Many corporations have scrambled in the aftermath of the US Capitol riots to prevent further violence in any way they can. From Twitter suspending outgoing US president Donald Trump’s account to Parler being pulled from mobile app stores, similar moves are being made across various industries, with a big player in the gaming industry coming through with its own development.
The development follows the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of outgoing US President Donald Trump, resulting in five dead and property damage. Improvised explosive devices were also found and later defused.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which organizes the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), has announced that it will suspend political donations from its Political Action Committee, following the violent events of January 6. In a statement to GamesIndustry.biz, the ESA said: “Given the events and actions that led to the violence at the US Capitol, we are pausing contributions from the ESA PAC as we reflect on the tragedy and our path forward.”
As per the Centre of Responsive Politics via OpenSecrets.org, the ESA donated $48,300 to federal candidates during the 2020 presidential election, with $27,300 going to Democrats and $21,000 going to Republicans. Each representative received a donation ranging from $500 to $3,000. 2020 marked the first time since 2010 that the ESA PAC donated more to Democrats than Republicans.
Among the beneficiaries were five representatives who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, despite the lack of evidence to back up claims of election fraud, and over 60 lawsuits that were denied, dismissed, or withdrawn. They were:
- Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) – $2,500
- Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-Ga) – $1,000
- Jay Obernolte (R-Calif) – $1,000
- Jackie Walorski (R-Ind) – $1,000
- Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) – $500
It must be noted that the ESA is inherently a political organization; it was founded in 1994 as the Interactive Digital Software Association in response to Congressman Joe Lieberman’s proposed Video Games Ratings Act of 1994. The act was proposed due to the various controversies stemming from the violence in Mortal Kombat and Night Trap. As a direct result of the trade association’s founding, the ESRB was created. Members of the ESA include the likes of Activision Blizzard, Bethesda Softworks, Capcom, EA, Epic Games, Nintendo, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Ubisoft.
Over the years, the ESA has argued that loot boxes are not gambling, and disputed President Trump’s claim in August 2019 that video games can cause violent behavior. The ESA joins several other corporate organizations in suspending political contributions including American Express, the Coca-Cola Company, Major League Baseball, and Microsoft. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, political tensions, and various companies including Sony and Nintendo favoring their own events, the ESA finds itself in another challenge regarding whether E3 2021 will happen at all.