Bungie Stands by Pro-Choice Statement Amidst Reported Sony “Muzzle”

Bungie CEO and Community Manager both promise not to stay silent about social issues.

Bungie Senior Community Manager Dylan Gafner, better known by the username “dmg04,” asserts that the company won’t budge on its pro-choice stance toward reproductive rights. On May 17, he tweeted, “There will never be a ‘muzzle’ big enough to stop us from standing up for what is right.” Shortly after, Bungie CEO Pete Parsons reinforced this position, replying with a simple, “yes.”

The muzzle in question likely refers to Sony, the company currently attempting to buy the creators of Destiny and Halo. According to a Bloomberg report last week, Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan sent out a memo asking members of the company to “respect differences of opinion” concerning abortion, before changing topics to multiple paragraphs about his cats. It was poorly received not just by fans, but also by employees, and left internal developers unsure of how to move forward. Since then, more reports have come forward about Sony’s internal response, alleging that studios have been asked to keep at least partially quiet about donations to abortion rights charities.

According to a recent report from The Washington Post, Insomniac (developer of Sony titles like Spider-Man and Rachet and Clank) intends to donate $50,000 to the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP). However, if the WWRAP decides to make any sort of announcement about it, Insomniac employees are forbidden from explicitly mentioning Insomniac or Sony. In fact, all of Sony’s internal development teams have reportedly been instructed not to tweet about the issue. Insomniac CEO Ted Price reportedly opposed this, stating, “We fought hard for this and we did not win.” Despite insisting on Insomniac’s silence, Sony intends to match their donations. They also have plans to provide financial assistance to employees that might need to travel for reproductive care.

Unlike Sony’s mixed messaging, Bungie’s initial statement comes out in full support of reproductive rights. In addition to the assertions that Roe v. Wade is a “blow to freedom in America and is a direct attack on human rights,” they also mention that “standing up for reproductive choice and liberty is not a difficult decision to make.”

This is fairly standard procedure for Bungie, actually. The company has reportedly reckoned with internal issues in the past. But just as recently, the live game developer hasn’t shied away from making its stance on social issues clear and public in the past several years, despite some folks online deploying that old demand to just “stick to games.” Besides the statement on abortion rights, the developer also sold Black Lives Matter-themed collectible pins and in-game Destiny emblems in 2020, with all profits being donated to the Equal Justice Initiative.

It’s quite nice to see a company standing up against social injustices in the United States at a time when the freedom and safety of the country’s people seem ever more perilous. It’s certainly a rare show of public support from a major player in the industry. It would be a shame if the company did wind up with a “muzzle” in the course of any sort of acquisition by Sony.