Who is waging the public opinion battle between anti-gay “family values” groups and the video game creators who dared to allow same-sex romance in their massive new Star Wars game? The anti-gay crowd says the Star Wars defenders are getting help from spam-bots. (Would they be spam-droids?)
Anti-gay controversy over The Old Republic began in January, with the Family Research organisation targeting EA with letter-writing protests. The pro-family group claimed that EA bowed to pressure to include a story path that would let characters of the same gender get into a romantic relationship. Then, the Florida Family Association jumped on the same bandwagon and urged like-minded individuals to write more correspondance. The goal of these letters to EA is to get the company to stop putting LGBT characters into Star Wars games, as they’d supposedly damage the minds of any young people playing them.
EA has responded to these campaigns by calling them “political harassment”. In response to the EA mail-attacks, LGBT activism organisation AllOut launched a counter-offensive in the form of an online petition. Celebrities like Stephen Fry have rallied people on Twitter to go onto AllOut and sign the petition, which needs 75,000 signatures to send iconic Jedi master Yoda to EA’s corporate headquarters to deliver a message in support of LGBT characters and relationships in the company’s games .
UPDATE: AllOut.org has temporarily disabled the campaign page of its website due to a cyber attack by hackers. In the attack, hackers added roughly 3000-5000 comments and signatures onto the petition. AllOut.org is currently in the process of removing those signatures, but can verify that over 60,000 members have sign onto the petition and continue to urge Electronic Arts to stay away from the dark side.
AllOut’s statement also indicated that the organisation’s had no contact with EA so far. Complicating matters further, EA has been accused of using the anti-homophobia statements as a smokescreen to distract people from unpopular business practices and their recent naming as the Worst Company in America in a Consumerist poll.
Kotaku has reached out to Electronic Arts, the Family Research Council and the Florida Family Association for comment and will update the story if we hear back.