Halo support studio will pay for staff to move out of anti-trans and anti-abortion states
Following recent leaks that suggest the US Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v Wade, we’ve seen studios like Bungie and Double Fine step up to express their support of abortion rights. This week, Certain Affinity CEO Max Hoberman went a step further, announcing that the Halo support studio will assist relocation costs for staff living in states with hostile anti-abortion (and anti-trans) laws.
Posting an open letter on Twitter (via GamesIndustry.biz), Hoberman explained that he finds it “appalling” that the state of Texas, where CA is based, is committing “gross intrusions on the rights and dignity of transgender youth”, while also condemning attacks on the rights of women’s bodily autonomy.
In Texas, this includes bounty hunter laws that allow citizens to sue anyone they suspect of not only having an abortion, but assisting someone in getting one. According to Hoberman, this is already having a tangible effect on running the business, such as its ability to recruit new staff. As such, Certain Affinity will now offer to pay for relocation for employess who feel remaining in states under this law is “untenable”.
As a business leader it’s exceptionally difficult to navigate highly politicized issues like transgender and abortion rights. But I’m not content to sit back and say or do nothing. Here’s a message that I was thrilled to share with all @CertainAffinity full-time staff today. pic.twitter.com/zTJvaTm9IlMay 18, 2022
“As a demonstration of our company values, today I am making this commitment to you,” Hoberman writes. “If the state or province that 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.”
Certain Affinity currently only has offices in Austin, Texas and Toronto, Ontario, but allows staff to work remotely from several other states and provinces in the US and Canada. The studio is currently rumoured to be working on a Halo battle royale, and presumably doesn’t want its developers too stressed about being legislated out of existence to help put that together.
While this is very much a fantastic move and one I’d like to see more of from the industry, other studios have struggled to make their support heard. Sony has reportedly attempted to prevent studios like Insomniac from making statements on abortion rights.