Jack Thompson Shocked by Bioshock TV Ads

August 19, 2007 -
A comment posted on GamePolitics last week by Miami attorney Jack Thompson took on an Internet life of its own in recent days as the Take Two-hatin' activist vowed to create problems for Take Two's upcoming BioShock
Big trouble is on the way for Take-Two re BioShock. Hooah!

The other hooah dropped this morning as Thompson dashed off a letter complaining to the Federal Trade Commission about BioShock TV ads appearing during Friday night's airing of WWE Smackdown. From Thompson's FTC complaint:
Take-Two... is aggressively marketing its newest Mature-rated video game to kids under 17 years of age... On this Friday’s night’s 8 pm Eastern time airing of WWE’s wrestling program “Smackdown,” there were repeated ads for Take-Two/Rockstar Game’s Mature-rated, incredibly violent BioShock...

A check of the demographics of the audience of that program reveals that teens under 17 years of age watch that program in huge numbers...

Remarkably, the video game industry is running ads for games like BioShock on teen-intensive television programs while at the same time its industry-captured “watchdog,” the ESRB, is running a self-congratulatory ad campaign to assure parents that the video game ratings system is working and that the industry can be trusted not to target their kids with these Mature-rated games.  It is all a lie, as the BioShock ads prove.

This rampant fraudulent trade practice is precisely what “Big Tobacco” did with its “Joe Camel” and other teen-targeting ads, while at the same time lying to Congress that it was not marketing its adult product to kids.

GP: As GamePolitics noted in our April coverage of the FTC's most recent report on the marketing of violence to children (see: FTC Report Praises, Spanks Video Game Industry), the federal agency found that the video game industry:
…generally comply with their own voluntary standards regarding the display of ratings and labels. However, entertainment industries continue to market some R-rated movies, M-rated video games, and explicit-content recordings on television shows and Web sites with substantial teen audiences.

Despite Thompson's bluster, we're not so sure this qualifies as "big trouble" for BioShock...


[...] This week Take Two releases its highly anticipated BioShock for the PC and Xbox 360. On Friday they aired a commercial for the game during WWE’s Smackdown. By Monday morning, Jack had penned a letter to the Federal Trade Commission citing this as further proof that the gaming industry targets gamers under 17 for their mature titles: Remarkably, the video game industry is running ads for games like BioShock on teen-intensive television programs while at the same time its industry-captured “watchdog,” the ESRB, is running a self-congratulatory ad campaign to assure parents that the video game ratings system is working and that the industry can be trusted not to target their kids with these Mature-rated games.  It is all a lie, as the BioShock ads prove. [...]

wouldn't you think that Wrestling would be worst for kids? since it's REAL people.

Whats more influential? a fictional charachter in a game or a real person doing lifelike things to people in situations which they will normally die?

Okay, really now. Correct if I'm mising something here. Aren't most of the comments "about Jack" mostly about correcting his "inaccuracies" in what he says? I'll grant that there are a lot of comments about him involved, but that doesn't strike me as being the main intent of the comments.

Besides that, all the more intelligent posts I saw never said the under-17 crowd doesn't watch the WWE. Nothing about there being no "significant numbers" either. Some kind of drivel about how it's not the majority demographic. Crazy right?

-M. Schwinger
Psychology/sociology student & Child therapy aid

go to hell "jack" why don't you go after the real killers of kids like mike jackson with his we have to love all the littles boys of the world in my bed or all the other perverts like on that nbc show with all the kid lovers wasent that awesome when that kid lover shot himself!

@Jack T

"So when you gamers even think of stating that teens don’t watch WWE, please, be quiet."

By that logic, the next time you try to get games aimed at adult audiences (whether by violence/sexual content/foul language) banned because they don't gel with your personal beliefs, and they are given an appropriate rating by the ESRB or whichever standards board holds sway in a particular country, please, be quiet.

ps. Do you have a problem with kids watching WWE? If not, why not? After all, it is glorifying violence (I'm sure more than a few early teens/kids have hurt themselves emulating what they have seen in pro-wrestling) to the impressionable minds you try to wrap cotton wool around.

>>“WWE.com has established itself as the most popular web site in the world for male teens, and is among the top 20 entertainment sites on the web."

This is why George Bush is president, Nascar is considered a "sport" and I am SO God damned SAD!!!!

PS: uhh, JT ? You missed the point again... people are saying "SO WHAT" & "WHO CARES" to your observations. You get forum and comment posts because its you saying it but ultimately, no one agrees as usual... I wish you'd pick your battles better, this one is so STUPID.

People like Thompson contaminate the gene pool of society.

>>“WWE.com has established itself as the most popular web site in the world for male teens, and is among the top 20 entertainment sites on the web."

No one has said that teens do not watch the WWE. My main point was that it is not fair to say (and I quote) it is a "teen-targeted ad" when the vast MAJORITY of the WWE viewers are not in their teens.

Hit the road jack (jack a$$)

More quotes from the San Francisco Chronicle article...

"Perhaps more significantly, at least one TV host drew the line with the lawyer during the Virginia Tech coverage. While most anchors at best nodded politely at Thompson's statements, MSNBC's Matthews repeatedly challenged his guest, pointing out that the activist had no hard evidence that Cho had ever so much as picked up a joystick at Virginia Tech.

"You are projecting other cases onto this case," Matthews told Thompson, who continued to insist that Counter-Strike was responsible for the killings.

Matthews followed up on the issue later in the hour, questioning Karan Grewal -- one of Cho's suite mates at the college, about the video games.

"I never saw him play video games on his computer," said Grewal, who added that he often saw his roommate watching wrestling and game shows. "Most of the times ... he had a Word document open and he just kept on typing away."

According to Jack Thompson's flawed logic Microsoft Word made him do it. You sir, are a failure.

@Jack Attorney

It's worth mention that that article link mentions this about the Georgia Tech shooter...

"Last week's unfounded attack on gamer culture would be far less frustrating if it weren't something that happens at least once a year. Imagine how ridiculous it would seem if cable news interviewed alarmists who blamed professional wrestling or game shows (two things that Cho reportedly did enjoy in college) for a massacre before a suspect was identified. Yet video games are repeatedly presumed guilty from the start, with no correction or remedy when the facts prove otherwise."

In other words he enjoyed "professional wrestling." To save face you need to retract your statements now for all your recent outrageous claims; specifically for BioShock and also for those about the Georgia Tech incident. We gamers are not violent and the lies you speak about us are unbecoming as a "professional" attorney.

@Jack Attorney

Admit it. You suck as a lawyer so you latched onto the one thing you knew you could bullshit your way through and no one would be the wiser... well except gamers. Need facts?


Ooooo... at least my example comes from 2007. How do you like them apples?


Dear Jacass,
WWE has been replaced, for the most part, by the UFC, which is actual fighting, not staged bullshilt.

Also, your statistics are 2 years old, which shows an inherent flaw in your argument because we are now in the year 2007.

If you had a traumatic experience and missed out on the last 2 years, then let me tell you what you missed.

-People making fun of and belittling you and your 'professional' opinion.

@Jack Attorney

Things move fast. Information changes constantly. An article link from 2005 is not relevant. Get with the times!

What a jackass.

"Wow, stories posted here pertaining to my activities have more comments, by at least a factor of two, than other stories. You people really need to get a life, seriously."

Coming from the buffoon who said he was "never never never coming back ever!" then came back this really doesn't hold much water. Also coming from the man who likely sprung an erection as soon as he saw the Virginia Tech shooting and was using is to push his agenda before the bodies were even cold it also doesn't really mean much to me.

"This particular BioShock article has generated a lot of posts across the Internet by upset gamers whose point seems to be that male teens don’t go to and don’t watch WWE in significant numbers.

This position requires the following to be true:

1. That boys in the WWE live arena audiences that appear to be under 14 years of age are actually large numbers of midgets and dwarves costumed to look like young teens. Get a grip.

2. That ad agencies that crow about placement of ads on WWE broadcasts because of the significant numbers of male teens in the audience are employing complete morons who don’t assess properly the age demographics of those shows. NOTE THE FOLLOWING AT

You really are fucking stupid aren't you? You think that just because young teen happen to watch WWE that the advertising is being targeted right at them. How about Budwiser being advertised during all sporting events? Do children not watch the Superbowl Jack? Or how about the movies also advertised during Smackdown that make Bioshock look like Walt Disney. Or how about the enzyte commercials also advertised during Smackdown, I suppose that they are aggressively marketing them to children because in your sick world there is a rampant amount of erectile dysfunction among the 17 and under crowd.

Or how about hard liquor being advertised in Playboy. Yeah thats right you heard me. Don't even try to say that no one under 17 looks at a Playboy because I'll laugh in your withered senile face. Are all the advertisements in Playboy being marketed towards children?

But I think I might see your problem now. You see you were watching CNN, salivating and eagerly waiting for someone to die. Then suddenly a tampon commercial comes on TV. Well you can't seperate that even though you are watching a program that you might not be the target audience. So you run to your car and turn on news radio (to again to be able to wait for someone to die, kaching) and drive down to Rite-Aid. Once there you buy some tampons, return and promptly proceed to shove them up your ass. So I think maybe you wouldn't be such a whiny, grumpy fuck if you pulled that thing out of there and fucking learn how advertising works.

The only thing that infuriates me about Jack's argumentative tactic is that he solely relies on the Straw Man fallacy, one which a majority of mouth breathers actually take for a well-structured argument. Then, he retaliates only at those who provide him with weak and stupid counter-arguments. It's like he's an infant trapped in an adult's body. How the fuck does he still practice law? He is the reason I have little faith in our justice system.

Take two didn't make bioshock. 2K did. Wresteling is nothing but staged combat which promotes solving problems by hitting people with chairs. Is that worse than a video game? at least people know that a video game is fake, there are actually people who believe that wresteling is real. which is the bigger problem?

"Wow, stories posted here pertaining to my activities have more comments, by at least a factor of two, than other stories. You people really need to get a life, seriously."

No sir, If anyone needs to get a life, its you. All you do is sit around and wait for a tragedy to happen so you can exploit it to your personal gains.
This is byfar, your weakest claim, and now you are just grasping for straws. What is the matter? Are you feeling the pressure with September right around the corner? Pondering whenever this could very well be your last month as a Florida attorney? Feeling the heat that nobody is listening anymore? Jack, all you are is an ambulance chaser (one who used his son so he could sue Best Buy, to boot), and that's all you'll ever be.
Hit the road, Jack, and don't come back no more...

Jack - I see you ignored my post quoting internal WWE advertising statistics regarding their demographic.

Explain how Bioshock is being advertised to an underage audience when according to the WWE itself 58% of their demo is aged 18 to 49.

While you're at it, it would also be nice if you could explain why violent crime in juveniles started dropping in 1994 (2 years after Doom came out) and now stands at it's lowest level in 30 years.

If all this violent media begets real life violence then the crime rate should be going up among teens instead of down. Instead it's at the lowest rate since video games were first introduced.



"Juvenile crime statistics rates have steadily dropped since 1994 when crimes involving juveniles reached a record high. Since 1994, juvenile crime statistics have dropped by forty seven percent."

Normally, I'm not like this and I really don't feel the need to read all of the other comments before this, so if i repeat anything previously said, don't mind it.

If I Could Say Something To Jack Thompson Right Now, This Would Be It:

Jack, Stop Being A Bastard. I'm sorry that they advertised a violent video during a program filled with. On the same note, a bunch of teenagers watch South Park, I know very few who don't watch it or haven't seen it at one point or another. That doesn't mean that companies shouldn't advertise things not family suitable on it. I am under 17 but I have a copy of BioShock reserved that I can't wait to pick up. Hiding children from violent media is doing nothing but leaving them sheltered and uneducated. I've never said that they've had to buy it, but that doesn't mean you should try to hide it's existence. The only thing that does for them is makes sure that when they get out in the real world for the first time, they face plant... hard.

wow....im fucking speechless, this guy defenitly gets the idiot of the year award

@james gunn

Obviously a fakie. Real Jack doesn't link his name to any sites.

Thats either a fake jack or jack's IQ sunk from room temp to below the temperature on my fridge's thermostat...

I enjoy how he apparently thinks Rockstar Games has anything to do with Bioshock...

I guess the only way he gets attention is dropping that name

[...] On a somewhat ironic note, attorney/activist Jack Thompson filed a complaint with the FTC because Take-Two Games displayed ads for its M-rated “BioShock” game during - get this - WWE’s Smackdown. Apparently, it’s perfectly fine for kids to watch 2 hours of wrestling but a 30 sec commercial for BioShock is over-the-top.  Here’s a selection of the complaint posted on GamePolitics.com: Take-Two… is aggressively marketing its newest Mature-rated video game to kids under 17 years of age… On this Friday’s night’s 8 pm Eastern time airing of WWE’s wrestling program “Smackdown,” there were repeated ads for Take-Two/Rockstar Game’s Mature-rated, incredibly violent BioShock… [...]

Jack, this is pretty disappointing. Try something more awesome next time.

[...] You are a dirty little media whore. Nobody likes you and we would appreciate it if you could move your attentions to a pass time more appropriate for some one like yourself, might I suggest rabbit farming in Russia? Ok now for the serious business. Jack Thompson is on the war path again, he has set his sightson Take Two and Bioshock for advertising during a wrestling show after 8 o’clock at night. First of all teenagers or pre-teens should not be awake past 7:30, secondly what are they doing watching Wrestling? a theatrical excuse for public violence.  [...]

@ Rob

To be fair, the necrophilia angle took place on Raw, and while the angle with the referee attempting to commit suicide multiple times and failing miserably started at a Smackdown-brand pay-per-view, it was done primarily on the WWE's website.

On Smackdown in the last five years, we've seen:

-an aborted gay wedding
-an angle where an old man married one of the WWE Divas, and later died after having sex with said Diva multiple times
-implied gay rape
-the late Eddie Guerrero spraying "sewage" from a sewage truck on the Big Show
-a father vs. daughter match(Vince McMahon vs. Stephanie McMahon), though at a PPV
-an angle where Guerrero claimed to be the father of Rey Mysterio's son(culminating in a ladder match for the parental rights of the child)
-implied murder(Undertaker pouring cement into a glass casket containing Paul Bearer, his long-time manager), though that was at a PPV

That in itself makes Jack's claim ridiculous.

@ Jack Thompson the hearse chasing necrophile attorney

Some article from 2000 is irrelevant. Especially since WWE won a $3.5 million settlement from the PTC in 2002 regarding lies Brent Bozell and his McCarthyist allies told regarding WWE, claiming Lionel Tate watched WWE at the time he murdered a 5-year-old girl half his size(turned out he was watching the Flintstones instead).

"On this Friday’s night’s 8 pm Eastern time airing of WWE’s wrestling program “Smackdown,” there were repeated ads for Take-Two/Rockstar Game’s Mature-rated, incredibly violent BioShock…"

Are you f'ing kidding me? He's bitching about them advertising an M-rated game during a WRESTLING MATCH???? Where they beat the piss out of each other, swear, spit, and pummel each other until blood streams from their foreheads, and women run around clawing at each other in their underwear????

Excuse me while I roll around on the floor for a bit... I can't sit and laugh that hard at the same time...

So how many game-imitated related injuries have there been in the past 20 years? How many wrestling related injuries? Try 1000x more....

Plus its okay to advertise beer during simpsons, but Bioshock is bad? If your going to have to watch all advertising this strictly then beer and games can only be advertised during pornographic movies.

Hello, entire Superbowl is one giant Budweiser commercial! WTF is going on?


Maybe he's smart enough to realise that he would get nowhere fast if he complained about beer, since it isn't the scapegoat it was in the 1920s.

Jack Thompson just wont give up on this, he lost so many cases from trying to ban games, this guy is like a bug-bite on your balls, just straight annoying and the more you scratch the worse it gets. That's why I wear my "I hate Jack Thompson t-shirt proudly when I go shopping at the mall.

Im not sure if anyone mentioned this but why is rockstar eve mentioned by Jack, considering they had absolutly NOTHING to do with the making/marketing or anything else to do with Bioshock.

I could be wrong, but Jack seems to be a "drive-by" messenger. He comes in here, posts partial facts that are worded in his favor, and then leaves without replying to valid questions and comments that expose these partial truths.

I thought jack thompson said that he'll vowed not to come back.

And guess what? He broke his vow.


More or less. Occasionally he responses to someone's comment, but it's usually to insult someone rather than make a well formed reply to someone challenging his perception of reality.

Wow, Jacko, you've really outdone yourself with this one... I mean, the ESRB "claims" the ratings system is working because GUESS WHAT? IT IS!!! Also, it doesn't matter if kids see commercials for M-Rated games because GUESS WHAT? The kid can't go into the store and buy one without parental consent! They're not going to sell an M game to an 8 year old! I would really like to write Jack Thompson a letter, although I'm afraid he might sue me or call me a violent gamer neanderthol. Because I've been playing video games for as long as I can remember, and I've never killed somebody. Hell, I'm on the National Honor Society and Honor Roll. I'm not a bloodthirsty killer.

AND ONE MORE THING: Jack Thompson REALLY needs to do his homework. Rockstar has nothing to do with Bioshock, last I heard.


They still do, at least Trojan does.

"Someone please kill Jack Tompson, the most retarded soccer mom in the f-ing sea."

And make a martyr out of him? No. But I'm sort of angry with you right now. We don't need idiots making violent comments when we are trying to show that as a whole the gamer population isn't violent. You are really counterproductive to our cause. And hopefully Dennis removes your comment as threats of physical violence are not allowed here.

"I think he wrote one letter complaining about GTA San Andreas ads during primetime.

As always, these letters are ignored and nothing is done"

Yep he said a ad for Gta san andreas was ran during espn sportscenter which as he said was a "show watched by millions of teens"


please refrain form such comments. Comments like those are part of the reason Jack has a case in the first place, or think he does.

The Phil Mushnick/Jack Thompson parallells (sp?) are indeed amusing- there will always be people like that.

As for the issue at hand, WWE programming has quite a few advertisers that have non-kid oriented fare. Horror films, condoms (several years ago at least), Axe body spray, motor oil, etc. all get advertising on WWE programs. Pro Wrestling has a much more diverse audience than children.

I give kudos to JT for at least specifying where this advertising takes place. I wonder where he has been for the past 10 years as other games have been advertised on WWE. Hell, Dead Rising was heavily marketed on those shows last fall. I guess his primary goal is to cause trouble for TT no matter how remotely.

The complaint may get little attention though- WWE is hardly at the same level as something like SpongeBob.

[...] Posted on August 19th, 2007. ORIGINALLY FROM: Joystiq.com “ Attorney Jack Thompson has sent a complaint letter to the Federal Trade Commission for BioShock advertisements aired during Friday night’s WWE Smackdown. GamePolitics has the full complaint from Thompson, a portion of it states: “Take-Two… is aggressively marketing its newest Mature-rated video game to kids under 17 years of age… On this Friday’s night’s 8 pm Eastern time airing of WWE’s wrestling program “Smackdown,” there were repeated ads for Take-Two/Rockstar Game’s Mature-rated, incredibly violent BioShock … This rampant fraudulent trade practice is precisely what ‘Big Tobacco’ did with its ‘Joe Camel’ and other teen-targeting ads, while at the same time lying to Congress that it was not marketing its adult product to kids.”Hey, we had no idea Rockstar had anything to do with BioShock … oh wait, that’s right, they didn’t. The FTC has already stated they think the industry is doing a relatively fine job handling itself; however, the FTC does say the movie and video game industry are both guilty of marketing R and M rated content during shows with inappropriate demographics. That’s all good and fine of course, but we’re just way too busy bathing in the irony of a FTC violence complaint being brought upon the airing of BioShock ads during an episode of WWE Smackdown. ” [...]

"As I’ve said before, the 1st amendment is the major problem, giving a 10 year old the legal right to buy mature rated content is nuts!"

Take it up with the founding fathers. But also take into account that children also have the legal right to buy R rated movies, but you don't see anyone(or rather enough worth noticing) going after the MPAA. Mostly because its not the new kid on the block like games are. But the humorous thing is that a lot of people think that the MPAA is backed up by force of law. So they feel justified in thinking that video games should be held to the same standard. But it would be shocking to them to find they ARE being held to the same standard.

Also, to take anyone's rights away, even a minor, you have to be able to prove a direct link between the product and harm. And despite what Jack states, that has never been proven in a court of law in regards to video games.

I'm assuming that this was trailered after 9pm, as the show runs for two hours.

If children under 14 are watching this show, then frankly their parents will let them play the game regardless...

As I've said before, the 1st amendment is the major problem, giving a 10 year old the legal right to buy mature rated content is nuts!


We patiently await your lawsuit against 2K over the bioshock ads

(Should be worth a laugh or two as he gets his ass smacked out of the courtroom AGAIN)

Wow Jack. Really i mean.. why did you even bother with this? And its so close to retail launch that it couldnt hope to have any effect anymore even if you did manage to go somewhere with this.

Really. This isnt just like being late to the party. Its like being late to the party and showing up with dixie cups as you "contribution" to the fetivities.

Very very dissapointing.


All you bluster and bluff aside, Bioshock is far different from GTA or The warriors. Violent or not, it's depiction is of a fantasy world far removed from reality, not a realistic representation of new york or something.

I mean, honestly, if you think that the FTC is gonna complain about a game like Bioshock being advertized on Wrestling? Are you mental?

Some people just don't know when to give up.
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