Jack Thompson Announces College Debate Tour

October 17, 2006 -
It seems that Jack Thompson is planning a road show.

The anti-game activist is lining up a college tour, during which he promises "to debate all opponents regarding the dangers of (violent video) games and what to do about them."

Thompson's designated opponent will be magazine publisher Bob Guccione, Jr. (Spin, Discover). As Thompson himself writes in a press release e-mailed to GamePolitics and other media outlets:
"College student video gamers who want to see this debate should encourage their respective schools to book it, and then to attend it in their “I Hate Jack Thompson” t-shirts..."

Rather surprisingly, Thompson's press release included a picture of one such t-shirt as well as a link to buy them - from Think Geek, no less, which is associated with Penny Arcade, a site the attorney once tried to have shut down. 

For more info, see the tour promoter's site

UPDATE: Thompson e-mails in to say that the first debate will be at California University of Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh) on January 30th... We cannot confirm this, however.


You know, protesting Jack would be pretty fun too. I know colleges do that sort of stuff like when the Vice President went to some college and some kids stood up in the middle of the speech and turned around. Folks could even consider wearing their t-shirts. Maybe in the green "Make 7-Up Yours" shirt. Ok, maybe not but hey, protesting is still a valid way of making your feelings known be it to JT or your school officials who invite them to your college.

Hmmm...so Jack Thompson is working for Penny Arcade and it's just a huge publicity stunt!!!

Oh my god...it's all so clear now.

There's going to be cameras right? Because a red-faced Jack Thompson is a funny Jack Thompson. I hope he puts together a best of/worst of tape I think that would be worth buying, and probably the reason why he's doing this.

At any rate, does he just want to feel like people hate him and want to destroy him so he feels vindicated in his clearly insane quest? I ask because he's encouraging people to buy "I hate thompson" shirts...

I dunno, the guy is hard to peg, maybe after the other 17,000 press releases he sends this month I'll "get" him.

I REALLY hope no one decides to attend these things. I don't trust anything orchestrated by Jack; he will have some strategy in place to make himself look the moral superior. I think GoodRobotus has the right idea; don't give this attention whore any rope.

Looking over both Jack and Bob's respective wikis, the only correlation was that Mr. Guccione referred to Jack as a "modern-day Don Quixote" during the 2 Live Crew debacle. While this endears him slightly more to me, I still don't see where he's remotely qualified to debate Jack about video games. My guess is that the debate isn't going to be so much about that, and more about media and the responsibilities of content producers.

However, Jack's a money whore who loves to get rich off his "principles," so he passed the memo to Dennis in order to get us riled up. He wants us to turn out to boo him all the way to the bank. Meh.

I wouldn’t hold my breath that this will be anything of note. Thompson has proven time and time again that he can’t debate. He just answers all questions by misstating some study and then saying by not agreeing with him the person he is talking to is killing the youth of the nation and doesn’t understand what he is doing and is evil blah blah blah

To be honest I also want to know why he is doing this now. Could it be because his law was thrown out for been uncontitional and that he failed in his bid to ban bully? I mean no politician would touch this man with a barge poll, as a result he needs to claw and scrape to extend his 15 minutes of fame and going on a tour is a way to do that. However if like we all hope Thompson faces some real debates and is torn apart how long will he go on for.

Like all things he does this is badly planned out and will result in him making a fool out of himself, but at least people will be talking about him and in his own little insecure mind that is a victory enough for him as he will do what he always does and focus on the fact that he did it rather then the fact that it failed

"Jack Thompson has been much in demand on college campuses, where he participates in debates on such issues as how popular culture products can cause, violence; censorship and the First Amendment; and other related issues. His work has already influenced the debate as the video game industry considers him its public enemy #1."

Well, at least they know the first rule of advertising. If you can't think of anything good, make up lies that sound kinda good.

Here's hoping he comes to my college in canada :D

I'm not really expecting him to come to my college, though it is a Jesuit University, so it's posiible....

Anway, I can't see how this will be of any benefit for him given, well, it's Jack Thompson. He can't debate his way out of a paper bag. Heck, I'd probably be able to out-debate him, and I hate debates.

All those in favor of NOT inviting Jack to their college? Aye!

Seriously, we should not give into his fame-grabbing, money-loving schemes. Pay this no mind. Anyone who successfully books this guy is just handing him money for his ridiculous crusade. I know you think it would be funny to see him rant and fume but it's not worth giving him the publicity or your school's money. Ignore his baiting. Ignore this cry for attention. Ignore Jack Thompson.

What's needed in this college debate tour are people who know exactly what facts Jacko will be trotting out, and the ability to call him on it each time, lest we have a rehash of the G4 "debate."

Despite his eternal status as "village idiot" in the gaming world, he has the ability to sound authoritative to those who are uninformed. If he didn't, he wouldn't be able to make all those claims to CNN and whatever else he gets off to appearing on.

Cold, hard facts are needed for successful rebuttals. Let him be the name-calling ass if need be; if the audience sees us frothing while he keeps himself as the more poised JT we saw in the first part of Niero's articles on Destructoid (and in most of his public appearances), we lose face.

Bottom line: Consider this the videogame equivalent of Uwe Boll taking on critics.

Debate? Wait, I think we've got a word-definition problem here. Any "debate" that Jack's going to be taking part in will probably be about as much of a "debate" as that whole "Attack of the Game" segment he was on to "debate" video games as well.

Plus, is it really a debate if Jack's just reiterating the same tired studies and the same boring catchphrases?

The whole idea? Pass.

I can't wait to see a gamer beat this communist lawyer in a debate. I have lots of steak!!

I wouldn't attend even if there was a point.

There's no way on Earth that I'm going to help this man use his own obnoxiousness and lack of manners as a stepping stone for his career.


Good point. I think part of the reason why he's pushing for his larger critics, i.e. gamers, to show up wearing the "I hate Jack Thompson" shirts is that he wants to reinforce the idea everyone is out to get him as it were. If people show up to heckle him, it wohnd only serve to prove his position that we're an out of control, socially inept group and he could easily turn down future offers of debate using this example of precident. The best way to counter this would be not to give into the temptation to heckle him and instead of taking fashion tips from Jack, show up in business or business casual. By just showing that we are going to attend the debates with courtacy and professionalism, it would sabatoge any grandstanding on Jack's part and keep the door open for further debate on the subject of videogames and the first admendment.

Please come to UCF. I just the chance to so totally pwn him that he forever shuts up. All he has to do is come to UCF...Probably won't. Which sucks. Oh well.

Now correct me if I'm wrong but, in a debate, is it not customary for one of the debaters to know something? What qualifications does this guy, the guy who made Spin magazine whos name is not important enough to remember or scroll up, have other than being an ass. If Thompson was going to have a real debate, he would get someone like Seanbaby, someone who actually knows the medium.

Considering how liberal colleges tend to be, JT is walking into a snakepit. College folk hate religious conservatives.

Yeah, put me in the "not impressed, not interested, waste of time" camp.

Anyone who thinks this is going to be a chance for them to punk Jack in public is fooling themselves. He's not going to be the crazy spaz we know from LJ, PA, VG Cats, etc. He's going to be the CNN Jack. The one who tosses out statements that sound plausible and misquotes studies. Unless you've actually read all the studies, you're never going to seriously bust him on the spot. Even if you can get him to snap, its not like the media is going to be following him around on this tour.

Like others, I'm also not impressed with his debate partner. I know Guccione is a publisher, so one would assume he's pro free speech. However, I can't say as I've ever seen him say anything in public on the issue at hand. We know there have been people in other industries (and even in the game industry) who don't necessarily believe that games qualify as art and/or speech.

Now, if he were to debate someone who seems more relevant, I'd be more interested. In addition to the names I've seen already in posts here, I'd toss out Hal Halpin, Doug Lowenstein, Patricia Vance, or even Jerry Holkins, Mike Krahulik or Scott Ramsoomair.

Clearly the wrong opponent here... if we wanted something interesting, why won't Jack debate an expert on games, such as Tom Buscaglia? What does Guccione, Jr. know about games?

That being said, if Jack won't debate a game expert... I've got an alternative suggestion... someone who has made college tours himself.... the personage formerly known as WWF's Ultimate Warrior.

I would pay to see that sheer carwreck of illogic.

I'd also like to point out that this so-called debate he claims he wants to have is nothing more than a sham to pass on the same type of false information he's been passing out to other individuals, organizations, and government officials. He's been lying time and again, and called on those lies with proof and evidence, but he's too ignorant to recognize his failings.

Frankly, the man couldn't stand up to a real nationally publicized debate if his life depended on it. Let him debate Dr. Henry Jenkins of MIT. Or Dr. Richard Gelles (who did a recent Q&A session and downplayed the role of video games in regards to overall effects on violence ( http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/living/health/qa_forum.html?forumId=285... )) of the Center for Research on Youth and Social Policy ( http://www.sp2.upenn.edu/crysp/ ).

Let him go head to head in debates with attorneys from the overall media industry (video games, TV, movies, music, books, etc).

But no, he's too cowardly for that. Have a REAL debate? Not a chance.

John Bruce has proven himself time and again to be nothing more than a tin-pot dictator wannabe. Look at the legislation he helped draft. Look at the lawsuit he brought to attempt to force Take Two to give him a copy of the yet to be release game Bully. Look at his interviews. Everything he's done screams of demands to do it HIS way or HIS way. HE has to be the one to play Bully to decide if it's appropriate for OTHER people's children. HE has to decide if any other game is appropriate for OTHER people's children. HE has to create legislation that would violate Parental Rights by making it the government's decision as to what is or is not appropriate for other people's children (as long as the government agrees with HIM, because if they don't, well, you've seen what happens when someone turns on him and doesn't agree with HIS way. Just ask Dr. Walsh of NIMF or the AG, governor, and others in LA).

I feel very strongly about the issue of Parental Rights and the rights of parents to make decisions for their OWN children and that no other individual, organization, or government official has the right to violate a Parent's Rights. Oh, I'm sure there are "but"s to that in some people's eyes, but rest assured, there ARE comebacks to a number of them quite easily.

I also feel very strongly about the lack of honor and ethics being displayed by John Bruce, not merely in the public forum but in the government and legal forums as well. Lies and deceit do not belong in those forums. Especially when someone is SUPPOSED to be a professional in those areas. Anyone who uses lies and deceit in the legal and government forums is clearly incapable of being in those forums.

And I also feel very strongly about the downplaying, ignoring, and even encouraging of all forms of abuse in and out of the school setting. So John Bruce's actions and attitudes really get under my skin. Such individuals are abhorrent and obscene. I don't care how many religious scriptures they spout.

John Bruce standing in front of impressionable young adults debating anything to do with video games? May as well get someone from Fred Phelps's group to participate in a debate on Human and Civil Rights.

NW2K Software
(Note: This post is an edited version of a post I made elsewhere on Oct 10, 2006 here: http://ve3dboards.ign.com/general_news/b10496/25276590/p3
edits were made due to changes in events since that time plus changes in discussion. But the jist is still the same.)

So this is his next big money making idea now that the whole lawyer thing isn't working out, huh?

We've seen how he "debates". I wouldn't waste my time even going along to watch.


You forgot one. Thompson debating Tom Buscaglia.

- Warren Lewis

Jack's new bragging right.

"I am Jack Thompson, Miami lawyer. I am an expert. I was on 60 Minutes. I have been on many college campus debates."

That reminds me, remember when he chickened out from a debate with Tom Buscaglia and wanted it done in a church?

I'm pretty much echoing Nightwing's thoughts here....

He wants to debate about violent video games, so he invites a debate opponent who happens to be a magazine publisher? Huh?

In what world does that make sense?

I think viewing all that violence in Bully last week might have fried Thomson's frontal lobe.

Just a quick question. Isn't Jack known to be someone who will challenge someone to a debate and then back out at the last second if someone accepts his challenge?

Jack Thompson has been much in demand on college campuses, where he participates in debates

I beg your pardon? I've never heard of Jack going to a college to debate anyone. Even when Buscaglia or FFJ (I think it was them) invited him to such an event, he chickened out.

Assuming he even goes through with this, it'll make no difference. Jack will be preaching his unsound rhetoric to a group of kids far more up-to-date than him about what games involve.

@ KungFu-tse

At a church??

- Warren Lewis


Yeah, it's on Tom's blog.

"Jack got back with me later, now trying to get me to debate him in his church in Coral Gables and continuing to call me a liar. For the life of me I can not see where I am a liar…unless he thought I claimed he actually was an Organ Grinder’s Monkey. I am a lot of things, but liar is not one of them."


You weren't here on GP when it happened?

This is the previous email exchange:


Basically, Tom named the time and place, Jack wanted in a church, and then eventually he chickened out.

Actually, the use of the title former is not needed in your comment on the Ultimate Warrior. He had his name legally changed so he could use it.

It's too bad the Warner Bros(And the Warner Sister) don't exist, cuz they would drive Jack Thompson batty if they could. XP

Isn't he just wasting his time?

Yeah, I've been on GamePolitics for about a year (October 29) I'm sure That I saw the comment and said something about it. At this time I don't really remember what I said.

- Warren Lewis

Actually, I beleive JT would be collecting $$ for touring. Considering how his court cases don't ever go his way, its probably the best revenue stream he can get.

He's too good for a "real" job.

ooooo anyone have the schedule of where hes going. If hes coming to WVU, it would a perfect addition to the english 102 paper I'm writing which happens to be on video game violence and whos for censorship and against. Though as much as i wanted to not talk about John Bruce, it seems unavoidable since alot of my sources bring him up, so hes going to show up in my final draft sadly, but if he shows up at my university before December then I WILL have some actual decent and soild info to destroy the people for game censorship.

Dammit. I don't go to a real school that holds seminars like this. Someone needs to tape it or record it or something. I need to see this.

Please tell me he's coming to San Diego. Please.

And curse the booking agency for not giving a schedule.

Here's my question: Doesn't he have a lawsuit (or lawsuits) to attend to.

Oh, wait. The ego needs feeding.


Oh, I'm quite aware of Warrior W. Warrior's name changing shenanigans, but I just put out the old name just in case some readers here may not have been.

So, Jack's career is over, and he's going on the lecture circuit?

Good. The college students will chew him a new one. This won't last long. He'll bail after the first few.

"His work has already influenced the debate as the video game industry considers him its public enemy #1."

Jack***, it's true isn't it? This is our fault, but I've decided to blame you more than myself.

Can we call this the "Jack versus Goliath" tour?

So I guess 60 minutes, Oprah, CNN and all the other real stations didn't even want him on their show's huh?

aniki21 Says:
Assuming he even goes through with this, it’ll make no difference. Jack will be preaching his unsound rhetoric to a group of kids far more up-to-date than him about what games involve.

Guess you haven't been to many college debates. I used to attend "Evolution vs. Creation" debates before ID became the new black, and it was preaching to the choir. Most of the attendees were sheep who showed up to nod in agreement at any BS the Creation debater spouted, laugh at his lame jokes, and glaze over whenever the Evolution debater spoke.

Very rarely was a competent, well educated, good debater "picked" for the "evolution" side. Usually it was just some prof who volunteered to try to lecture the audience, and of course not having a PhD in "brow beating", he always loses horribly to the creationist who would spot all the usual topics.

I hope to god Jack comes to California University of Pennsylvania (Yes there is a California, Pennsylvania)

We had Joe Lieberman here a while ago and I was thinking of bringing a sign that said "I Play GTA. EVERYBODY RUN FOR YOUR LIVES" but I decided against it entirely and didn't attend at all.

A friend attended and it nearly turned into a riot because of how people acted to others. Shouting as loud as possible to drown out any and all speaking, etc, etc, etc. Really retarded stuff.

This is purely attention grabbing and a funding attempt by JT, it's going to be a complete sham from start to finish and is not going to focus on computer games, it's going to focus on Jack Thompson and why he thinks he has the God-given right to alter the First Amendment.

It's a popularity show, and, quite frankly, turning up at it will only serve to increase his media-weight. I recommend as many people as possible ignore this, it's not a debate, it's an attempt to get more attention so he can continue harassing Rock Star.

'His work has already influenced the debate as the video game industry considers him its public enemy #1.'

Which video game industry did they talk to? The ones on Planet Earth ignore him, and justifiably so.

How in hell can anyone in their right mind still consider duke nukem relevant? I am so very tired of them bring up the old mortal combats and it ilk and throwing them out as the present state of things.

For the record, Jack Thompson is NOT a communist. He's a Christo-facist... There is a BIG difference.

Here's hoping he comes to my town!
I think my debate class could beat his ass.
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