Boston Transit Chief Bitter, But Says No More M-rated Game Ads on Buses, Trains

While those controversial ads for GTA Vice City Stories will remain on Boston subway cars through November, it may be the last GTA ad carried on Beantown mass transit – ever.

As reported by GamePolitics, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority boss Daniel Grabauskas has refused to pull the current ads, citing contractual and First Amendment concerns.

But in a November 22nd letter to the Campaign For a Commercial-Free Childhood, Grabauskas wrote that he has begun the process of amending the MBTA’s advertising guidelines with an eye toward banning future ads for M- and AO-rated games.

GamePolitics has obtained a copy of the letter (faxed in by Jack Thompson), in which Grabauskas quite acidly addresses the way the situation went down:

If you had a concern… a more open way to accomplish what you sought would have been to… engage in a constructive dialogue… We were given no opportunity to do that… the manner of your request… was cheap.

While violent video games may be a contributing factor, they are certainly not the only factor in the rise of violence among young people… By overplaying the importance of this not-most-important factor… you have not addressed the more important root causes. In fact, you have done a disservice.

Next Grabauskas writes about the GTA ads, which will stay on MBTA trains through the end of November:

The advertisements… will remain… Absent agreement by the advertiser to voluntarily pull the advertisements, we have no choice…

We have begun the process of amending our current guidelines in a manner that would result in the prohibition, in the future, of the advertisement of video games that have received either a rating of “M” …or “AO”…

The worst of all results… would be to take knee-jerk action in a manner… that would be overturned by any possible legal challenge…

I expect that you will now be about the business of taking on the other challenges causing violence in our City and in our Commonwealth with equal zeal… I urge you not to be too smug with the result. There is no victory where there was never a battle.

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