Employees at Sony Group Corporation say they are outaged over an email the head of PlayStation sent encouraging staff to “respect differences of opinion” regarding abortion rights before launching into five ill-timed paragraphs about his two cats’ first birthdays.
In the email staff received on Thursday that was shown to Bloomberg, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan begins his message by acknowledging the recently leaked Supreme Court opinion that was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that guaranteed the right to an abortion.
Ryan remained neutral on his stance over abortion rights in the email to employees, noting that the company’s community are “multi-faceted and diverse, holding many different points of view.”
He went on to say, “we owe it to each other and to PlayStation’s millions of users to respect differences of opinion among everyone in our internal and external communities. Respect does not equal agreement. But it is fundamental to who we are as a company and as a valued global brand.”
The company leader then suddenly switched topics, telling his employees he “would like to share something lighthearted to help inspire everyone to be mindful of having balance that can help ease the stress of uncertain world events.”
He then dove into a story about the recent first birthdays his two cats celebrated.
Gushing over his furry friends, Ryan boasted about getting birthday cakes for his cats, described the noises they made and even revealed his dreams of owning a dog one day.
Ryan never took a concrete stance on abortion rights in the correspondence. He did go into detail about pets, declaring that “dogs really are man’s best friend, they know their place, and perform useful functions like biting burglars and chasing balls that you throw for them.”
Employees at multiple PlayStation studios expressed being put off by the tone of the email, according to internal company discussions viewed and reported on by Bloomberg.
Some female employees wrote that they felt their rights were disrespected by the message. Another employee shared they’d “never been so mad about a cat birthday before.”
Though PlayStation hasn’t taken public a stance on abortion rights, other companies in the video game industry have.
Notably, Bungie Inc, the developer of the Destiny game and a company that Sony agreed to buy earlier this year for $3.6 billion, blasted the government’s decision as “a direct attack on human rights” in a blog post last week. The post was met with positive reactions on social media.
“Standing up for reproductive choice and liberty is not a difficult decision to make,” Bungie said in the post.