Days after Sony announced its decision to pull out of PAX East due to concerns surrounding the spread of Coronavirus, Boston mayor Marty Walsh urged the company to reconsider its decision.
According to WCVB, Walsh penned a letter to Sony’s president and chief executive officer Kenichiro Yoshida, stressing that the risk of Coronavirus in Boston, and Massachusetts in general, remains extremely low. He also said that such a decision would prove to be harmful to Boston’s community in a number of ways.
“These fears reinforce harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle,” wrote Walsh. “They trigger our worst impulses: to view entire groups of people with suspicion, to close ourselves off, and to miss out on the opportunities and connections our global city provides. Boston is united in our efforts to dispel these harmful and misguided fears.”
WCVB reported that Walsh has been campaigning to help businesses in Boston’s Chinatown, which have been impacted by public fears.
“As a large, international company, you have an opportunity to set a good example,” Walsh continued. “As a leader in technology, you can show that you are motivated by facts, not fear. As a leader in gaming and culture, you can show that you believe in connection, not isolation.”
PAX East organizer Penny Arcade separately expressed its disappointment over Sony’s decision and reassured attendees that it’s adhering to health guidelines issued by relevant authorities. While it’s “saddened” by the move, Penny Arcade said that it’s looking forward to welcoming Sony again at future events.