Real Life Battle Over Cyber Romances

A conservative group is boycotting EA for including gay characters in a video game.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Screenshot/Star Wars: The Old Republic
    "Star Wars: The Old Republic" will feature gay characters and story lines in the game.

    A conservative Florida group has boycotted the video game giant Electronic Arts over a new “Star Wars” game that features gay characters and story lines.
     
    The Florida Family Association (FFA) called for the boycott of “Star Wars: The Old Republic” and “Mass Effect 3” because the games are set to add gay characters, according to reports.  
     
    “There were no LGBT characters in any of the Star Wars movies,” the group said on its website in a post that featured an altered photo of Darth Vader with RuPaul’s head. 

    The group charged that EA relented to pressure from the LGBT community, but EA said the decision to include gay characters was their own.

    “EA has not been pressured by any groups to include LGBT characters in our games,” Jeff Brown, EA’s Vice President of Corporate Communications told  GamesIndustry. “However, we have met with LBGT groups and sponsored industry forums to discuss content and harassment of players in online forums. In short, we do put options for same-sex relationships in our games; we don't tolerate hate speech on our forums."

    AllOut.org, an organization dedicated to LGBT equality, said in a statement that the decision to include gay characters was not just the right thing to do but also good business.

    “You don’t have to be a gamer to understand that it makes a real difference for Electronic Arts to present positive portrayals of gays and lesbians to its community of 100 million players,” Andre Banks, the Executive Director for AllOut.org said in the statement, which was posted on AllOut's Tumblr.

    The FFA, meanwhile, is asking its subscribers to send EA an email that the group drafted against the inclusion of gay characters in video games. But the FFA is not allowing members to change the pre-written email.

    “Because opponents try to use our email system to send opposing messages we NO longer allow for changes in the wording of the subject line or message of the email prepared for you to send to advertisers,” the FFA said on its website.

    “Star Wars: The Old Republic” is available for purchase online and it’s unclear when the new characters will be introduced to the game.