Yet frustration is mounting among employees who want their company to have their say. A recent report from Kotaku highlighted grievances from employees of ZeniMax Media subsidiaries Bethesda and Arkane, calling the company’s lack of response “deafening.”
A source at another major Texas studio, who asked for anonymity in order to speak freely, told WIRED that “there is a lot of frustration internally with communications and executives about the lack of public statements, especially at many studios in California and Seattle. be loud and clear.” While the company has been willing to discuss their concerns internally with employees, the source continues, it is “extremely wary of lawsuits from the Texas government and says as little as possible. The offline chatter is that they are focusing on the materially protecting current employees rather than making public statements.
For Texas, the abortion laws are murky as to who can be punished and how. Individuals have the power to persecute anyone who “helps and encourages” an abortion. Uncertainty even has shut down efforts such as abortion funds, because organizers fear legal penalties. It’s hard to see that even well-positioned, well-funded companies fear the power of government officials, the source continued. “For every Gearbox or Arkane or Id, there are dozens of indie or freelance developer teams that have little to none of the same resources,” they say.
Some developers choose to help employees leave the affected states completely. In May, after the opinion that would eventually change Roe v. Wade leaked, founder and CEO of Certain Affinity Max Hoberman told employees that the company would help them move to a safer state or province where the company operates. Its headquarters are located in Texas. “These are tricky areas to navigate because at some point state governments may decide that by supporting vulnerable workers in their time of need, we are on the wrong side of the law,” Hoberman said in his statement to workers. “As appalling and disturbing as this is, it is a reality and a risk that we must navigate carefully.”
The source at the major Texas studio says that although some mention of Roe v. Wade has been omitted from official communications, the company has been open about relocation options. But leaving Texas or any other stricken state is an imperfect solution at best, another example of the class divide that already plagues abortion. “‘Just get out to a safe state’ is inherently a privileged attitude that only solves the problem for a fraction of those affected,” they say.
As government officials look to expand anti-abortion laws, leaving may not be an option at all. There are only a limited number of safe havens to flee to, especially when access to health care is linked to a job.