Despite Thompson’s Charges, Utah A.G. Has Been A Video Game Critic

Despite recent assertions by Miami attorney Jack Thompson that Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has “has locked arms with the video game industry,” the state’s chief law enforcement official has actually been a critic of game violence in the not too distant past.

GamePolitics readers will likely recall the 2005-2006 furor sparked by Eidos’ cops-and-robbers shooter, 25 to Life. The game was widely criticized by law enforcement organizations for the violence it portrayed against police officers. State legislatures in Michigan and Pennsylvania passed resolutions denouncing the game.

Shurtleff, acting in his capacity as Utah’s Attorney General, joined in the criticism. A January 13, 2006 article on the 25 to Life controversy in the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who participated in the September protest (against 25 to Life), said Thursday that he is upset Eidos is releasing the game, but he does not plan to take any legal action against the company.

“I just hope people don’t buy it and play it,” he said.

Eidos agreed in September to delay releasing the game until after Christmas, which it did, Shurtleff said. The company also pledged not to aggressively market 25 to Life and to encourage retailers not to sell the game – rated “M” for mature – to anyone under 18.

Shurtleff said he hopes retailers such as Wal-Mart will choose not to stock the game but acknowledged that was a “corporate, free-market decision.”

Thompson’s recent attacks on Shurtleff were prompted by the Attorney General’s advice to Utah’s legislature that a video game bill authored by the anti-game activist was likely to be found unconstitutional.

Yesterday, Thompson sent an e-mail to Utah House Speaker Greg Curtis calling for Shurtleff’s impeachment.

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  1. 0
    Cecil475 says:

    That’s right, I forgot about the whole 25 to Life deal with this guy. But as far as Jack believes, none of that matters. The A.G. dropped the bill that he drafted and is doing commercials promoting a videogame rating system he deems broken (and at one time wanted dismantled?) so therefore he is bedfellows with the videogame industry and needs to be impeached.

    (Yesterday, Thompson sent an e-mail to Utah House Speaker Greg Curtis calling for Shurtleff’s impeachment.)

    I agree about how this guy is still a lawyer. But as someone told me once, being an asshole isn’t against the law. If it were the prisons would be more over overcrowded than they are already.

    Dennis, This IP will be diffrent becuase I am posting this from school.

    – Warren Lewis

  2. 0
    somerguy says:

    There is no amount of discrediting or public humitation anyone could subject him to that would surpass what he has done to himself. He makes a fool of himself fairly often, but surprisingly people still listen to him. Though it seems the people listening to him are just out to get public attention and/or votes….all the people who take the issue seriously have long since distanced themselves from Jack.

  3. 0
    Siftr says:

    @ Phantom

    I believe it was about 150k for Lousiana

    It was Illinois that costed taxpayers 500k, however thompson seemed to always like saying “Illinois is the only state that has a law against selling pornographic games to minors” or some lie like that.

  4. 0
    Snakestream ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    In all of this mess, I have to say that it’s made me appreciate Shurtleff more. He doesn’t exactly agree with the current system, but he realizes that this is what happens when you have a free market system in place with freedom of speech. So, what does he do? Does he throw a hissy fit and foam at the mouth like a rabid dog in the street? No, he tries to spread the word that there is a system out there that tries to aid parents in making choices of games to buy for their children. Does he scapegoat all blame for all accidents at games and the gaming industry? No, he points the blame squarely where it belongs, at the ignorance of the parents. What’s more, he tries to rectify this ignorance by promoting the ESRB system so that parents can have some idea what their children are playing. Jack Thompson could really learn a lot from Shurtleff on how not to be such an idiot and how to serve the people and not himself.

  5. 0
    dog welder ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Nightwing — it’s dependent upon how the Utah State Constitution is set up. If the AG is an elected position (in some states they are appointed by the Governor) and if Utah has rules for impeachment of elected officials (most states have some variety of this), then he can be impeached.

    But I don’t see any grounds for impeachment here. Shurtleff has not broken any laws or done anything unethical, which is typically where grounds for impeachment begin.

  6. 0
    MaskedPixelante ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    It IS nice to know that someone in politics is trying to fix the problems the ESRB is facing, rather than placing the blame square on games. I’m not sure if he can get impeached though. If he can get impeached, it probably will get laughed out of court.

    I think 25 to Life needs to be banned, but not because it’s a violent game. It should be banned because it sucks, and no one should play it ever.

  7. 0
    Dustin1986 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Snakestream

    “Jack Thompson could really learn a lot from Shurtleff on how not to be such an idiot and how to serve the people and not himself.”

    This is not a lesson he’s interested in learning. If you think that his cause is about “the children” or “families” or even the videogames, you’re missing the point. This is absolutely about him. It’s about Jack vs. Goliath. Jack is the hero, Jack is our savior, Jack will bring these corrupt corporations all crashing down. But he has no problem hurting his own cause when attention is directed away from him. He demonizes Doug Lowenstein because for him to be an ally would require compromize, he would have to share his “glory”. When Dr. David Walsh distanced his organization from Jack due to his insulting attitude and crazy antics Jack condemned the entire organization! He said they were paid off by the game industry and Best Buy. Why does he attack one of his cause’s most respected alies? He still cites their studies as irrefutable proof of the danger’s of videogames, but he lashes out at David Walsh at the rop of a hat. Jack is a NARCISSIST. He can do no wrong. “My bill IS constitutional, the Louisiana legislature took a dive. It’s the only explanation!” Give me a break.

    Jack wants to destroy video games, but only on his own terms.

  8. 0
    Ace of Sevens ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    While the AG theoretically could be impeached, there are no grounds here. After all, he didn’t drop the law. The legislature did on his advice. If the sponsor of the bill was willing to take him at his word, then the legislature apaprently supports him advising them on potential new laws. I’m pretty sure it’s part of the job description. They aren’t going to impeach him for it.

  9. 0
    Dustin1986 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Snakestream

    Did you hear that radio interview with him where he just went off on David Walsh? It was a news story on the front page a long while back. It started with him saying the nicest thing about Dr. Walsh, and he was acting like they were working together. Then one of the Dr.’s associates called up the show and reminded him of all the vitriol and baseless accusations he’d been spewing at him recently. The entire interview got lost to that and the host had no idea what to do. I’m sure the link to that is long gone though.

    Why do all of his failures have to be a crazy conspiracy though? Louisiana took a dive because of pressure Doug Lowenstein!? Dr. David Walsh is in Blank Rome and Best Buy’s pocket? The Utah Attorney General is a video game enthusiast and industry apologist!? In his mind, he thinks that all he needs to say is that he’s a game enthusiast and everyone will be on the same page. “Oh, he’s one of those “Gamers”. He can’t be trusted!” He’s delusional, he’s delusional, he’s delusional!

    Everyone’s in on it! Everyone’s against me!

    I hope more people would have the common sense that Mark Shurtleff has. See? There is logic in Utah! They’ve just been getting a bad rap. It’s all right to try and keep bloody, gory stuff away from kids when they don’t have permission from their parents. But we shouldn’t place more restrictions on games than any other media. Equal protection under the law.

  10. 0
    Daniel says:

    @ Brokenscope

    What do you mean? Jack Thompson accused that guy of locking arms with the video game industry and he defended himself saying that he wasn’t like it was a bad thing to be in favor of the video game industry. If someone accused me of that, I’d thank that person for the compliment because to me, that is a compliment.

  11. 0
    monte' ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Shurtleff was just speaking the truth, he is not, nore has he ever been in favor of violent video games. He could probably be classiffied as a critic of violent games. However, the key difference between him and most other critics is that he has a very realistic way of thinking. He doesn’t like these games and undoubtly thinks they are bad for kids, but he knows that legislation will not work and is just a waste of time and money, and thus he goes against legislation. His realistic point of view allows him see better more effective ways of dealing with the issue, such as educating parents and promoting the few but good tools that the industry has made available to help parents raise their kids.

  12. 0
    hayabusa75 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    This article is a good example of Jack Thompson’s inability to view things in any shade except black and white. He not only attacks everyone on our side, he attacks people on his side who don’t do things his way. By your own admission, you have a bad habit of thinking in absolutes and extremes, just like he does. This is one of the reasons why you get compared to him by many of us, and for the last time, stop taking the comparisons as compliments. You’re far closer to a clone of him than a reverse. To me, the only differences are that he hates video games and you’re less articulate (but about as convincing).

    Caught your post to Chris Smith; nice to see you found a new leg to hump. Your Gandhi analogy was inane and irrelevant; Jack Thompson has always been a prick, but he’s never incited violent behaviour. He likes to profit off it, which is where his true hypocrisy shows itself. I find it ironic that you, Mr. History Major, love to cite all these events and people of historical significance, but you can’t seem to remember all the times you’ve gotten flamed for all the stupid things you’ve said. Then again, maybe you DO remember, and you’re just unwilling to try to better yourself. Now that’s a scary thought.

    For those of you new to this site, you’ll have to excuse me. Daniel and I have a bit of a “history” on this site, as does he and some others.

  13. 0
    Chris Smith says:

    I am so sick of Jack Thompson on his soapbox and crap about
    his crusade against video games. I wouldn’t be surprised that the
    email is being held as evidence to hold over his head if and
    WHEN thompson decides to EVER get physical in his conforntations
    about this sort of bullcrap. He need to get his Thorazine pills and
    shut up!!! We all need narcissistic dickweeds like him like we need
    carpet tacks in the soles of our feet. He needs a lobotomy, and a
    nice quiet corner in a padded cell… AFTER being disbarred.

  14. 0
    Kincyr ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “[Eidos] also pledged not to aggressively market 25 to Life and to encourage retailers not to sell the game – rated “M” for mature – to anyone under 18.”

    odd considering M-rated games are suitable for people 17 and up.

  15. 0
    Daniel says:

    It’s amazing that people just don’t want to be seen as defenders of violent video games. If an anti-game activist accused me of being a vigorous defender of violent video games, I would see that as a compliment. If I could be know as one thing, I would want to be known as a defender of violent video games. They’re awesome and they need to be defended. That’s also why I see it as a compliment when someone says I’m the reverse of Jack Thompson. I like being seen as a fan and defender of violent video games and that’s not to say that if a game is violent, it’s automatically good. I’ve played violent video games that absolutely suck. However, I have completely renounced the idea that violent video games make people violent.

    @ Bigman-K

    I respect you as a gamer and as a fellow enemy of Jack Thompson, but I live in California and I’m a huge fan of the San Diego Chargers and now you know how I felt last week when the New England Patriots beat the San Diego Chargers 24-21. I HATE the Patriots and I’m very glad that the Indianapolis Colts beat the crap out of the New England Patriots. I love Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. It’s a beautiful stadium and I went to the last baseball game ever played there on Sunday September 28, 2003 and I was there in November when the Chargers crushed the Denver Broncos 48-20. I had a soar throat for three days after that. As for the Patriots, all I can say is good by losers I hope they never make the Superbowl again. I hate the Patriots.

  16. 0
    Daniel says:

    @ Chris Smith

    That’s an awesome comment. That’s what I always say. We don’t need jerks like him. He’s a bum and he doesn’t deserve to have a license to practice law. You’re absolutely right, in fact, you couldn’t be more right. The irony is, of course, that he is against violent video games and violent media, but he isn’t as nonviolent as Gandhi is he? I don’t think so. In fact, he’s not nonviolent at all. If Gandhi were alive today, and he knew of Jack Thompson, he wouldn’t want anything to do with him becaue Jack Thompson is a hypocrite. He isn’t nonviolent at all. He goes around being aggressive all over the place.

    Your comment is golden and I think eveybody here on this site should post comments like that. He is crazy and he needs to be sent to a mental institution and be disbarred for good. You are an awesome contributor on this site just for posting that comment. I agree with it 100%. You rock. Keep posting comments like that. You struck gold with that comment; you hit the nail on the head. If you want to do more, go to and type in anything about Jack Thompson and you can find places to post other comments like that and make your voice heard. Do it, man, and God speed. Violent video games are the best invention ever in the history of humanity and they must be defended by geniuses like you. Keep putting out comments like that.

  17. 0
    Snakestream ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I am well aware of JT’s narcissism and self-promotion. I was just hoping that if he ever comes out of “Thompson World” and joins the rest of us on Earth, he might realize that a politician (and for that matter so should a lawyer) is supposed to help the people and not himself. However, this would be probably be near impossible, because it would require Thompson to actually grow a brain and take off his blindfold of self-delusional “righteousness.” I do find it funny how he attack Walsh and the NIMF, even though he constantly cites their publications and essays. I still can’t believe that JT passed a psych eval in the 90’s and hasn’t been disbarred yet. From his latest tirades, I think he needs to go in for a second opinion.

  18. 0
    Mnementh2230 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yesterday, Thompson sent an e-mail to Utah House Speaker Greg Curtis, calling for Shurtleff’s impeachment.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE put that up for us if you’ve got it. I’ve a friend who’s dying of cancer, and laughter is the best medicine! When a lawyer who should be disbarred is calling for someone to be impeached, the text of such a message must be the funniest goddamn thing on the planet!

    /ok, I don’t really have a friend dying of cancer, but the rest of it is true

  19. 0
    neoelasticman ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “Why should he get impeached, Mr. Thompson?”
    “He is having pornographic love affairs with the video game industry.”
    “They’ve locked arms, he’s a willing puppet to their plan to destroy and corrupt children.”
    “So let me get this straight… you want the man impeached because he likes video games? Because there was this game a while back that he was protesting, and…”
    “But he encouraged them to make a free-market decision, that is not a protest!”
    “You don’t like the free market?”
    “This isn’t about me… Shurtleff is encouraging free-market trade as well as evil video games. He must be impeached.”

  20. 0
    Tollwutig says:

    “Yesterday, Thompson sent an e-mail to Utah House Speaker Greg Curtis calling for Shurtleff’s impeachment.”

    Aww Dennis you can’t leave a teaser like that in an article without writing it up. I need my Monday morning laugh.

  21. 0
    dog welder ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hmmm…the Utah AG won’t step aside and let Jack make a mockery of Utah politics and courts, so he should be impeached?

    Hey, Jack, maybe you should run for his office in Utah!

  22. 0
    ChrowX ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    JT’s calling for impechment, but I can’t believe everyone is overlooking the rest of the humor here.
    A politician is not crusading against a game for one and all he hopes is that people follow the ESRB rating.
    What’s even funnier is 25 to life is yet another terrible game that got too much hyper because of it’s edgy themes. There was hardly a need to mention the gameback when it came out.

  23. 0
    aniki21 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It’s not clear that GP has a full copy of the email; JBT might just have mentioned in in passing in a “press release”.

    Still, if you do have it Dennis, I’m sure it would make great reading.

    As far as Shurtleff goes, I have to say that the more I hear about him, the more I like the guy. He’s promoting proactive education and positive campaigns to help parents make decisions about what they should allow their children to play; and while he’ll criticize the industry when he disagrees with them, he’s not willing to file frivolous and costly lawsuits at the taxpayer’s expense.

    We need more people in government with a firm idea of what the problems actually are, and a decent plan of how to address the issue.

  24. 0
    MaskedPixelante ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    Does anyone but me have a bad feeling about this? Why would Jack want to impeach the Utah AG, even though Mr. Shurtleff has criticized “25 to Life”. Maybe it’s not the complete removal of everyone who doesn’t agree with him, maybe it’s the complete removal who ever agreed with him, so they can’t testify against his global domination plans, or something?

    I have GOT to stop watching conspiracy movies, they’re making me paranoid like that.

  25. 0
    MaskedPixelante ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    It’s a Jack Thompson thing. Anyone who thinks the same way as him is his friend, and anyone who doesn’t should be taken out of power.

  26. 0
    Siftr says:

    Impeached? HA

    Jacky T, you got as much chance of impeaching Shurtleff as that eagle forum lady Phyllis Schlafly has in getting either a congressman or a judge impeached for their opinion.

    (believe it or not, Schlafly wanted a judge on the supreme court impeached because of his opinions on homosexuality and wanted “any congressman who doesn’t have the courage to impeach him should be impeached too” and for the record, it’s on that eagle forum website).

    anyways, Thompson has about as much foresight as a mouse on two hits of acid, since in his letter, thompson makes no reference to the A.G.’s past performance.

  27. 0
    Salen says:

    Wow, Impeachment? Its not even 8am and JT is trying to have him impeached? For what? I mean, seriously. For being a nice guy and not a jerk? Really, gamers keep trying to convince the Florida Bar that JT should be disbarred but that hasn’t happened yet considering all the wacky stuff he’s done, why should the Utah A.G. get impeached for trying to be fair minded in his convictions.

  28. 0
    Chuma ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m speculating. Without knowing what is in the letter I can’t tell you for sure, but it seems strange for an extract not to be here for amusement value at least.

  29. 0
    Chuma ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Mnementh2230: In the past Dennis has failed to write up some of Jack’s correspondence due to being unsure if it would leave him open to being sued. I imagine this might be one of those occasions also, even though I would love to read it as well.

  30. 0
    gs2005 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    John Bruce Thompson will obviously go to any extreme. Reason and logic do not apply in his world if it conflicts with his point of view in his jihad against the video game industry.

    I wonder who “funds” him? Does he actually do anything other than his unsuccessful ambulance chase act all the time?

  31. 0
    Brokenscope ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well jack, I think you may have crossed the line into fascist. Demanding the removal of anyone who has differing views from you. Yeah….

  32. 0
    Phantom says:

    I’m impressed. Louisiana had to waste half a million dollars in order to get Jack’s full dog-and-pony show. Utah just had to quietly say, “You know, we might sit on this and see how it turns out in other states” to get him to go after them.

    I wonder how much relief that bill’s sponsor is feeling this morning after seeing the quagmire he avoided getting entangled in.

  33. 0
    Bigman-K ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    God …… I wish we could read that e-mail he sent to the house speaker. I need some good laughter to get my spirits up after New England’s loss in the AFC championship yesterday. I still depressed over it today.

  34. 0
    F**ked Up says:

    I just wish there was a way to keep jack thompson quiet. But as we all know that wont happen. Only if there was a way to discredit him and public humilate him will he finally just shut up or stop the politicians from asking for his help.

    There is only one way I see the bill passing and that is to take load of violent video games play them and then go out an do a killing spree like the video game. Then when caught blame the video games. of course then corrlation will be changed to causation. But then I dont think anyone can be paid enough do this and u probably need more than one person. And I highly doubt this will happen in real life.

  35. 0
    Daniel says:

    @ hayabusa75

    My comparison about Gandhi is that Jack Thompson claims to be in favor of total nonviolence isn’t that right? However, he verbally attackes people and insults people constantly. He has never incited violent behavior that’s true, but he threw a temper tantrum in the courtroom of Judge Ronald Friedman and I read on the internet one time that after he made his bogus offer to Take-Two Interactive and someone contacted him about his quote, “Modest Video Game Proposal,” he called up the guy at Pennyarcade and chewed him out and said that if he ever emailed him again, he would regret it. That sounds like he was threatening the guy from Pennyarcade doesn’t it?

    Jack Thompson is a hypocrite claiming that he is in favor of total nonviolence, even in a fictional world, yet he verbally attacks, insults and sometimes even threatens people. That doesn’t sound right somehow. Also, I’m shocked that when you listed the differences between Jack Thompson and me you didn’t list the big one which is, of course, that I love violent video games and defend them tirelessly while Jack Thompson hates them and attacks them tirelessly. The analogy between Jack Thompson and Gandhi is that Gandhi did live completely in a doctrine of nonviolence and Jack Thompson hasn’t entirely been what I would call totally nonviolent.

    Also I thought it was awesome that finally someone else ran him down the way I like do. I’ve read about all the outrageous things that Jack Thompson has done and said. I think one of the most outrageous was his protest on Rockstar Games in August of 2005, he led a group from Washington D. C. to New York to make demands and protest outside of Rockstar Games and they were waving around signs saying the people at Rockstar Games were criminals and seeing those pictures makes me madder than almost anything and because of that protest, whenever I buy a Rockstar Game, I’m going to buy it at the store instead of online.

    I have an ebay account but buying it in the store will contribute directly to Rockstar Games. Even though it will cost more, I want to help Rockstar Games by buying the games in the store. I hope all gamers will support Rockstar Games fervently and will help Rockstar Games overcome this evil threat posed by the madness of that lying pig. We need to play lots of Rockstar’s Games and support it by sending them letters encouraging them to make more. Let’s all back up this awesome game company.

  36. 0
    Daniel says:

    @ Brokenscope

    That claim I made says that I think if I buy a game from someone off ebay, it’s not from the store directly which means that it’s not a direct contribution to Rockstar Games. If I get it from the store, it comes directly from Rockstar Games which means that it’s a direct contribution to Rockstar Games.

    By buying it at the store, I didn’t mean that it couldn’t be done online. Stores sell games online, but I was talking about ebay. If you buy it from ebay, the person that you buy it from already contributed to Rockstar Games by getting it at the store. However, by getting it at the store, it’s a new copy that Rockstar Games hasn’t sold yet and gives more money to Rockstar Games.

    One example is. If Rockstar has sold say 30,000 copies of a game, and you buy one of them from a guy on ebay. Rockstar has still sold 30,000 copies because you bought it from a guy on ebay, not from the store. If you go to the store and buy it there, they have now sold 30,001 copies of it and, thus, you are contrubuting directly to Rockstar Games.

  37. 0
    Brokenscope ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Can you not read? He said “differences are that he hates video games and you’re less articulate (but about as convincing).”

    I would also like to add that you are oblivious. Thompson just doesn’t care.

    “but buying it in the store will contribute directly to Rockstar Games.”

    What the hell are you talking about? Both are shipped out to stores and warehouses, THEN sold to consumers. Hell Take2 makes the money, rockstar gets paid to make more games. Please back this claim up, or stop using it.

    God, your stupidity infects almost every thread.

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