Jack Thompson Declines PAX Debate Offer

June 2, 2007 -
A few days back, GamePolitics learned that the Penny Arcade crew was planning an extraordinary event at PAX in late August: a debate involving vitriolic anti-game activist Jack Thompson.

To make an extra splash - and for security reasons - Penny arcade planned not to announce the debate until about an hour before it occurred.

PA's hope was that Thompson's opponent would be someone knowledgable about video games like Entertainment Consumer Association (ECA) president Hal Halpin, or perhaps Jason Della Rocca, executive director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).

Because negotiations were going on behind the scenes, GP was unable to report on the proposed Thompson debate. Yesterday morning, however, things began to fall apart, supposedly over Thompson's objection to keeping the debate under wraps. Last night Kotaku got hold of the story. In an e-mail circulated to certain media outlets - including GamePolitics, the Miami attorney wrote:
...I would be delighted to do the [debate], but Penny-Arcade's positon that this must be kept "under wraps" and that I cannot tell the media and others about the event is both absurd and troubling. 

For Penny-Arcade to take the position that there must be a news blackout on this strikes me and others as hypocritical to the max.  You guys are the ones who think that even adult entertainment materials should be marketed and sold to children because of "freedom of expression," and yet I am not allowed to tell media and others of this debate?  Come on, how transparently double-standard-bound in your machinations can you all be? 

GP: Thompson consistently twists the position of those who support the First Amendment's application to games into "adult entertainment materials should be marketed and sold to children." This is perfect debate material.
If you want me to come to Seattle and address 6000 hostile people as to why the United States is the only backward nation in the world when it comes to the distribution of adult video games to children, then I will be happy to do it.  But your position that only Penny-Arcade gets to tell the world about this event and in the way that only you all get to decide is patently ridiculous. 

Man up and realize what the First Amendment is really all about, Robert and I'll be happy to celebrate it with all my "admirers" in Seattle, including Gabe.

I've been in far more hostile environs than what you offer.  You all need to grow a pair of what a kid can cut off in Manhunt 2. 

GP: Actually, Thompson really blew it here. Penny Arcade's invitation amounts to a tacit recognition of Miami Jack's high - albeit, negative - profile among gamers. Now that he has blown the lid off the secrecy of the proposed event, we'd like to see it go forward anyway. But Thompson's intransigence may have exhausted the patience of the Penny Arcade guys. 

GP POLL: What do you think about this? Would you like to see the debate go forward? Vote in the GamePolitics Poll on the upper right sidebar.

Digg!

Comments

[...] Jack Thompson Refuses Penny Arcade Offer to Debate at PAX 07 Jack Thompson Refuses Penny Arcade Offer to Debate at PAX 07 The Penny Arcade crew was hoping to unveil a major surprise at PAX 07 in August - a debate between game-hatin’ attorney Jack Thompson and Hal Halpin, head of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), which represents gamer interests. But Thompson refused because he wouldn’t agree to keep it secret - at least that what he says the reason is.[industry news] [gaming] [news] [game] [...]

[...] Jack Thompson Refuses Penny Arcade Offer to Debate at PAX 07 Jack Thompson Refuses Penny Arcade Offer to Debate at PAX 07 The Penny Arcade crew was hoping to unveil a major surprise at PAX 07 in August - a debate between game-hatin’ attorney Jack Thompson and Hal Halpin, head of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), which represents gamer interests. But Thompson refused because he wouldn’t agree to keep it secret - at least that what he says the reason is.[industry news] [gaming] [news] [game] [...]

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mister jack thompson

CONVERT NOW OR FALL FOREVER

[...] The Penny Arcade crew was hoping to unveil a major surprise at PAX 07 in August - a debate between game-hatin’ attorney Jack Thompson and Hal Halpin, head of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), which represents gamer interests. But Thompson refused because he wouldn’t agree to keep it secret - at least that what he says the reason is.read more | digg story Share: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

"For Penny-Arcade to take the position that there must be a news blackout on this strikes me and others as hypocritical to the max. "

Who uses phrases like "hypocritical to the max?"

Anyway I would actually have liked to see this argument take some form of civilized debate. Guess so long as the other side is represented by him we'll be out of luck.

"I’m not a JT fan be any stretch but there was no reason for PA to put such a restriction on his appearance."

and if they don't, some idiots plan, Jack gets attacked, and then suddenly anyone with the same agenda as him aside from media attention has a perfect reason to have games banned form the Us completely.

From reading people's comments here. While Jack is a stupid man. Wanting to be a Martyr or something along the lines I think makes him a dangerious man and insaine man. I agree with some readers here. He's probably willing to go as far as to get himself seriously hurt just to prove his point.

IF something did happen to him what would happen? Would the industry get the blame?

I just wish that if something did happen to him it would be explained that it happened because Jack was provoking and aggrovating it. Persons did what they did not because "games make you voilent"....but because Jack was being a bully and asked for it.

I'm not a JT fan be any stretch but there was no reason for PA to put such a restriction on his appearance. For once in my life I'm agreeing with this lunatic.b

Seriously. What's the point of having him go to PAX to debate?

First off, he won't be swaying anyone attending. Secondly, he probably wouldn't debate so much as spout logical fallacy after half-truth. Third, he doesn't really have anything relevant to say on the matter. He thinks he does. Some legislators think he does. They are wrong, and we all know it.

Looks like all of my gamer friends are right. Jack Thompson is a public nuisance and also at worst, a threat to society. And this person is just trying to make our society like a pile of garbage, I think he doesn't even fit to be a father and besides, Jack is not setting a very good example for his son.

Please, Jack. Respect our freedom and get your arse out of our lives.

The single reason JT is upset that PA wanted to keep it a secret is so if it were publicized that when he showed up he would be attacked and therefor validate his supposed claims.

In other words, PA knew this would be the case and decided it would be in the best interests for them and all of the PAX attendees to keep it under wraps to keep the chances of the seriously unhinged fanatics from showing up specifically to target that event.

Now see, JT also knew this and wanted to capitalize on such an event by inviting all the media to see the possible unhinged fanatic attack him and therefor validate his claims in a roundabout way. He basically is egging people on for this type of thing to happen just so he can use it as a weapon.

Basically, I'd just laugh my ass off if he got the pie-in-the-face treatment and was done with it...I'm sure he'd take that as some sort of violent outburst and have a field day.

I really think this shows just how out of touch the fool is from reality. The way I see it, sure it would be a supprize to see him appear on stage there. However, to announce a time, date, and location to a group of people which includes a few who mindlessly type "I'm willing to kill the guy" is anything but a bright idea.

A debate involving a figure to which claimed to of resceved death threats from various "gamers", to take place in a setting which is to play host to various "gamers", should of ment something. Sure things will be hostile, but all it takes is a single idiot to prove the fool correct. Many of us know this, but are we the idiots?

I think the reason that PA wanted to invite him was to have their definitive once and for all show down betyween the current "Kings of Gaming culture" and Jack Thompson.

Honestly. I would've been happy with them keeping the thing underwraps until a month or so before the event.

And I think that this latest development shows what jack is really about. Being an attention whore.

lol..."Hypocritical to the max"

What a hilarious statement.

Ah, the Internet. The preferred weapon of choice for the cowardly shit-talker. Just keep it up, Jackoff. You'll get your comeuppance soon enough, whatever form it may take.

I don't see why they would even invite him. While he is a self proclaimed expert on the subject is that really all it takes to get noticed? Time and time again he spouts nothing but nonsense and then to even partially take him seriously like this? At best his invitation would lead to a comedy show...

At what point do you think he actually stopped caring about what his campaign was about and only cared about (in)fame and fortune?

I think it is amazing that such an expert on the first amendment consistently fails to understand that the first amendment only applies to the government and not individuals...

"You all need to grow a pair of what a kid can cut off in Manhunt 2."

A. You don't play as a kid in Manhunt 2, so no kid is cutting off anything.
2. One can see this as an invitation to (how should I put this?) "provide him visual evidence proving him wrong" (I do NOT condone this)
Shall we report him to the FBI by fighting fire with fire, and by "fire" I mean "taking quotes out of context"?

with all due respect to everyone, jt is simply a griefer he thrives on being yelled at and doing nothing mre than causing trouble by not allowing the media to cover any trouble he caused simply would not be seen and therefore he is against all this. simply put he is the garbage that ruins the legal system

He's willing to debate in front of 50 college students in some backwater town...but not infront of 6000 people at a major industry event.

Nad yet he complains that his own "open challenge" for a debate is also contingent to him making a finanical gain in the process.

Wow....just wow.

Jakc the reason why the debate was kept secret was so that we don't get a large supply of idiots just begging for a chance to insult you, probably give you rude gestures, and turn the whole thing into a circus. I don't think you would've gotten a ton of coverage anyway. He wanted to keep the affair as formal as possible and not advertising it to the trolls (our trolls) is a great way to do so.

This just in - in a desperate bid to remain relevant, Miami lawyer Jack Thompson turns down yet another debate!

For some reason every time I read a quote of Thompson's I imagine him going home, shutting off all the lights, and hiding in the closet while in the fetal position... rocking back and forth muttering, "Gamers... they're everywhere..."

I can't say i'm dissapointed, I've seen Jack do debates before, he doesn't pay any attention to the facts, evidence or arguements being proposed by the opposite side, he just keeps saying the same things over and over again.

What a coward.

@Dave: Theoretically I think it would be libel, which I think includes any permanent media (printed) as opposed to a transient media (spoken.)
Though it's not enough for a case. Slander/libel requires that the would-be defendant say something that is demonstrably false, that the defendant knew was false, and that he said anyway for some malicious reason. For one the statement may not be false enough - it's a twisted, extremist version of the anti-legislation camp. And for another I'm not sure how much harm is actually being done. Neither the video game industry nor PA are likely to lose business or reputation in the eyes of those they care about because of this statement. It's pretty shaky, and to my knowledge especially in the US the courts will always err on the side of it not being slanderous.

God, no. What are the PA guys thinking? Nothing would be served having him at PAX--there would be no reasonable dialogue, no exchange of ideas--just a man everyone hates, and who would hate everyone who was there. It would be a freakshow, plain and simple, and I can't imagine making time to indulge either party at an event as full as PAX is supposed to be. Life's too short.

What a dumbass!

Pirates of the carribean, curse of the black pearl. Gimmie my points.
Now then.
I hope jack DOES NOT come. He does not deserve the publicity he gets.

and tell me, john bruce, if the media was to know about it:

a) who would care
b) you want 6000 angry gamers to be surrounding you?

"You guys are the ones who think that even adult entertainment materials should be marketed and sold to children because of “freedom of expression,”

I don't think PA believe that. So wouldn't that be libel/slander or which ever it is called there?

If you want to see a reactionist rant about false demons and such, oy, go watch his fat, 8-year old version of himself on South Park. Or take the ill-advised way and get pissed off by rich, selfish, bald guy who does nothing but insult more people than Borat, watch The O'Reilly Factor, oy. But imagine if that's what he acted like all the time off screen.

Ok so someone else design a way to debate with JT. I dislike JT as many do but the fact remains that PA has just as much to gain in PR even if they hide when and how. As a person said above JT can hire security and so can PA.

Find some expo hall in a cheap hotel near the airport. Is this PR event really needed at some expensive hotel?

Everytime he speaks it's a textbook example of numerous logical fallacies. No wonder he's such a godawful lawyer.

Well no, this isn't another 'shooting fish in a barrel' debate, why would he agree to a real fight that he obviously can't win?

I'm glad the debate is gone. It was a secret so PAX wouldn't become the grave of Wacky-Jacky boy. They wanted to play it safe out of concern that the one lone person would take a chance to maim or kill Jacky at the debate. It is a huge event, and it does get bigger each year, and it isn't always gamers that attend.
Jacky is psychotic enough to want to become a martyr to prove his point, despite how it'd fall short. The only good thing that could come out of it, is that Jack would be shut up forever and that means some money could be saved, and less frivolous cases.
However, PAX would show up on Fox News and the owners would feel terrible, and their wonderful event could go to ****, along with their charity.

Anyway, it is better safe than sorry. A mental sicko like Jack doesn't deserve to be in a place where it is likely he'll be hurt. It is similar to hitting a handicap person, as Jack has a handicap of being crazy.

i wouldn't like to see Jack Thompson anywhere aside from homeless on the street, with the rest of the trash.

He says we should "realize what the First Amendment is all about." What, then, IS it all about, JT? Agreeing with everything you say? Only having the freedom to express certain, JT-approved ideas?

Hey, Jacky Boy, Ken Titus called and said to "Quit being a wussy."

It just shows that Jacky Boy knows that if he agrees to a debate with people who actually understand everything about the business, he's screwed.

Jack: [after being asked to debate] Put it away, son. It's not worth you getting beat again.
Gamer: You didn't beat me. You ignored the rules of engagement. In a fair debate, I'd kill you.
Jack: That's not much incentive for me to debate fair, then, is it?

(Oops, thinking of the wrong Jack - silly me. And fifty internet points to anyone that can recognize the source of the somewhat edited quote.)

Jack Thompson's understanding of our constitution should be an absolutely simple offense against his law license, and should be a red flag for any judge, bar, or client that has to work with him.

The same should be said for Hilary Clinton and her constituents.

To think that our constitutional rights should be compromised to protect the false concept of innocence in children is bad parenting, bad lawyering, and bad presidenting. To limit children's exposure to this material is one thing. To limit the industries exposure to "protect" children is a completely bass ackwards way of doing things.

These anti-videogame headfigures need to be questioned for their allegiance to America and freedom.

I sincerely doubt that this had much to do with a "security" situation as it did with preventing pandemonium in more of a general sense. The guys at PA are pretty smart and would have realized immediately that if they were keeping things "under wraps" for security issues directly support ole Jack's argument about how violent media encourages violent behavior.

As a previous person mentioned, it was most likely meant to keep the event from becoming a circus and a media frenzy controlled by Thompson. If it would was widely known that Thompson would be there before hand the overcrowding alone would lend itself to a "security" issue. Maybe this is simply giving Thompson too much credit (and I certainly hope that is the case.) By keeping things on the down low PA would have been able to much more easily maintain a professional environment where the discussion and debate could have happened in a very positive environment where everyone, including Ole Jack, could have learned something.

The bottom line is that Jack doesn’t WANT to learn anything. As mentioned by many before me, all he wants is every excuse, exploit, legal act, death, dismemberment, and anything else conceivable to push his agenda. He is the opposite of what Americans should be. His behavior, both personal and professional, is blatantly opposite to his (supposed) Christian beliefs.

When all a person can do is threaten legal action to anyone who even goes as far as simply disagreeing with him, he has crossed the line. This kind of flagrant abuse of the law is appalling. My hope is that he will be permanently disbarred from the Florida bar ASAP.

I look at it this way, they wanted to keep it under wraps so that could actually have a debate and not just people showing up the scream hate at him (which is what he wants). If he honestly wanted to have a debate and convince people he was right, he would still be negotiating the terms.

Also from a security standpoint, minimizing the amount of time someone has to plan something is vital. This is why even slight changes are made to the positioning of security and there are also small changes made to the layout of stages between events. Its simple and goes unnoticed by spectators but security actually thinks of these things.

6000? Nearly 20,000 people attended PAX last year, and it's likely it will be even bigger this year.

Jackie just doesn't want to actually debate someone who knows what they're talking about in front of an audience that can see through his lies and half-truths.

I suppose we could see the situation from several standpoints.
While one might argue, as John Bruce did, that PA wanted to control who would be witness to the event (not one that I believe was happening, but it's a rational probability view), one might also intelligently argue that PA was trying to keep John Bruce from the increased swamp of ignorant bafoons who love to email John Bruce stupidity such as making threats, even if they didn't mean them.

Of course, John Bruce has had a history of running from debates for one reason or another. So, his argument that PA wasn't brave enough to let him participate reeks of deceit. Let's face it, John Bruce has had a lot of bluster, only to back down at the last second. The debates proposed with The Game Attorney Tom B. and Della Rocca on previous occassions were two examples. By this time, you expect John Bruce to puff out his chest... then run in the other direction yelling a familiar quote (possibly not quite correct as I've heard it only once) "he who runs away, lives to run away another day." Oddly enough, that person was also named "Jack".

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software

"But no, the crazy egomaniac he is he’d rather have all the media coverage beforehand, not thinking about the consequences and the (more) negative coverage afterwards."

That's exactly what he wants. He wants gamers to plan an attack against him, and he wants as many recorded calls and death threat emails as he can stuff in a brief case for this, he wants this to be known about so he can have ammo. If it's kept under wraps, then this sort of thing can't happen. and i bet JT would want some of his own supporters such as the Larouche cult to show up.


"You all need to grow a pair of what a kid can cut off in Manhunt 2. "

Unless you've see tnhe game JT, then shut it, unless Rockstar has been sending you more "exclusive screenshots and info", in which case present it, or shut it, and crayon drawings don't count, and nothing you wrote yourself, as we can smell fabrication.

I'm glad he messed up his chance to go there. He shouldn't be getting more publicity, he should just be ignored by everyone.

"He has admirers? Ha, I bet he is lying through his teeth. I suspect the only “admirers” he have are mental patients and anti-game fools like him."

@Clyde Wyman

Too bad those "mental patients" and "anti-game fools" make up most of the US population...
 
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NeenekoMakes sense to me, and sounds kinda cool. One cool thing about Minecraft is the meta game, you can implement other game types within its mechanics. There are servers out there with plots, an episodic single player one sound kinda cool12/18/2014 - 11:07am
MaskedPixelantehttps://mojang.com/announcing-minecraft-story-mode/ Umm... what?12/18/2014 - 10:24am
NeenekoThat would make sense. Theaters probably can not afford the liability worry or a drop in ticket sales from worried people. Sony on the other hand can take a massive writeoff, and might even be able to bypass distribution contracts for greater profit.12/18/2014 - 10:03am
ConsterNeeneko: I thought they cancelled it because the major cinema franchises were too scared of terrorist attacks to show the film?12/18/2014 - 9:55am
Neeneko@Wonderkarp - there is still a lot of debate regarding if the movie was a motive or not. Unnamed officials say yes, the timeline says no.12/18/2014 - 9:10am
NeenekoSomething does not smell right though, Sony is no stranger to being hacked, so why cancel this film? For that matter, they are still not giving in to hacker's original demands as far as I know.12/18/2014 - 9:06am
PHX Corp@prh99 Not to mention the Dangerous Precedent that sony's hacking scandal just set http://mashable.com/2014/12/17/sony-hackers-precedent/12/18/2014 - 8:25am
Matthew WilsonI hope its released to netflix or amazon12/18/2014 - 12:11am
prh99Basically they've given every tin pot dictator and repressive regime a blue print how to conduct censorship abroad. The hecklers veto wins again. At least when it comes to Sony and the four major theater chains.12/17/2014 - 11:55pm
MaskedPixelante"It's not OUR fault that our game doesn't work, it's YOUR fault for having so many friends."12/17/2014 - 9:48pm
Matthew Wilsonapparently tetris did not work because he has a full friends list12/17/2014 - 9:21pm
WonderkarpSo Sony cancelled the release of the Interview. was it ever confirmed that the Sony hacking was done because of that specific movie?12/17/2014 - 8:54pm
MaskedPixelanteWow, Ubisoft went four for four, I didn't think it was actually possible.12/17/2014 - 8:37pm
MechaTama31Oh, ok, I was mixing up "on Greenlight" and "Greenlit".12/17/2014 - 8:23pm
Matthew Wilson@phx you beat me to it. how do you screw up tetris?! my ubisoft this is just stupid. no one should ever preorder a ubisoft game again! ps people should never preorder any game regardles of dev.12/17/2014 - 6:28pm
PHX Corphttp://www.ign.com/videos/2014/12/17/what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-tetris-ps4 I give up on ubisoft12/17/2014 - 6:01pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://comicbook.com/blog/2014/08/16/exclusive-original-unaltered-cut-of-star-wars-trilogy-to-be-rele/ Yeah, this'll never happen.12/17/2014 - 5:03pm
NeenekoThey have and exercise control over which games are allowed on their privately controlled 'open forum'. Their endorsement is fairly minimal since it is only 'we do not reject this', but it is still an endorsement of sorts.12/17/2014 - 3:58pm
NeenekoHistorically there have been issues with libraries allowing some groups but not others. Perhaps 'endorsement' is too strong a word, but their editorial control IS a preapproval process, even if the standards are pretty minimal.12/17/2014 - 3:56pm
E. Zachary KnightLet's put this a different way. My local library allows any group to reserve and use multipurpose rooms. That does not mean that the Library endorses all events that take place in those rooms.12/17/2014 - 12:54pm
 

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