Take-Two chairman and CEO Karl Slatoff spoke at the BMO Capital Markets 2014 Technology & Digital Media Conference and claimed that people who find individual pieces of content offensive should simply not buy the product. He stated, “it’s one thing for someone to not want to buy a piece of content, which is completely understandable.” “And that’s really the solution. If you don’t like it and it’s offensive to you, then you don’t buy it.
A petition from women who previously experienced sexual violence and violence in the sex industry, stated that Grand Theft Auto 5 “makes a game of bashing, killing and horrific violence against women” and “links sexual arousal and violence.” The petition has garnered almost 50,000 signatures and led to Target and K-Mart in Australia from pulling GTA5 from their shelves.
Slatoff argues even further by saying, “for a person or a group of people to try to make that decision for millions of people… We have 34 million people who brought Grand Theft Auto, and if these folks had their way, none of those people would be able to buy Grand Theft Auto.” “And that really just flies in the face of everything that free society is based on. It’s the freedom of expression, and to try to squelch that is a dangerous and slippery slope to go down.” (Source: Polygon)
I agree with every single word Karl Slatoff says, I wouldn’t change a single word. The fact of that matter is, no one should be able to stop a piece of art from hitting the shelves of a store, I don’t care how much you are “offended” by a video game. People have every right to make a petition but said petition shouldn’t be allowed to stop a game from being sold, even if it is deemed “offensive.”
I’m not even a huge fan of Grand Theft Auto (which has nothing to do with being offended by the game, I’m not. I more so just don’t enjoy playing the games very much because they aren’t fun to me) but I will defend it being on the shelves wholeheartedly. We live in this strange, almost absurd politically correct culture that is focused on being offended by everything simply because it hurts the “feelings” of someone.
I wrote a piece on the game Hatred (a game people were also offended by) a few weeks back (which you can read here) and I have the same position there that I do here. I simply don’t care if people find a video game offensive because video games aren’t the cause of this violence toward women or violence in general; you have to be a fool to think so. People who go and violently hurt people have a problem that is inherently in them that needs fixing, it isn’t from playing a video game. It’s a video game. It’s fake. It isn’t real. It’s meant to be fun. Are you to tell me that all of the people who are beating up women in GTA (or…and this is crazy and won’t fit the narrative of the petition, YOU CAN BEAT UP ANYONE IN THE GAME) are going to go and beat up and be violent toward everyone? If we take one game away from people, what’s to stop them from taking more games away from people? Should we take a piece of art like The Last of Us off shelves because (spoilers) Ellie is almost raped by David? Or are we just going to not be allowed to play anything anymore that hurts the feelings of others?
What are your thoughts on this topic? Should we ever take a game off the shelves? Should we defend the free speech of the video games industry? Has any game ever pushed the envelope too far for you?
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Jesse Jordon is an aspiring writer who writes this stuff on these blogs to make you learn something I guess. (Wait, why am I mixing 3rd and 1st person point of view when I’m the only one writing this?) He’s trying to be a video game journalist but is probably failing at that. You can follow him on Twitter @jjordon96 (if you want I guess). You can also purchase his first self-published book On Human Empathy for only $5.00 (you can buy literature or coffee, it’s up to you to decide. I’d go with the coffee personally).