Certain Affinity is the latest studio to take a stand on recent developments in US politics, as founder and CEO Max Hoberman today posted to Twitter a message that had been sent to all the company’s full-time staff.
“It is appalling that states, including the CA headquarter’s home state of Texas, are wading into what I consider personal healthy and privacy matters,” Hoberman said.
“Recently this encompassed gross intrusions on the rights and dignity of transgender youth, putting politics over the physical and emotional healthy and wellbeing of a vulnerable population, and threatening their families, friends, doctors, and other supporters.
“As the recent draft US Supreme Court opinion potentially overturning Roe vs. Wade has shown, the rights of women to make critical decisions about their health and wellbeing — including access to vital birth control medication and abortion — and protections for the privacy of those decisions, are also under attack. Measures are already teed up in several statest that will similarly punish family, friends, doctors, and other supporters who come to their aid.
“This is all incredibly concerning on a personal level, and also as a business owner and leader; naked politicization of private health matters is hurting our business in tangible ways, including our ability to recruit staff.”
Hoberman noted that state governments could also pass laws criminalizing employees who provide support for vulnerable employees. For example, Texas has passed a law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy with a “bounty hunter” enforcement mechanism that would allow residents to sue anyone helping a person get an abortion after that point — even if it’s just driving them to a place where they can get the procedure — for at least $10,000.
To demonstrate the company’s values, he said he was making the following commitment:
“If the state or province you live in restricts access to what a majority of medical experts consider essential care, and this makes remaining there untenable for you and your family, we will cover the pre-approved, documented, reasonable out-of-pocket costs of your relocation to another, safer state or province that we operate in,” Hoberman said.
Certain Affinity has offices in Austin, Texas and Toronto, Ontario, but is also set up to allow remote work from a number of US states and Canadian provinces.
Sony forbid its developers from making statements about abortion rights, but Insomniac did pledge to give $50,000 to the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project.