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Old 05 Aug 2004, 06:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
Mr. Submission
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Default BREAKING: "We are going to destroy Rockstar" says buck-passing fuckers; & More

Quote:
Originally Posted by GameDaily
Florida Attorney on Manhunt for Rockstar

Jack Thompson seeks to "destroy" Take-Two label
Posted 7/30/04




Florida attorney Jack Thompson, who has a long history of crusading against media he deems offensive, has been contacted by the parents of a child murdered in England. The killing, which has been one of—if not the top—stories across the pond over the past few days, has gained attention because of the murderer's (Warren Leblanc) apparent fascination with the Rockstar videogame Manhunt and the victim's parents blaming of that title for a role in the crime.

The story once again raises the issue of violent videogames and how they impact children, a topic that Thompson has been involved with now for years. The fiery Thompson spoke to GameDaily about what he hopes to accomplish in this specific case and also offered his unedited thoughts on the videogame industry as a whole.


GameDaily: This whole situation in England is certainly unfortunate. From what I have read, the parents of the victim have contacted you?

Thompson: The mother did, yeah. We are going to destroy Rockstar, you can count on that.



GD: I'm not exactly sure how international law works; I assume you are going to find someone in the U.K. to provide representation?

Thompson: The mother and I are securing U.K. counsel. Litigation is going to have only one facet…members of parliament have contacted us with an idea towards banning the game all together. You see, this is the idiocy of Rockstar and many within the videogame industry. I warned them almost two years ago that if they didn't do more to keep these games out of the hands of minors, then there would be a push to ban the games all together. I was looking out for their freedom and well-being more than their own attorneys and corporate executives were. It's a simple common sense thing, these things happen and if it can be shown that the industry hasn't done enough to keep them (violent games) out of the hands of children, then there is going to be a push for even more restrictive measures against the industry. So that is what is happening here…they should have listened to me and they didn't.



GD: You are going to target Rockstar North?

Thompson: Not just Rockstar, another target will be Sony. The tie-in between Rockstar and Sony is rather firmly established.



GD: What is the ultimate goal here?

Thompson: To destroy Rockstar.



GD: What does that mean in terms of…

Thompson: (cutting in) So they don't exist anymore.



GD: How are you going to seek to do that?

Thompson: By taking all their money. It's very simple. You wipe someone out economically, they don't have any assets and therefore they cease to exist.



GD: You think one lawsuit can do this or do you see yourself filing some suits against Rockstar in the U.S.?

Thompson: There have been dozens of murders that have been tied to their products throughout the world, so it's just a matter of piling on, and we will do that. These people will not stop, they will not stop marketing the games to children and therefore since they will not listen to reason, since they won't even communicate with me and others, we will destroy them, it's that simple. David didn't reason with Goliath, he killed him.



GD: Is there anyway to find out how Warren Leblanc acquired the game? Or is that not the point here?

Thompson: It doesn't matter.



GD: It's just that Manhunt ended up in his hands somehow?

Thompson: Right. The Daily Mail explains that even with this story on the front page of the newspapers in the U.K., they took a kid and were able to walk into retail outlets and buy the game. So everybody knows that the restrictions are a joke.


GD: This has been one of the bigger stories over there the last couple of days no?

Thompson: I would say it is the biggest story actually. I'm on CNN tonight on the Anderson Cooper show because the story has bled over into the states and of course has consequences here.


GD: Have you actually played or viewed Manhunt?

Thompson: I have seen the game yes. That's why I warned them months ago not to do this.


GD: I know this is the U.K. versus the U.S., but courts over here have ruled that videogames are a form of free speech…

Thompson: One judge has ruled that, and in fact not even in the Paducah (Kentucky) cases. That never got to the first amendment issue. In the Washington State case the judge didn't say that there is an absolute protection by the First Amendment either. Those of us who are determined on this and know what the Constitution is and know how to win these fights are not the least bit daunted by some judge saying something, because in reality the first tobacco lawsuits didn't succeed either, and then once they started to get through the grid of federal; and state systems, then big tobacco…the marketing of tobacco kids, Joe Camel and all that nonsense…were over. The race goes to the persistent, not to the immediately successful. The industry knows it's just a matter of time before they get nailed and we are out to nail them.

Nobody in any case that I'm aware of has said that there is an absolute protection of videogames as First Amendment speech. The most recent ruling in the Washington State law, in which I was a chief witness on behalf of in the Senate—that was a terribly flawed bill and it was stupid the way it was drafted—even that judge held open the opportunity to approach it in a different way legislatively.



GD: Supposedly to safeguard against minors purchasing Mature-rated videogames, the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA) has called for member retailers to check ids at point-of-sale locations.

Thompson: They indicated all these things after Columbine too. When they feel 'the coast is clear' again then they will go back to doing what they are doing. They are putting ads for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in comic books again and running ads for Full Spectrum Warrior on wrestling programming here, which is seen predominantly by teens.

After Columbine this pathological liar Doug Lowenstein (president of the Entertainment Software Association) said that the industry would stop marketing these products to children. It meant absolutely nothing. He said that there would be sanctions against members of what was then called the Interactive Digital Software Association (now the ESA) who violated this no marketing of products to kids. Now whenever they are caught doing that, I send the information to him and there is not even a response to me, let alone a sanction against the people violating their own industry rules. So it's all a shadow game. We are tired of the lies and deception. They have simply painted the bullseye on their backs so big and so indelible and so written in the blood of these victims, that it doesn't matter what they say or do now, it's too late.



GD: I noticed in the past that you went after 2Live Crew…

Thompson: And successfully so. The music industry is different now as a result of that.


GD: So, bottom line, you see videogames as the biggest problem in regards to marketing violence towards children.

Thompson: Because they are interactive. Medical and scientific studies show that an interactive medium is far more problematic in effecting behaviors than the passive consumption of music or movies or whatever, because as the New Zealand censor said, you actually enter into this world.

There are experts that have testified before Congress that have explained this. All of the so-called experts that say there is no causal nexus are the whores that are paid for by the industry with their dollars to come up with that result. And yet all the independent surveys, in which nobody is paying them to come up with a skewed, pre-determined result, are the ones that show that interactive training is extremely dangerous. There are brain scan studies out of Indiana, Harvard and elsewhere that show the brain of an adolescent processes the games in a completely different place than an adult does.



GD: It does seem though that for every study that does indicate a possible link between videogame violence and real-life violence, there is another one that discounts that.

Thompson: Let me say it again, since you are the Devil's advocate here. The studies that show a linkage are independent of anybody. The head of the American Medical Association and the head of the American Pediatric Psychiatric have testified under oath before Congress and said all the studies that are out there that are reliable; prove the causal nexus between violent videogame and teenage violence.

All the studies that you and Doug Lowenstein and others want to say rebut those are hired by the industry with their dollars. They are told in effect what the results are going to be, they have flawed testing techniques and so forth. So they come up with the results they want to protect their industry. They are not interested in finding out the truth here. I will tell you right now they have their own internal studies, that they won't share with the public, that show the behavioral consequences because they need it from a risk management standpoint.

This is the industry that said for a decade there was no causal link between videogame play and photosensitive epilepsy. Now there's a warning on every game as to the linkage between those things. They said there were no studies that indicated that, and yet we have found out in a federal case in Louisiana that Nintendo had their own in-house studies showing the nexus between the games and the epilepsy.


GD: You don't see any other way, such as the ESRB jacking up their ratings?

Thompson: They are a joke. They are a deceptive joke. Doug Lowenstein makes Saddam Hussein look like a post-reformed Pinocchio. He will say anything to protect the industry and his annual salary. It doesn't matter what they say or do anymore. So, you destroy people and their institutions who have such a track record of not caring about human life and who will lie through their teeth to protect their P&L statement.


GD: Thanks for your time Mr. Thompson and good luck in your struggle.

Thompson: Thanks. We don't need luck. The vectors are locked in, these people are dead meat.



A call to Rockstar seeking comment on this story was not returned. But the company responded yesterday with the following statement:

The company released the following statement yesterday:

"We would like to extend our sympathies to the Pakeerah family.

We reject any suggestion or association between the tragic events and the sale of Manhunt.

There is a clear certification structure in place and Manhunt was clearly classified as 18 by the British Board of Film Classification
And should not be in the possession of a juvenile.

Rockstar Games is a leading publisher of interactive entertainment geared towards mature audiences and markets its games responsibly, targeting advertising and marketing only to adult consumers ages 18 and older. Rockstar Games submits every game for certification to the BBFC - British Board of Film Certification and clearly marks the game with the BBFC-approved rating.

We have always appreciated Dixons as a retail partner and we fully respect their actions. We are naturally very surprised and
Disappointed that any retailer would choose to pull any game."




An Entertainment Software Association (ESA) spokesperson provided us with this response:

"We believe that name calling is counterproductive, and, most unfortunately, serves only to trivialize these important issues. The fact is that the most objective research has concluded that there is no causal relationship between game action and real-life violence. Independent sources such as the Surgeon General of the United States, the Washington State Department of Health and the Government of Australia, have all found that there is no scientific evidence establishing a causal connection between violent games and aggressive behavior.

Just two weeks ago, Judge Robert Lasnik of the U.S. District Court in Seattle, in holding Washington State's attempt to ban the sale of certain video games to minors unconstitutional, dismissed the claims of the state's expert witnesses and the studies they presented, finding that 'neither causation nor an increase in real-life aggression is proven by these studies.'"
Don't get me started on this shit.

First of all, the copy of Manhunt was found in the possession of:
a. the Victim, meaning the assailant didn't have it, and
b. the Victim - but the victim was underage. Why did he have it?

Second of all, it's one thing to have a game of killing and beating, but its another thing to copy. That child must have some serious psychological problems. I don't jack cars and shoot crime lords after playing Vice City. I don't go to Nice and drive an 18-wheeler and plough through police roadblocks after playing DRIV3R. I don't wrestle after playing HCTP.

If you're gonna blame games, let's blame the Simpsons for society's problems. Let's blame Bart for childhood misbehaviour.
Let's blame Homer for obesity and drunkenness.
Let's blame Maggie for the increasing use of pacifiers.
Let's blame Apu for the poor standards of convinience stores.
Let's blame Marge for the unemployment rates... fuck that. This shit's gone too far.

Don't get rid of important gaming companies because a few irresponsible individuals took the game one step too far.

Easy Motherfuckin' V.
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