Jack Thompson Brings Son Into the Family Business

September 13, 2007 -
Jack Thompson's son bought a video game at a local Best Buy.

But not just any video game. It was, according to the game-hatin' attorney, BioShock, the M-rated hit published by longtime Thompson target Take Two Interactive. 

Thompson the Younger, by the way, is a mere lad of 15. From today's Thompson press release:
The Best Buy retail clerk who sold this “Mature” game to Thompson’s 15-year-old son is Alysia.   She asked Thompson’s son for his ID.  He said he had none.  She said, “I don’t really care.”  She has a piercing through her right eyebrow, and she can be easily identified by Thompson and by store officials.  She should be fired immediately.  So should the store manager whose very same store sold Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to Thompson’s son when he was 10 years old (!) in a sting that he and his father arranged, just like this one.

...Just as Thompson and others have been saying and as the Federal Trade Commission has been suggesting, the notion that major retailers, and especially Best Buy, are effectively age ID-ing kids is a sham. 

GP: Thompson might be a whiz at filing federal lawsuits against the Florida Bar (we said might), but his statistical skills are sorta lacking. A sample size of one proves that Best Buy doesn't enforce its game rating policy?

And the FTC hasn't been suggesting anything. What the FTC said, quite definitively, in its April, 2007 report was that major retailers like Best Buy had a 65% success rate in turning down underage buyers of M-rated games. As GamePolitics noted at the time:
The FTC report applauds the game industry’s ”significant progress” in limiting retail sales of M-rated products to underage buyers, while noting that movie and music retailers made only “modest progress” in this area.

Nor was this Junior's first foray into the game sting biz. Although we don't recall the GTA purchase Thompson references in his press release, GamePolitics did cover a November, 2005 incident in which the Thompson kid purchased The Warriors, also at a local Best Buy. As readers may recall, back then The Warriors was the Take Two game du jour which Thompson claimed would lead to the fall of Western Civilization.

Speaking of Best Buy, the National Institute on Media & the Family lauded the company along with other major retailers for their ratings enforcement in the watchdog group's December, 2006 Annual Video Game Report Card.

And earlier this year the big box retailer quietly added game content ratings from another watchdog group, Common Sense Media, to its online store, apparently in an effort to provide an additional resource to parents.

We note also that the header on the e-mail GP received from Thompson regarding the Best Buy caper made mention of another of Thompson's favorite targets:
This should get things hopping. I'm going to take [Take Two CEO] Strauss Zelnick out with this.

Parse that as you will.

Comments

Darth Fracas:

Beat me to it. You have to admire the stupidity of a man who blames the gaming industry for Best Buy's lack of enforcement in sales. I wonder if he asked his son to try to buy an R rated movie there too. Unlikely I would wager as that might damage his straw-man argument.

Actually Dennis, in all seriousness, this is the least newsworthy piece in a long while, and really just seems like a Jack Thompson attention seeking press release. I don't object to hearing about the raving nutter, but is getting his son to buy a computer game from a shop really news?

Well this just further gives me hope that jackie boy will make a video game version of reefer madness, maybe even starring his son. Honestly though is this the best he can do? Considering the level of insanity he has had in the past this seems like pretty small potatos for jackie boy.

Right now, I'm just waiting for Jack to show up and try to tear holes in the way that the article is written, or something.

The kid managed to buy an M-rated game due to the fact that a clerk making $6.75/hr didn't give a damn. Gee, what a total shocker. Sorry, but when I have to deal with bitchy customers for 8 hours a day for slave wages, I stop caring, too.

I'd like to see hard numbers, though. Honestly, I love to know how many times Jack has had his child do this in the hopes that it will succeed. The fact he got though once is meaningless without knowing how many times he failed. I do feel kinda sorry for his son, though. He has become a pawn in his father's search for self-glorification and headline-seeking. Sorry, kid.

It sucks for the cashier. She is now a victim of JT's sick little games. JT is C.S. Lewis's "bent" person. So convinced what he does is for right that he does greater evil than any anyone who set out to do evil ever could.

By sending your child into the store to buy a game couldn't one infer that that can be constituted as Parental Consent to buy the game thus negating the 'if you're under 18 you can't buy the game' mentality? Maybe I'm confused, just like Mr. Thompson and that poor man here in Virginia working for the pilot.

No once his son turns 17 im sure jack will just say that the age for purchasing m rated games needs to be changed to 18

Yea the eb games and gamestop is getting strict on it now since they card me when i buy m rated games and hell i talk to boht of the guys in there that work there often

jack thompson and credibility.....those dont go hand in hand

Said it before, I'll say it again. Someone needs to call child protective services on this jackass before he fucks his kid up any further.

And fuck you, Jack, you pathetic excuse for a parent.

How is Jack going to take out Strauss Zelnick with something a lazy best buy employee did? He really is an idiot. I also love the way Jack words things. He says hes going to take Strauss Zelnick out? Sounds like hes gonna bust into the guys home with a gun and open fire.

@LokiBNE

You should remember, the reason that the ESRB rating system exists is NOT as a form of enforcment. The reason the ESRB and ratings system exists is to give parents a tool to help them decide what games they should and should not buy; it's meant as a form of advice not as a form of regulation. Unless it's in their policy that allowing a minor to buy the game is grounds for instant termination, i think Best Buy would only give her a cut in her pay as punishment, instead of firing her. (not considering any possible past negative or positive marks she might have had)... if it is in their policy that she should get fired, then it is her own fault; the policy is something that every job should enforce...

@hillaryduffgta:

Well isn't his trial in November? That'd make for a swell pre-Christmas present.

I'd definitely contribute of my limited resources to a Save Alysia and the Store Manager campaign.

It's infuriating to me that Mr. Thompson would put these two persons, whether innocent or not, at risk for their employment. But that's ol' Jack Thompson. A selfish, uncaring, and solely self-interested individual. The mere fact that he would so unhesitatingly involve his minor child in his childish "sting" operations says it all.

But, as already pointed out by I'm a Shrink on other threads here, Jack Thompson suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder. And a hallmark of that disorder is a willingness to use others (even if that means bringing about their professional or financial ruin) to achieve selfish ends. And Jack's been consistently doing just that (i.e., trying to ruin people) for the last 20 years. Think of all the Alysias that, over the last 20 years, he's cost a source of meager income by which they were putting a roof over their heads and food on their tables).

It's just one of the reasons I believe he should be disbared and never again allowed to practice law. Yes, because he's an incompetent bufoon who couldn't lawyer his way outta wet paper bag, he's no real threat to the gaming industry. But that doesn't mean he's not a threat to others.

But I take comfort and solace in my knowledge that, sooner or later, everybody gets what's coming to them. And Jack's got a lot coming to him.

@JackDontKnowJack

Well, you know all those predators are gamers, don't you? They probably played Mario Bros. or PacMan or Zork or something when they were young and it corupted their little minds.

I think the question we all have to ask here is "Did he bring the game back or is he even now training to kill 'big daddy'?"

DUN DUN DAAAAAAAAN!

@Deuxhero: Actually, iirc, Jack has mentioned his wife once. He did it to garner sympathy. She was apparently very ill, and he used this to his advantage, which is rather cold.

I can't remember exactly where he did this, but I'm sure it's on GP somewhere.

Yippee! It's time to tear Jackie boy a new oneee..

John Bruce, did it ever occur to you that you are just as bad as that punk who sold your kid the 17+?

Yeah, you heard me you dumb Nazi. The morals of someone who lets their child buy a game for mature adults are beyond me. Oh, and one more thing: That doesn't have any reasonable connection with Strauss Zednick. Fucker..

@Oni, who wrote:

"@Deuxhero: Actually, iirc, Jack has mentioned his wife once. He did it to garner sympathy. She was apparently very ill, and he used this to his advantage, which is rather cold.

I can’t remember exactly where he did this, but I’m sure it’s on GP somewhere."

He did it (a couple of different times) in his court filings in the Bar's disciplinary proceeding. He also used his own alleged heart problems in the same way (picture Fred Sanford clutching his chest and going, "Wheezy! Wheezy! I'm coming to be wid cho!"). He was trying to get the court to grant him some sort of continuance or extension (in lay terms: stall tatic), which was, of course, denied. And appealing to everone's sympathy. Although I doubt there's anyone sympathetic to him.

@BlackIce, Leftie:

Godwin's Law.

I think it's important to find out if this is the 360 version of Bioshock or the PC version of the game.

If it's the 360 version of the game, that significantly undermines the credibility of this complaint - although the retail worker probably shouldn't have sold the game anyway, they could reasonably have expected the boy's parents to use the console's parental controls. Worst case, the game gets returned slightly used! The parents buy $60 worth (or more) of something else. The retailer passes go and collects $200.

If it's the PC version, there's no such fallback.


And I'm with Oni, I'm not convinced that Thompson's "impartial testing" of the industry is being reported accurately. Bioshock has been out quite awhile now. Thompson could have tried this with his son a hundred times over by now - and failed up until now. It only takes one success to get his soundbite fodder, so it costs him $60 no matter how you slice it. And he doesn't have to report the failures - there are no witnesses.

Even if they tried only once a day since the game was released (especially if they got the same clerk every time), that's still an insignificant percentage.

Dennis, you had better tell me if that's who I think it is.

So JT sends his underage son into a store, forces him to buy a game he knows he shouldn't. A game which JT describes as a "murder simulator"...and he wants the girl and manager fired and its Take Two's fault?

LOL. Riiiiight.

Sounds like an incompetent parent that should have Florida Child Welfare (1-800-96ABUSE (962-2873), since you like passing out numbers JT)
called on them for negligence. Openly expoliting your son to try and prove your twisted logic?

Whats next Jack, a crusade on drugs where you send your son out to buy dope?

AWWWW...you found him first! Was wondering when jack-o would get around to popping up.

@jer:

The requirement's a little bit more than just taking a class. There's actually a separate ethics exam that all states require an aspiring attorney to sit and pass as a prerequisite to getting a license to practice law.

@Johnny:

Online, his son isn't buying it, Jack is.

Sure, a kid can snag dad's wallet sometime, copy down the CC#, expiration date, and CVV and use it. He can also snag the car keys and go for a drive, or get the gun safe key and go shooting.

The card IS the identity, that's what the card companies say, despite Jack's novel theories. The actual user is immaterial to the merchant's responsibility, except of course that they get stiffed with the chargeback.

I doubt Alyssa was sacked, probably reprehended.

@ Mr. Thompson

I take it you are uninterested in my proposal (considering you declined to comment on it at all). That is unfortunately, but not unexpected.

@JDKJ:

I think you ought to file a complaint with the bar regarding this behavior. That way, the bar can decide if the behavior in mind is acceptable or not for one of its attorneys. If I lived within 1000 miles of Mr. Thompson and were capable of attending a hearing (should one be required), I would do it myself.

@JackDon'tKnowJack

So he's the DMV? XD

@Tobias

I just wanted to tell you fyi that trying to talk to Thompson civilly has been done. A couple of years back a group of gamers got together and wrote a letter to Thompson apologizing on behalf of the gaming community for the way he had been treated and inviting him to engage in a constructive conversation with gamers on how to fix the problems that are supposedly the basis for his concerns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flowers_for_Jack

Naturally Thompson was not receptive. He has made it perfectly clear that he is not interested in any problem solving methods that include cooperation or compromise.

(not serious)

Maybe we should start "Crap For Thompson" :P We send him a big flaming bag of dog crap, with a note that says "This is your career. Enjoy the smell."

I'm not delusional enough to believe that Jack will ever respond with evidence to support his "training" claim. Nor do I think he will ever listen to a comparison he SHOULD be able to understand. Nevertheless:

Jack, getting any kind of combat training out of ANY video game is equivalent to getting a law degree from watching Judge Judy on television.

Jack what are you gonna do in 3 years when your kid is 18?

Have him shoot up a school to prove that those video games made him into a psychopath???

@JDKJ:

First, I think the fallacy in your thinking is that I expected Mr. Thompson to respond to me. I did not. I did think it would benefit both the gaming community and (especially) his own faltering image. But as they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

Also, I think you, like Mr. Thompson (note that I have never addressed him in the shallow, pedantic way he has addressed others), are caught in an "us vs. them" mentality. In the world of politics (because lets face it, this is a VERY political issue), there is no black and white, no us and them, no right and wrong. There are only worldviews and paradigms.

From my experiences, I would argue that there is no way to cause someone else to experience a paradigm shift, short of an immediate tragedy or a massive war. What can change, however, is how we respond to our paradigms.

For example, it is clear that Mr. Thompson has some degree of cognitive dissonance on the subject of free speech: his own speech should be protected, but violence games should be restricted. I believe that through discourse with his ideological 'opponents,' he might be able to reconcile these seemingly irreconcilable values into something of benefit to society. There again, he might not.

Oh, and as BlackIce noted, I know my way around the worlds of debate, philosophy, religion and epistemology VERY well. :) A college education and substantial public speaking experience can do wonders.

wow...my question is, did the kid actually WANT to play it?

"This should get things hopping. I’m going to take Strauss Zelnick out with this."

because we all know best buy is a subsidiary of take two.

and, sry for double post, GP made a good point, that having a 1 out of 1 doesnt mean anything. i could flip a coin once and say that coins flip heads 100% of the time...

So, anyone wanna place bets on how many unsucessful attempts there are for every purchase? You kind of get the impression this is some twisted family pasttime or something, there's no way he would have tried this stunt (apparently unsuccessfully) when Bully came out...

What’s Thompson’s point with all this?

A 15-year-old was able to buy an M-rated game. Yeah? Well no one ever claimed that never happens. As Dennis pointed out, the FTC found that it happens 35% of the time.

So, again, what’s Thompson’s point?

Also, what the heck does a girl at Best Buy selling a 15-year-old an M-rated game have to do with the CEO of the company that publishes it?


Andrew Eisen

I think Bioshock will become the New 'gta'

A sample size of one has what? a 99.99% error margin? Something like that? I may be bad at statistics, but I'm fairly sure this doesn't even count as evidence. I think this counts as one bad store clerk. At least she actually ASKED for ID, even if she was a moron about enforcing it.

Although, I do agree on one point. She should be reprimanded, if not fired altogether. It's not so much a political thing as a matter of professionalism. You screw up, you get punished. Especially on this issue.

GP: Yes, poor Alysha with the pierced eyebrow will - rightfully - bear the brunt of this little escapade...

@Strauss Zelnick/T2:

Isn't Mr. Thompson, by publicly criticizing the product distribution methods of T2 and one of its retailers, once again breaching the terms of the T2-Thompson settlement agreement? I confidently predicted that T2 would quickly bring legal action to enforce the terms of that settlement. You're not going to disappoint me, are you, Mr. Zelnick? And make me eat crow? Say it isn't so.

Hear that sound?

Those are the Thompson-Take Two peace agreement's death throes.

The only one I feel bad for is that poor kid.

GP: Ditto...

@JackDon'tKnowJack

Didn't intend the redundancy; you beat me by one minute.

Sorry for the double post.

So did Thompson give his son his credit card to buy it?

hmm isnt that what they call bad parenting?

or wait did he allow his son at 15 to get a credit card then force his son to buy Bioshock?

hmm isnt that bad parenting too?

Man I would hate to be jack thompson son or any relative of him.

but dad I wanted to go place ball with my friends school

No, your going to go to best buy and see if we can get u an M rated game

Dad we did that yesterday and the day before and day before that, I wanna go play ball

No son, we are going to keep trying till we catch them in the act.

Who's willing to bet that both those times there wasn't another $50 bill slipped in between with "Keep it, it's from my dad." on the back? What teenager wouldn't accept that?

OK, maybe not like that, but you get my point.

At least i'm glad he's actually pointing his finger in the right direction here, at the lazy cashier, not at the game industry, for 'distributing adult material to children.' There's a step back into sanity for you.

But Dennis has a point about Thompson's use of 'a sample size of one.' That shouldn't be used as proof either. You don't even have to be a math major like me to know that.

@Vigi:

That's cool. Maybe T2 needs the echo. They seem somehow less than willing to sic Blank Rome on Mr. Thompson.

Maybe I should buy one share of their stock and then urge them along.

Am the only one that feels bad for Jack's kid? Really his dad is using him as a tool to get more headlines.

Scratch my second-to-last paragraph. I didn't read the very end of the article.

Yep, he's still thinking all retailers in existence are part of the game industry. Jack wouldn't get past the first five questions of 'Millionaire.'

@Trowa:

Thompsons are bred and groomed to shamelessly seek the public spotlight. Jack Thompson's only coaxing Mini Thompson towards what will be Mini's genetic destiny (coaxed or not).
 
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