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.