Unity CEO John Riccitiello has written to employees to outline the company's response to the immigration ban proposed by President Trump, expressing concern over the impact which those restrictions would have on the "free exchange of ideas." In his email, Riccitiello makes clear that the stance is a keystone of the company's philosophy, one which has been at the core of much of its success so far.
But Unity is committing to more than just words: the company is offering to fly 50 developers from the seven countries affected by the travel ban to the Unite summit in Amsterdam this year, and is inviting the companies which sponsor the event to cover even more.
"These are challenging times politically," wrote Riccitiello in an internally circulated mail. "Our developers in 7 countries now feel targeted and less welcome in the USA, whether the US courts continue to block the Trump administration's immigration ban or not. Even beyond the 7 countries called out, developers and residents of other countries feel like they're potentially next and unwelcome.
"I think we all recognize that the best innovation in the game industry and in the world of AR/VR comes when there is a free exchange of ideas among developers, and where all feel welcome and free and confident in their interactions and travels.
"Questions about discrimination are more present than any time in recent history. For Unity, if there is a shared value beyond our mission statement, I believe it is a belief in non-discrimination. We are global with our people, global with our customers and have room for everyone, treated equally. It is why we do Women in Gaming, and why we will do more programs like this in the future.
"First - We are going to invite 50 developers from the list of countries impacted by Trump's ban to Unite Amsterdam, paid for by Unity. We know that many of our developers would want to travel for events like GDC, E3, Unity's Vision Conference or Unite in LA - and don't feel (or aren't) welcome. We are officially inviting them to join us in Amsterdam. We are going to invite our developers and platform companies to sponsor more beyond the 50 we pay for. If we end up having more sponsored developers than we can accommodate in Amsterdam, we'll look to take the overflow to other Unite events. The message is clear - Developers, no matter their country or religion, are welcome with Unity."
In addition to inviting devs to the Dutch event, the CEO has promised that, where it can, it will be matching appropriate charitable donations made by its employees, up to the value of $1000.
"We know many at Unity want to do something personally, and would appreciate having their company stand with them," he continued. "So, for the coming month, now thru March 10, Unity will match donations you choose to make (up to $1,000) to a qualified charity. This one is going to be a bit tricky because various rules and laws for how donations work vary quite a bit by country. There may be cases where the complication of matching a donation may be too much. But, we'll try to accommodate any reasonable charity/country. You might choose to donate to a group like the ACLU if you want to donate to a group that is on the front line of fighting the discrimination in the Trump action. Unity is about empowerment and it is your choice. Trish Searce will send out a note shortly explaining how you should handle questions and requests on the donation matching.
"So, like many of you, I am super challenged by the changing political landscape. I strongly believe that there is no place in this world for discrimination, in any form. We at Unity are going to do our part to address the situation in our own unique way, focused on our community of developers and in helping amplify the voice of our people."