AllOut.org, an online advocacy group representing the LGBT community, issued a press release last week announcing an online petition with over 60,000 signatures supporting Electronic Arts' and BioWare's inclusion of same-sex relationships in its games. Last week EA responded to a flood of letters and emails from two family advocacy groups haranguing them for "exposing children" to same-sex relationships in games like Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic and accused them of giving in to pressure from LGBT advocacy groups. EA strongly denied that charge, simply saying that the decision to include such content in "mature" rated games is their prerogative as game creators.
In a press release issued Friday headlined "AllOut.org Thanks Electronic Arts (EA) for Standing Up For LGBT Youth, Visibility," the group thanked EA for its support and said that it had helped support an online petition expressing gratitude to the company for its efforts.
"Electronic Arts customers are speaking out loud and clear: Being for equality is good for business," Andre Banks, executive director for AllOut.org said in the press release. "Groups like the Family Research Council are truly on the ‘dark side’ – they put pressure on companies like EA to block fair, balanced portrayals of gay characters in gaming and other media. 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."
"We are not arguing that Electronic Arts is a perfect company, but we know that today, on this issue, they are taking an important stand that should be celebrated and supported," Banks added.
But an update to the press release revealed that the online petition had been tampered with by outside sources:
"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."