond are increasingly looking for their employers to take more action when it comes to such matters, but it seems like - at PlayStation at least - not rocking the boat is more important.
Sony-Owned Bungie Takes Different Stance
PlayStation's stance is in stark contrast to that taken by the game developer, Bungie, who were recently purchased by Sony in a $3.6B deal.
Shortly after the Supreme Court document was leaked on May 2, the Destiny 2 makers published a statement in support of reproductive rights and called the overturning of Roe v. Wade "a direct attack on human rights."
But few others have followed, seemingly scared of turning off a gaming audience that can all too often call for "politics" to be left out of the industry.
Whether Sony's purchase of Bungie will have a chilling effect on the way the studio approaches such divisive issues is not yet clear. You can only hope not, as when the issues are as important as this; silence is complicity.