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Bungie CEO and CM Says They Won't be Muzzled Once Sony Acquisition Closes

Bungie CEO and CM Says They Won't be Muzzled Once Sony Acquisition Closes - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 17 May 2022 / 1,845 Views

There has been some controversial over at Sony Interactive Entertainment over the last week with PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan telling staff in an internal email to "respect differences of opinion" when it comes to abortion rights. There were employees at "several" first-party PlayStation studios that were upset with the tone of the email and felt their rights were "disrespected" or had been "trivialized."

A leaked email earlier this week said that PlayStation first-party studio Insomniac Games plans to donate $50,000 to Women's Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP) and Sony plans to match the donation from Insomniac, as well as donations from Insomniac employees made using the PlayStation Cares program.

However, employees at Insomniac have been forbidden from mentioning Insomniac or Sony if they were to retweet any announcement made by the WRRAP. Insomniac CEO Ted Price said the company is not allowed to make any statements about its donation or reproductive rights. He also doesn't think it is a good idea for the developer to go over Sony's head.

Destiny developer Bungie, who is in the middle of being acquired by PlayStation, has stated it is "committed to safeguarding the freedom and privacy of its employees and providing support to all employees affected by this decision."

Senior Community Manager at Bungie via Twitter said," We are, and will continue to be, Bungie. There will never be a 'muzzle' big enough to stop us from standing up for what’s right."

Bungie CEO Pete Parsons agreed with the tweet by responding with a simple "yes."


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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40 Comments
Qwark (on 18 May 2022)

If they don't want to be muzzled they shouldn't let themselves be acquired. At the end of the day money will always be more powerful than principles. People seem to forget that principles are only worth a damn if you stand by them even if it costs you (a lot).

  • +14
mjk45 Qwark (on 18 May 2022)

Exactly, what they do as private citizens is their concern but if it involves the company or corporate finances then it is only right that Sony be part of the policy especially when it involves an ongoing Sony program and they don't want the additional support for their workforce turned into a political football the bungie side comes across as a give us the money your jobs done now fuck off attitude.

  • +6
Zkuq Qwark (on 18 May 2022)

Bungie can definitely affect things here though.

  • +1
pitzy272 (on 18 May 2022)

I respect Sony for not wanting to get political. I wish more companies were that way. I’m pro choice (within reason), but I’ve been quite confused at this whole controversy with Jim Ryan’s email. What the hell is wrong with asking people to respect differences of opinion? We need WAY more of this mindset.

Even though I’m pro choice, I can understand why people disagree with it; it involves taking a life/future life, which is freakin heavy stuff. I don’t understand why there seems to be this general attitude that the concept of someone being pro life is so egregious.

  • +9
DonFerrari (on 18 May 2022)

If Bungie thinks they are "bigger" than the company who own them and doesn't follow the policies of the corporation who own them, quite possibly the deal may be undone or after purchase the heads may be cut. Let's see how this will play out.

  • +6
Zkuq DonFerrari (on 18 May 2022)

They can definitely affect how things play out though.

  • +1
DonFerrari Zkuq (on 18 May 2022)

Sure can. But if any employee thinks its voice is above company policies he will be for a nice surprise. There is a difference between using the internal mechanisms to be heard and openly challenging the leadership or even worse the company official standing.

  • +2
Zkuq DonFerrari (on 18 May 2022)

Sure, but it's not like Sony can simply dictate and expect Bungie to roll over. If Bungie resists and things escalate, Sony might end up having to fire personnel, which it might not be willing to do very eagerly. I assume Sony is not interested in Bungie just because of Destiny, it's probably because of talent as well. I'm not saying Bungie can dictate the terms, but it's not that simple for Sony either. If interests collide, the end result might end up somewhere between.

  • +1
DonFerrari Zkuq (on 18 May 2022)

Again, very much true. But if your subordinate is unwilling to follow policies and you change the policy to please them or let them public state they aren't going to follow you can bet the loses are much higher than either firing these people or even not buying the company. One of the worse type of employee you can have is one that brings disrupt to teamwork.

  • +1
Zkuq DonFerrari (on 18 May 2022)

I don't really disagree, but dictating from above against great pushback is not necessarily a great way to lead either - nor is it really teamwork. There are situations where it might make sense for Sony to intervene more strongly, and there are situations where it might not. Personally I'm going to assume that internally, Bungie is doing just fine (they've been handling their own hiring for a long time now, so they're probably fairly united at this point), so Sony probably has little go gain by intervening here.

  • +1
DonFerrari Zkuq (on 19 May 2022)

As I said, if Bungie voices internally their disagreement towards policies and procedures from PS or Sony that is one thing and the right mechanism. But if Sony on the open say that the company policy is X then employees/subsidiaries say "fuck that we disagree and this is what we are going to do" it is a totally different thing. You can even see on the Insomniac case, both Insomniac and Sony donated 50k for the abortion cause but demanded that no employee disclose that or mention the name of either company if they retweet stuff from the group they donated to. Sony internally have a program to support employees that want to do abortion but legally can't on their state so they can go to a different one, but public they are neutral on the subject (and on Jim he want that no one uses its own believes or other believes in a way that is disrespectful against one other).

  • 0
Zkuq DonFerrari (on 19 May 2022)

Fair enough. It's a fine line to tread for sure.

  • +4
Azzanation DonFerrari (on 18 May 2022)

Whats the difference with this topic and what happen to Blizzard and that eSports player? Free speech is free speech. Silencing opinions is still silencing opinions.

  • -2
DonFerrari Azzanation (on 19 May 2022)

Your freedom of speech and opinion applies to you individually, but if you openly challenge your employee there will be consequences.

  • +2
Azzanation DonFerrari (on 19 May 2022)

Is the employee trying to silence them?

  • -3
DonFerrari Azzanation (on 19 May 2022)

Do you mean employer? No Sony isn't seeking to silence anyone. But no employee have the right to speak in the name of the company without permission or to speech in opposition of the company without permission.

  • +3
Azzanation DonFerrari (on 19 May 2022)

If Sony isnt silencing Bungie than there is no problem. Also Bungie wont be speaking on Sonys behalf, they will be speaking on Bungies.

  • 0
DonFerrari Azzanation (on 19 May 2022)

Bungie is a company (not a person), and they as corporation will belong to Sony after the deal is closed. So when company say they won't position to one side or another it isn't the place of Bungie to do so. Similarly if an individual employee wants to be against Sony as individual they can, but if they link themselves to Sony they can't (and Bungie can't unlink them to Sony after purchase). Not sure what you are having difficult here. It is quite simple, if you don't agree with company policies you look for another place, and in this case if you want to keep your full autonomy don't accept the money to be purchased (you can't want both, to be paid to be part of something but only when you want).

  • +2
Zkuq DonFerrari (on 19 May 2022)

The position of a direct employee and a subsidiary are not comparable though. They are still two distinct companies, albeit in an asymmetric relationship, and there's a higher threshold in intervening in the actions of a subsidiary than those of a direct employee. It's up to Sony how high that threshold is, but I would expect it to be significantly higher than in the case of a direct employee.

  • +1
DonFerrari Zkuq (on 19 May 2022)

Of course they aren't, but that you would need to point to Azz not me as he is asking about freedom of speech for a branch of a parent company. But you can rest sure that in governance of subsidiary they have limitations. If they were 100% free to do whatever they want no matter what the parent company want them they would be an independent company not a subsidiary.

  • 0
Azzanation DonFerrari (on 20 May 2022)

We dont know how high the threshold is with this topic. Also Sony just spent $3.6, half of that is to keep the employees at the company. You would think the last thing Sony would want to do is upset the staff they want to keep at Bungie. Otherwise they will walk (depending on the contract)

  • 0
Zkuq DonFerrari (on 20 May 2022)

I don't really want to go into the whole freedom of speech thing here. It's a really tricky question that's more suitable to another place.

Anyway, I'm not really arguing Bungie is 100% free to do what they want, as you certainly realize. I feel like we have a consistent understanding of the situation but place the emphasis on different points, so continuing doesn't seem very fruitful. Agree to disagree in a way, I suppose. :)

  • +4
DonFerrari Zkuq (on 20 May 2022)

I guess we certainly arrived at an agreement between both of us.

  • +1
DialgaMarine DonFerrari (on 19 May 2022)

Guaranteed Sony and Bungie have already talked this out, and I seriously doubt Sony will let politics get in the way of their relationship. They wouldn’t be offering $3.6 billion if Bungie wasn’t of huge importance to Sony’s gaming business going forward

Fact is, if the deal is undone, then Bungie is likely going straight to MS, at which point Sony might as well just close up PlayStation’s doors altogether.

  • 0
DonFerrari DialgaMarine (on 19 May 2022)

You hope Bungie going MS (which from rumors had already tried to buy twice by something like half of what Sony is paying and got denied) would close Sony.
Politics is very important as is policies, if a whole subsidiary decides that they can openly challenge the company neutrality that opens a very big can of worm.

  • 0
DialgaMarine DonFerrari (on 19 May 2022)

Bungie is vital to PS going forward. If Sony has to make an exception here, they should.

  • 0
DonFerrari DialgaMarine (on 19 May 2022)

And that would occur behind closed doors. Not with the company bought shouting they outmuscled the company who purchased them.

  • 0
Azzanation (on 18 May 2022)

Good for them. Free speech should be allowed.

  • -6
mjk45 Azzanation (on 18 May 2022)

They can say what they want as private citizens.

  • +7
Azzanation mjk45 (on 18 May 2022)

I am sure they will, however if a company gets asked the question than so be it.

  • +2
Qwark Azzanation (on 18 May 2022)

Than you reply in a way fitting to the policies of the main company, which will be PlayStation and not Bungie themselves. If they can't agree with being part of a larger company and take their position in mind, they should remain independent.

  • +9
Runa216 Azzanation (on 18 May 2022)

Freedom of speech isn't freedom from consequences. I can yell racial slurs all day but that doesn't mean I'm immune to the repercussions from that. IF my boss has rules, I gotta follow them.

  • +8
DonFerrari Runa216 (on 18 May 2022)

And in case you disagree so much it is unbearable you look for a new boss.

  • 0
Azzanation Runa216 (on 18 May 2022)

There is a big difference in having an opinion on a subject and being racist.

  • -1
DonFerrari Azzanation (on 19 May 2022)

He said nothing different from that. He said that you can say racial stuff as much as you want, but law won't protect you from the consequence of that.

  • 0
Azzanation DonFerrari (on 19 May 2022)

Being racist is an entirely different thing to politics.

  • -1
DonFerrari Azzanation (on 19 May 2022)

Sure. Still I don't see where your points negates what Runa said. He didn't condone, applaud, defended or anything for racism. He just said freedom of speech isn't freedom of consequences (and that applies to both political and non-political speech).

  • 0
Azzanation DonFerrari (on 19 May 2022)

Runa comparing the two as the same is the issue. Of course yelling racist slurs will lead to repercussions.. its a bad thing to do. Having an opinion in politics is not a crime. Its a bad comparison.

  • 0
DonFerrari Azzanation (on 19 May 2022)

But will still have repercussion.

  • 0
Azzanation DonFerrari (on 20 May 2022)

Its like saying ill get arrested for shooting people in the street.. of course ill get arrested or shot on site. Whats that got to do with having an opinion in politics? Absolutely nothing. Same deal with yelling racist slurs which falls under verbal assault.

  • 0