EA’s LGBT stance is more important than you want to play marriage stories

Recently, EA revealed a wedding expansion pack for The Sims, which featured an interracial lesbian couple getting married in marketing and cover art. Shortly after its announcement, EA announced that it would not be on sale in Russia, and all hell broke loose. Many members of The Sims community actively boycotted the game, the pack, and EA over this removal, and in doing so they proved they had no sense of priorities, politics, or privilege above. beyond the possibility of playing a video game or not.

EA explains that the reason the pack won’t work in Russia is that “our storytelling would be subject to change due to federal laws.” It’s an excuse that holds water. Russia has repeatedly persecuted LGBT people and has often been fined, banned, or otherwise punished for racism at sporting events. It’s naive to think that a promoted pack with not just a lesbian married couple, but an interracial lesbian married couple, would be entirely kosher no questions asked. Of course, Simmer’s detectives are on the case. This thread, by Russian Simmer Alesya Mukhina, claims that while the English-language version mentions “federal laws”, the Russian-language version does not. Mistrustful? Barely.

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Let’s take these detectives at face value and say they’re right. EA is lying. If censorship isn’t the reason this pack isn’t being released in Russia, what is? What reason could EA have for cutting a major market and foregoing profits? If you can’t find an answer – and let’s face it, you can’t – you have no right to complain about it. Zero.


sims 4 wedding dom and cam walking down the wing

I work in games, so I see a lot of childish things. With the possible exception of NFTs, this might be the most pathetic thing I’ve seen all year. EA takes a stand against a nation where, without a doubt, LGBT people are persecuted. And your reaction is to scream that you won’t be able to play a single expansion of a single video game? Is that your limit on the things you’re willing to give up in the name of the alliance? To grow.


Of course, things are not perfect. We don’t know if EA was censored (i.e. someone from a Russian organization told them the pack wouldn’t be allowed) or self-censored (pulling the pack for avoid being censored), but that hardly matters. Clearer messaging might have helped, but if your number one priority in the world is playing The Sims without trivial issues like LGBT persecution getting in your way, I’m sure you would have found something else to complain about.


Sims 4 wedding dom cam old vow renewal

Again, EA is losing money in this deal. He is confident, perhaps because he was told outright by a Russian official, that the pack in its current form would not be allowed in the country. There are a few things he could do. It might only allow straight marriages in Russia, or it might change the marketing, or a number of other things that none of us outside know the details about. However, EA has decided that queer marriage, and the black queer woman in the foreground of the cover art, is a crucial part of this pack and is not prepared to separate it from the pack as a whole.


Had he caved, it would have underscored the idea that homosexual content is sinful and dirty (as suggestions about age or other restrictions would imply), as well as acceptance of the belief that marriage gay is less important than straight marriage (removing the couple from marketing or the entire pack would imply). EA has principles and sticks to them. You want him to break them, and by asking you admit that you care more about your own access to a video game than the persecution of LGBT people.

I know that corporations are not our friends. Someone in a suit somewhere probably had to be convinced that a black lesbian ticked the right demographic boxes. But whenever we talk about companies selling for Pride, we always point out how quick companies would be to take money from homophobes instead if there were more of them. But EA could have very quietly censored the pack to acceptable limits to sell it in Russia and the media coverage and community backlash would have been minimal. He had the chance to sell LGBT players downline for extra cash, and he instead opted to keep the boat at risk of losing profits. Corporations aren’t your friend, but I’d at least buy a drink from EA after this.



Sims 4 Wedding Ceremony with a Sim walking down the aisle

And that won’t make Putin change his mind about homosexuals. I don’t think anyone expects that. But this outrage could have been applied more effectively. The reason the pack isn’t in Russia, no matter what Simmer sleuths think, is because Russia is largely intolerant of LGBT people. EA can’t change that. The cultural boycott of South Africa (a collective movement of musicians, Hollywood, celebrities and sports teams who refused to visit the country) was an effective part of the struggle against apartheid. The Wedding Stories pack alone won’t change Russia, but if more sections of popular media stood up against injustice in the country, we might just get somewhere. But the animosity and pressure should be applied to the Russian government for its intolerance and persecution, not to a video game company that can’t come up with an expansion pack about gay marriage in a country that discriminates against gay people.


Oh, and if you’re one of those influencers who “stands with the Russian community on this,” which Russian community are you talking about? You are certainly not talking about LGBT Russians. If you’re one of those influencers and you’ve ever tweeted a platitude like “trans women are women”, “Black Lives Matter” or “love is love” – ​​and let’s be honest, you have all – you are a hypocrite and a seller of snake oil. The political minute becomes more than a slogan that every one of your followers agrees with and equates to every real action, you give in. You can support the persecuted gay community, or you can support a group of “persecuted” Simmers because they can’t play a single expansion pack on a video game. Is this activism for you? Take all those taglines out of your bio now and put them back in when your spine grows.


Promotional image for Sims 4 showing multiple Sims

There is only one counter-argument in all of this that makes sense: “what about other territories? “. That’s a big point, Russia isn’t the only place where LGBT people are persecuted, and EA even planned to launch into Russia before reversing that decision at the last minute. This suggests that he is not entirely out of covenant and is the result of pressure exerted. The only problem with the argument is that it proves that EA is powerless here, and couldn’t launch the pack in Russia anyway, and so throwing your anger at EA is even more pointless. That, and your reaction was not to stand up for persecuted gay people in other parts of the world, but to stand up for yourself and your right to play an expansion pack of a video game.


No doubt EA could have tweaked this pack somehow to hit digital shelves in Russia, but it’s sticking to its guns. I’m not surprised that taking a stance has confused and frustrated so many Sims players – they seem incapable of taking any stance themselves.

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