In an earlier post I commended Sony (against my better judgement) for creating video games that girls might like to play. I take it all back. Sony have done a bunch of things that have really pissed me off, including rootkits, non-redbook CDs that actually broke some Apple computers, and supporting the notoriously misogynist Grand Theft Auto by releasing it on the Playstation platform. I am also of the firm opinion (and experience) that most of their hardware, far from being the reliable gear it used to be, is crap, these days.
None of that, though, was enough to make me boycott their stuff. You would think it would be, but no, my love of their Singstar and Buzz series has outweighed my disgust with their general business practices, until now. After using a dead goat as a prop at a party (and making it look like the goat had been recently slaughtered), and then, for fuck's sake, publishing the pictures in their magazine, Sony has lost my business.
Now, Sony are claiming that the goat was already slaughtered by a butcher, and that the "still warm intestines" they invited guests to eat were actually offal. I, frankly, don't think either thing makes their behaviour okay; they glorified the torture of an animal (even though it may not really have been tortured) not just at the party, but to their magazine subscribers worldwide, and for what? To sell a few computer games? Some commenters suggest that if one eats meat, one has no right to complain about this use of the goat; I disagree. Consumption, as a use of a dead animal is wildly different from a Japanese corporation (though run by a Welsh man) using a dead goat as a sales prop -- meat does not glorify cruelty, and is, for some, a necessity of life.
The goat is the really horrific point in this story, but I also feel the need to point out that Sony also had topless women at this party, serving drinks, presumably to increase the "orgiastic" atmosphere. While I am no prude, this seems a particularly exploitative use of women's bodies; selling computer games. I also find it bizarre that the newspaper that broke the story pixelled out the head of the goat, but left a young lady's bare breasts and face on display; the goat was dead and could suffer no further indignity (and the full horror of what Sony did should really be made clear), but the young lady is alive and still subject to exploitation.
While no doubt this revolting stunt by Sony has created a wave of publicity that may even sell more games, they have also overstepped this time. I will be boycotting them, I will be encouraging my friends and workmates to boycott them, and comment on the web suggests many others will boycott them too. If I were in Sony's shoes, I would be making a very hefty donation to humane societies and women's shelters about now, and I would watch my commercial step for many years to come.