Jack Thompson has made dozens of allegations against violent, sexual
media, most notably video games. However, these are scattered across
a dozen papers and a thousand web sites. Here, we have collected some
of the most relevant pages to show, in his own words, exactly what
Jack Thompson is alleging. The ones we quote directly are, as far
as we know, 100% his own words, edited soley for length and readability.
Among his most notable endeavors is the
effort to get Grand Theft Auto III: San Andreas re-rated
as "Adults Only", instead of "Mature". Mature is intended for an
audience at least seventeen years old. Adults Only is, on the other
hand, rated for an audience at least eighteen years old.
This is an exceptionally complex topic
still hot on everyone's minds. We'll be adding a page for it later.
Another endeavor is to rate Killer 7
Adults Only rather than Mature. Here is his open letter to the ESRB,
the organization responsible for rating games in the United States.
Edited for length - you can see the original here.
August 5, 2005
President Entertainment Software Rating Board
Re: Killer 7
Dear Ms. Vance:
I have just learned facts that indicate
the above violent game most likely deserves an “AO” rating rather
than the “M” rating which your ESRB has given it.
There is no question in my mind that
a video game containing “full-blown sex sequences” cannot be rated
anything other than “AO” rather than “M.” The reviewer above in
fact says that this game’s “M” actually means something, and he
says it twice for emphasis.
That answer [to what is not explicitly
stated] would put the Entertainment Software Rating Board, in
my opinion, in the middle of a criminal conspiracy to distribute
sexual material harmful to minors in violation of criminal statutes.
This is not a situation in which the ESRB has been blind-sided
by hidden or embedded content, Ms. Vance. You all have known that
the “full-blown sex sequences” are patently present in the game,
yet you chose to put an “M” rather than an “AO” rating on it.
If I were you, Ms. Vance, I would immediately
ask the makers of this game, and all retailers, to pull it from
store shelves. If you don’t, expect for others to use this latest
scandal, which I am hereby officially kicking off, to call for
a dismantling of the ESRB.
The fox has guarded the chickens long
enough. Killer 7 seems to prove it.
Sincerely, Jack Thompson
He is also responsible for much furor about
a game called Manhunt, which he holds to be responsible for
the murder of one child by another in the UK. Here are some quotes
on that matter. The full interview can be found here.
The interview was conducted by IGN.
He detests the ESRB, which is the faction largely responsible for
rating games in the United States. These quotes are from a relatively
recent interview hosted by Chatterbox
The ones [UK's rating systems] that are
in place now aren't working because the day this was on the front
page in London a kid was taken by one of the newspapers into a
store and he bought it. It's well documented here in the states
as well. The Federal Trade Commission just last month proved that
despite the promises after Columbine not to market this stuff
to kids that M-rated games are still marketed directly to some
people under-17 and despite Wal-Mart's and Target's and other
retailers' age restrictions, you can buy those games in those
stores if you're under age. The restrictions aren't working and
that's going to come back and bite the industry because they're
not serious about them.
It's a subterfuge. It's a dodge, it's not intended to be effective.
It's a fig leaf that they think can cover their culpability, but
it doesn't really cover it.
Well, I... would
love for America to go to what is the UK system, and that is: you
put a certificate on a game indicating that it's not appropriate
for minors, and then, as a matter of fact, you don't, uh, sell it
to 'em. It's that simple.
Let me explain why that's what we need
and why that isn't what we have. In a free country, adults, by
and large, should be free to consume whatever they want. Now,
you know, most people think that maybe controlled substances oughtta
be controlled. Also, clearly, child pornography is contraband
definitionally by the harm it does to the victims of it, who are
the children, who are filmed being raped when you're making it.
So, there's some products that, that even adults shouldn't have.
But I think that when it comes to violent games, um, the standard
that I think is doable, and that is consistant with the first
amendment is that you don't sell adult games or mature-rated games
to an age group below which the label in the, in the rating indicate
they're harmful. It, It's just that simple.
And, and the problem, though, in this
country, as to why we don't reflect, unfortunately, the UK system
is: #1, the entity that rates the games, ahem, is wholly captured
by the video game industry.
We need an entity which is not funded by
He has also spoken out against The Sims
2, a Teen-rated game. This teen-rated game allows users to design
or download custom content, much like how you might put bumper stickers
on your car. Some of these "bumper stickers" are lewd in nature,
and Jack holds that the game designers and distributers should be
held responsible for the modifications these players are making.
You can see the full text of the following
The following is merely excerpts:
Proof that parents
should be concerned as to what is the sexual content in this supposedly
“T” game is that one site on the Internet is offering parents a
means to shield their kids from the known sexual content of the
Sims games. But this gets worse.
It turns out that Electronic Arts, the
publisher of all the Sims games, has allowed the player, with
a simple cheat code that even the New York Times is distributing,
to remove a “censor flag” in the game in order to make the players
nude, including the Sims children. A similar cheat code allowed
players to access the “Hot Coffee” content of GTA: SA. The nudity
is not put into the game. It is already there, put there by EA
to be accessed by all. But this gets worse.
Electronic Arts has encouraged the “mod
community,” by comments of the game’s creator and by a failure
to protect its copyrighted code in the game, to create “skins”
for the nude figures that are explicit in nature as they depict
genitalia, with some specific mods appealing to “fetishists” as
well. The unlocked nudity dovetails nicely into this modding.
This is not artistic license, in my opinion. It is conspiracy to
violate the law at the expense of vulnerable children, behind their
Jack has an overwhelming hatred of the
ESA's president, Doug Lowenstein. Quoted here is an excerpt from
his open letter to the ESA's members, the full text of which can
be found here:
the kind of “leadership” the Members of ESA are paying for?
Here is an additional quote from 1up's
Head to Head article
When Hitler invaded Russia, opening up
an Eastern offensive on the eve of winter, Britain’s Prime Minister
Winston Churchill noted that “Hitler must have been rather loosely
educated, not having learned the lesson of Napoleon’s autumn advance
Your Doug Lowenstein is similarly “loosely
educated” about the United States Constitution. I have never,
in my eighteen years of public interest law practice against the
excesses of the entertainment industry, run into an individual
more devoid of even an elementary understanding of the meaning
and scope of the First Amendment. Even Howard Stern’s lawyers
look like Alexander Hamilton compared to Lowenstein.
Doug Lowenstein embarrasses each and
every one of you when he holds forth about what the “Founders”
intended when they drafted the Bill of Rights. For Doug, the Founders
are GTA’s Tommy Vercetti and Carl Johnson. Doug never met a pixilated
prostitute he didn’t like, and I’m sure James Madison would be
Doug Lowenstein travels with his own private make-up artist. Did
you all know that? Obscuring personal and industry warts is a full
time job for this man.
EGM: You once compared Doug Lowenstein, president
of the Entertainment Software Association, to Saddam Hussein.
JT: If I did, I want to apologize to Saddam Hussein.
Doug is a propagandist to whom the facts don't matter.
Jack Thompson is one of the primary activists
against violence and sexuality in media. There is a class-action
lawsuit against several game producers and distributers that Jack
backs, and this commentary is transcribed from his interview with
Game Radio. We put it last because it's extremely long and boring,
but very telling. They're suing Take-Two because the ESRB changed
The nature of the
lawsuit has been misreported in the media [referring to the class-action
lawsuit against major video game producers]. I spent a half-hour
on the phone with the lawyer and I, I said to him, "I think your
lawsuit is ludicrous," ah, and then he explained it to me. Uh, here's
the deal: his, his grandmother bought the game, Grand Theft Auto:
San Andreas, for her fourteen year old son, and what's been reported
in the media is that it, um, you know, that she didn't know it had
this content in it and it was harmful to the child, and supposedly
he's been harmed and, and so forth. She didn't know it was inappropriate
for a minor.
The basis of the lawsuit is much simpler:
She's not alleging and they're not alleging that there was harm,
uh, to the child, and that she didn't know it was an M rated game,
because of course the descriptor... I'm looking at my version,
by the way, I should sell this on E-Bay, a copy of the, uh, hot-coffee
modded Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas signed by Jack Thompson,
that might be, that might be worth something, actually, on E-Bay.
I'm trying to show I have a sense of
The descriptor says "blood and gore,
intense violence, strong language, strong sexual content, and
use of drugs" and I said to the lawyer, you know, "how did she
not know... what was on the game?"
"Well forgive me but," he said, "you
know, you deal with the harm issue, and have for many years,"
and he said, "we're aware of you and what you do, but we're, we're
class-action lawyers, and we're familiar with the fraudulent and
deceptive trade and sales practices federal and New York statutes
and here's the deal: if you sell a product that proports to be
one thing, and it's in fact another, then by definition under
the, under the black-letter law in that statute you've engaged
in a deceptive practice, and, and, and..."
Here's, here's, here's the nub of it:
they were selling the game as an "M" game... That's right, but
let me, let me tell you what you don't know, and which I didn't
know when I called the attorney. The fact that it has now been
rated an "AO" game by the industry rating board means that it,
by definition, was not what it was purported to be. It was an
"M" game, but it was, it was in fact an "AO" game.
The fact is that it is, it is inarguable
that the game is now an AO game. You're missing the point: they
deceived the ESRB, and the ESRB said that. They said that "they
didn't tell us what was in the game". Well, arguendo, they also
didn't tell the public. And, I'm, I'm telling you, the fact that
there's been a rating change based upon the deception of, by Take-Two
of the ESRB almost makes this case a slam dunk. And lemme, lemme
tell you, you know, you and I can disagree on that, I'm just trying
to to tell you what the theory of the case is, and I, I think
you can agree it hasn't been reported this way in the media.
Let's say each game was fifty bucks a pop.
If you figure ten million units of GT:SA [sic] were sold, the potential
downstroke against Take-Two if the class is certified by the court
is five hundred million dollars. Now, I don't think Take-Two can
withstand that kind of a judgement.
If you're interested in a more in-depth
article, try these:
takes the industry on head to head.
they don't tell you.