EA Donates $US1 Million To Fight Racial Injustice, Launches Volunteering Program

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EA Donates $US1 Million To Fight Racial Injustice, Launches Volunteering Program

Game companies and publishers around the world are making their feelings clear about the protests in the United States. Some companies have postponed announcements and events to highlight “more important conversations”, while others are matching employee donations and supporting charities combating racial injustice. And earlier Wednesday morning, EA management circled around a note to all staff confirming that EA would financially and physically support the Black Lives Matter movement.

The note to staff, which EA posted publicly around noon Australian time, says EA will donate $US1 million directly to the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund and Equal Justice Initiative. Furthermore, EA has pledged to double match any employee donations made in June through EA’s YourCause program, established for EA’s full-time (but not part-time) donate to local not-for-profits in the arts, education, health, human services, environmental and other charities.

Andrew Wilson, EA’s chief executive, added that all EA full-time staff would get “an additional paid day each year” to volunteer to their local communities. Spread across EA’s worldwide staff, the initiative would add more than 75,000 volunteering hours. “The biggest impact can often be felt at local levels, and we encourage everyone to safely get involved,” Wilson said.

EA will also hold a company-wide Community Conversation for all employees, focusing on tackling bias, injustice and discrimination. “We’ve long held equality, inclusion and diversity at the centre of our beliefs at Electronic Arts. Let’s stand together, act together, and drive change together,” Wilson wrote.

Wilson’s full email to staff can be read below.

We are in the midst of a global outcry for change. The pain and anger over the senseless and tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement, and so many others before him, is driving some of the largest demonstrations in decades against the systemic racism present in the U.S. There is deep-rooted discrimination that is still unquestionably present towards the African-American / Black community, and it is unacceptable. Racism should not exist in our society. We stand with all of our African-American / Black colleagues and partners, families and friends, and everyone around the world who is ready to see it end.

Blake shared some thoughts last Friday on behalf of all of us on the executive team as protests around the U.S. began. Importantly, yesterday our African-American / Black employees came together in the first of several conversations we are holding over the course of the next week. Tomorrow, the executive team and I are meeting with the leadership of our Black Electronic Arts Team employee resource group to discuss our path forward as individuals, as a company, and as a community working towards change. We’ve also heard from many of you with notes sharing your feelings, perspectives and ideas on the role we can play. Thank you to everyone that has spoken up, and we encourage you all to do so. This dialogue is vital if we are to understand the evolving challenges faced by our African-American / Black community, and the privilege and unconscious bias present in our world.

However, we must also go beyond listening and talking and commit ourselves to education and driving meaningful change through actions. We need to do more, and must do more. This is a long-term commitment, and I want to share some additional steps we are taking today.

We’re contributing $1 million to organisations dedicated to the fight for racial justice in the U.S. and against discrimination around the world. Beginning with the Equal Justice Initiative, the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, and with more partners to come, we are deepening our support of organisations working to stop systemic racial injustice, fight discrimination and protect human rights in the U.S. and beyond. In addition to our company contribution, we’ll double match any funds that you donate to these and any other local organizations through our YourCause program during the month of June.

In addition to supporting these organisations, driving change needs action from us all. The biggest impact can often be felt at local levels, and we encourage everyone to safely get involved. To that end, we’re launching a new program to give everyone in the company an additional paid day each year to apply to volunteering in your community. With all of our employees around the world, that will represent more than 75,000 hours applied to the change we can make. In the coming days, we’ll share a list of volunteer activities focused on fighting racial injustice, most of which can be undertaken from home while we still follow pandemic health guidelines. Then, on June 19, we will celebrate the Juneteenth holiday with an additional company-wide volunteering day, and participate in forums and virtual activities organized by our Black Electronic Arts Team ERG. We’ll share more details on all of this next week.

On June 9, we’re holding a Community Conversation open to the entire company. I look forward to seeing and hearing from many of you about your thoughts and feelings on these issues, what we can do in our community at Electronic Arts, and where we must focus our efforts to make an impact fighting bias, discrimination and injustice in today’s world.

In the meantime, please continue to be here for each other. Join the Black Electronic Arts Team and our other ERGs, and take it upon yourself to be an ally that can amplify the voices of underrepresented groups. If you are feeling alone, afraid or struggling amongst all of this, please let us know. We are here for you. We stand with you.

Black Lives Matter. Racial justice matters. We’ve long held equality, inclusion and diversity at the center of our beliefs at Electronic Arts. Let’s stand together, act together, and drive change together.

CD Projekt Red Delays Cyberpunk 2077 Show To Highlight 'More Important Discussions'

As America continues to struggle with the ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd, the games industry has responded with a overflowing amount of support for those calling for change. Part of that, however, has meant a shift in priorities for many. This week, that's resulted in a lot of cancellations and delays, including Cyberpunk 2077's upcoming announcements.

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Comments

  • I hope i don’t steer the conversation in the wrong direction by saying this – but i do find myself feeling very cynical when things like this blow up and all the big corporations jump on board. I can just imagine their media and marketing departments holding meetings to discuss a “comms strategy” etc. It all comes across as very contrived. All the issues being discussed now existed well before this current incident and everyone knew about them. Did the virtue signalling companies care about the “important discussion” before it became a massive news story? I just find it odd.

    • It’s healthy to be sceptical about the motives for announcements like this, but the donation is going to have a positive impact. And it isn’t like this is Epstein-style tainted money.

      I do think it is interesting that so many companies have come out and made similar public statements recently. I usually expect companies to stay quiet on political issues on the basis that businesses usually benefit from the status quo and any statement could piss off part of their customer base.

      We’ve reached a point where one of a number of things must have happened: (1) businesses are no longer benefiting from the status quo, (2) there is now a big enough downside to not speaking up, or (3) the businesses believe that a change to the status quo is coming.

      • the problem is thus, do these organisations actually help anyone? especially right now. if someone wanted to point fingers and call savage the rioters just going to prove their point. tossing millions of dollars around won’t help if attitudes don’t change and people do stupid things that wind and progress back decades.

        honestly seems like every time there is an outcry against some racial predjudice we get a bunch of morons running around as if to justify that prejudice in the first place. I don’t know why they do. It feels like the only conclusion I can come to is that someone is trying to stir up people so nothing ever gets done.

        that and the blatent over the top calls people toss out. saying an entire states police department hates black people is a generalisation that only makes people less enthusiastic about helping people that only ever spit bile at them.

        • Taking the organisations named in the EA press release, they both have long track records of fighting civil rights and voting rights cases:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Justice_Initiative
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NAACP_Legal_Defense_and_Educational_Fund

          Giving them more resources probably will have a measurable impact. The voting rights cases seem particularly important in a country without compulsory voting, where politicians use barriers to voting as a way to pick their constituency.

          • at a cursory glance those probably are some of the better track recorded insitutions. don’t seem to have a large controversy attached either, so already better than many organisations.

            not sure how effective the money will actually be but, at least these ones seem to have successes you can get on board with.

    • With you on that, don’t think it’s necessarily virtue signaling all the time but in this case I think it kind of is, it’s not like all this wasn’t already an issue. Though I’m probably just being cynical as well

      Like if it’s a natural disaster that has come out of the blue, it could be seen as good PR for them to donate but also they might just be showing compassion and solidarity.

    • Surely a company saying the right things for cynical reasons is better than a company not taking any kind of stand at all.

      And just because you haven’t personally been a human rights crusader your whole life doesn’t mean you can’t express your support for people who have been and the issues that they are campaigning on. EA are speaking up right now precisely because now is the time to declare where you or your company stand.

      Cynicism is just a modern day synonym for apathy. If someone’s motivations in doing good are constantly questioned we may as well all give up and go home.

      And like a lot of current alt-right phraseology, you misuse the term “virtue signalling” to pretty much encompass anyone anytime that expresses support for social justice issues. No, EA are not “virtue signalling”.

      Virtue signalling is where someone makes meaningless, instinctive gestures out of habit, such as saying “god bless” every time somebody sneezes. Virtue signalling is not donating $1 million and 75,000 staff hours annually to relevant causes, amongst many other commitments detailed in the EA press release. What this, in fact, is literally the opposite of virtue signalling. EA are actually putting their money where their mouth is.

      • Yeah for sure, completely agree. I guess my feeling more stems from the random “black lives matter” still shot that appeared on Channel 10 late last night. It just struck me as…. quite shallow? And reactive? Where are the messages to support horrifically abused minorities in China for instance? I dunno, hard to express exactly what i mean. And like i said, i don’t wait to steer the conversation away from more important points.

        • I’m not sure what media you’ve been watching, but mine have been virtually wall to wall with coverage of China’s oppression of Uighurs, of Chinese crackdowns in Hong Kong, and every time the Dalai Lama comes up we get another dozen articles about Chinese oppression in Tibet.

          Covering one social justice issue doesn’t preclude coverage of other social justice issues, but if you’re arguing that in order to discuss one particular social justice issue we need to acknowledge every other social justice issue at the exact same time, well, that Channel 10 coverage you were watching would still be running this time next year.

      • Yeah in a pleasantly bizarre twist EA seems to be one of companies that aren’t just virtue signalling.

        Really though, it just makes me think about all the shit that might actually get done if all those who do virtue signal did something tangible beyond posting their “thoughts and prayers!” type shtick in order to get pats on the back for how much they supposedly care.

        It is hard sometimes to have faith though when you see people get their heads bitten off genuinely trying to offer support, because they are supporting ‘incorrectly’ or such according to some random idiots that saw their attempt.

        Friend of mine recently got shouted down for linking to resources and charity groups that were lobbying for black lives matter and police reform in the US. All because he was white and so who was he to ‘tell people what to do’. It completely blew my mind as I watched it unfold. Like at the bare minimum at least just don’t piss on those actually bothering to try.

        • It’s always struck me as ironic that the ‘thoughts and prayers’ crowd are so obsessed with ‘virtue signalling’ given how often they are guilty of it themselves. FFS, every time an article related to social justice appears forums everywhere overload with commentators falling over each other to virtuously signal how appalled they are at being forced to read such blasphemy.

        • Do consider that what you call “virtue signaling” from those who don’t have a million dollars or the time and attention of hundreds of employees is precisely the message that those big companies are getting that tells them that it’s a good investment.

          Agree on your point regarding shutting down those trying to help, like your friend. I imagine that there are some people like that indeed, but I also have seen tons of examples of individuals and whole communities recognizing and thanking the efforts of white (or whatever) allies.

    • We must focus on the results. We can speculate about intentions and motivations and be right or wrong, but the end result is the same net positive. Moreover, when expectedly cynically profit-driven companies such as this one join a progressive cause it is a good indicator of a cultural shift, which they themselves amplify and accelerate. In other words, they are betting that X progressive cause is of interest to a significant amount of the population, thus there’s money to be made. This is a GOOD thing, as it helps the matter be normalized among those who are not yet too gung-ho about it.

  • how about they donate some money to cover the costs of rebuilding everything burnt down, or buying new police cars to replace the ones the rioters destroyed? maybe cover the costs of some of the business which have been looted?
    since when did it become appropriate to encourage such poor behaviour and celebrate it?

    • Probably because they – rightly – recognise that simply replacing damaged property and the causes of riots doesn’t actually go towards fixing the root of why those riots are happening in the first place.

      • i think they should do neither. theyre a game publisher. its not their job to do either of these things. just pointing out the stupidity of it. its not as if anyone is looking to EA to provide guidance in anyones time of need…

      • no but, the rioters also destroy their own communities. how many people are going to be financially destroyed now? most of those people rioting are now better off than those they targeted. More over attacking police and other public properties only means less government funding going to people that really need it.

        the riots aren’t helping. they are only causing more problems. at least helping people not lose their livelyhoods would be helpful. I’m not saying don’t donate to these other organisations but, you aren’t fixing anything by tearing everything down.

        • You aren’t fixing anything by rebuilding a few corner stores when the real issue is centuries of systematic discrimination and a hyper-militarised police force that is so bad at its job that many of the people they are sworn to protect are more terrified of the police than they are of the criminals.

          • so screw people who have lost everything because a bunch of sick and twisted people decide to take it. people who as a pretty damn facifistic guy, make me want to smash their faces in with the bricks they loot with. that’s how badly these people infuriate me. there a no words to describe how heated they get me. screw them because next to such an abstract concept that big they aren’t worth a damn. go on. tell them to their faces that money that could help them rebuild their lives is going to a service that may never be of help to them.

          • So screw people who have lost ‘everything’ because a bunch of sick and twisted people employed as police officers decide to smash their car, Taser them and even kill them for going about their life while black. Seriously, the person who has literally lost everything is George Floyd, because he’s dead.

            And actually, I’m not arguing anything of the sort that you are suggesting. Nobody said that shops shouldn’t get compensation. Many will have insurance and those that don’t will have other avenues of support such as, yes, donations, as well as other compensation such as victims of crime funds.

            It is you who are presenting a false dichotomy of it being either donating to shop owners or donating to the fight against systematic police racism, but not both. Actually, it can be both. The fact that you exclusively argue for one while effectively denying the other says all anyone needs to know about your personal interest in this issue.

            But look, it’s pretty clear from your comment that you’d have a great future as a police officer in the United States, if you were interested.

    • The only person encouraging poor behaviour is you. Buy new police cars? lol, that’s a laugh.

      There are thousands of peaceful protests and some riots. Some of the rioters are angry at police brutality and looking for an opportunity to lash out, some are opportunistic criminals, some are known right wing provocateurs. Some are black and some are white. None are being ‘encouraged’ by anyone.

      Many ‘riots’ are actually violent and hyper-militarized police forces storming completely peaceful protests with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, fists and truncheons, sometimes because arsehole presidents want a photo op in front of a church clutching a bible they don’t even subscribe to, and sometimes just because the police don’t particularly like the fact that the protests are about them.

      If you’ve watched the coverage you’ve seen dozens of journalists roughed up by violent cops, in several cases Australian journalists clearly identified as press and simply doing their job, and thousands of innocent civilians roughed up simply for exercising their constitutional right to peaceful protest. Sometimes they’re being roughed up simply for the crime of driving home from university while black.

      And if you’ve watched the coverage you would have seen a police officer without a single ounce of compassion press his knee hard into the neck of a black man in full view of dozens of witnesses and cameras for nine straight minutes until he died of asphyxiation.

      Since when, indeed, did it become appropriate to encourage such poor behaviour and celebrate it?

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