Sony Reportedly to Donate to Abortion Rights Groups While Silencing Employees

Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan.
Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan. / Alex Wong/GettyImages

Sony will match a $50,000 donation from its subsidiary Insomniac Games to the pro-choice organization, the Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, The Washington Post reports. But neither company will make a public statement to support the donation or its cause, as Sony continues to avoid choosing a side.

The donations come after several days of internal strife at Sony and among its studios. In the wake of a leaked Supreme Court opinion indicating the looming end of the right to an abortion established in Roe v. Wade, Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan sent a company-wide email asking employees to "respect differences of opinion" around abortion rights, Bloomberg reported. He exhorted employees to remain civil on the subject, and concluded the email with several paragraphs about his cats' birthdays.

Employees across PlayStation were incensed by Ryan's lighthearted missive, and Insomniac, best known for Ratchet and Clank and Marvel's Spider-Man, decided to donate $50,000 to the WRRAP. Sony will match that donation, plus any donations from individual Insomniac employees made via the company's PlayStation Cares program. Sony also has plans to build a framework that would provide financial assistance to employees needing to travel across state lines to get reproductive care. Insomniac will contribute to building that policy.

Despite those initiatives, Sony and Insomniac plan not to tweet about their donations, and the former has forbidden employees from mentioning either company if they retweet an announcement from the WRRAP.

Insomniac CEO Ted Price informed employees of all this in an email sent May 13. In that same email, he said the studio had sent a "near-60 page" document to PlayStation Studios head Herman Hulst of messages from employees calling on leadership, and Ryan in particular, to "do better by employees who are directly affected." The email also notes that Insomniac cannot make a statement about reproductive rights.

Price responded to a question about what would happen if Insomniac chose to tweet about the donation despite Sony's orders by saying "There would be material repercussions for us as a wholly owned subsidiary.

"Among other things, any progress that we might make in helping change [Sony's] approach would be stopped dead in its track. We'd also probably be severely restricted from doing important public-facing work in the future."

He continued: "[Sony] will not approve ANY statements from any studio on the topic of reproductive rights. We fought hard for this and we did not win."