Jack Thompson Says GTA 4 Mission Target is Him; Threatens to Block Release

September 18, 2007 -
Plenty of gamers would give their left arm to be included in Grand Theft Auto IV.

Miami attorney Jack Thompson, however, claims that he's depicted in the game and wants out. And he threatens to block the release of GTA IV if Rockstar doesn't comply.

In a document filed yesterday with a federal court in Florida, Thompson includes a letter written to Take Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick which reads in part:
I have this morning read with interest an article on page 80 and 81 of the September 2007 issue of Game Informer magazine which was generated when, according to its author, Rockstar Games "stopped by the Game Informer offices for an impromptu hour-long gameplay session with the Xbox 360 version of the game."

The showcasing play of the game to Game Informer revealed that the first killing mission of the "hero" of the game, Niko, is to kill a certain lawyer. When Niko comes into this lawyer's office, having used subterfuge to do so, Niko pulls a gun on the lawyer who says, "that the firm supports the second amendment and that 'Guns don't kill people. Video games do.'"

...The fact that the lawyer, killed on Niko's first mission, would bring up video games, makes it clearly a reference to me... This is not the first time Rockstar Games and Take Two have targeted me in this fashion. Take Two references to me as a bisexual pedophile on its corporate website...

GP: What's he referring to here? See GamePolitics' September, 2005 article Jack Thompson Accuses Rockstsar of... Parody. Thompson's letter continues:
You have until five o'clock P.M. this Friday... to inform me that you are going to delete the above references and any other references that could reasonably be construed to be references to me in Grand Theft Auto IV and any other video games that are pending release...

Now you have descended this low - using one of your games to threaten my physical safety... Failure to comply with the deadline... will result in my having to take necessary and proper means to stop release of the game which targets me personally... given the copycatting of violent games...

Comments

"Failure to comply with the deadline… will result in my having to take necessary and proper means to stop release of the game which targets me personally… given the copycatting of violent games…"

Wow. He truly believes the whole copycatting thing, doesn't he? I guess I haven't let that sink in quite enough.

So he's going to drag Take-Two back to court, totally breach the settlement, and get his ass legally assassinated, all because he's scared to death of a theory that no study has ever been able to prove? Oh, this is going to be fun show.

Isn't prior constraint illegal?

I think that TTWO/R* should take him on, as Jack Thompson would be breaking his agreement with Take Two and Rockstar and would get a 3rd lawsuit placed against him.

Wow. The only response that JT could come up with is that Dennis did not link the whole letter. Oh wait, the letter is linked. I guess the only thing left is to complain that Dennis is not a real journalist.

Er, this from the guy who offered a reward if a developer made a video game where you kill an employee of Rockstar's family?

How dare they include a parody of Jack Thompson in their game!

The only thing worse than that would be something like offering to donate money to charity if someone made a game where someone hops a plane from LAX to New York to reach the Long Island home of the CEO of videogame company (Take This) in order to get "justice" by taking out this female CEO, whose name is Paula Eibel, along with her husband and kids urinates onto the severed brain stems of the Eibel family victims, just as you do on the decapitated cops in the real video game Postal2.

But that would be just sick for someone to make such a modest proposal...

@Jack Thompson

"Secondly, this is not “parody.” This is targeting. Big difference. This is rather foolish on Take-Two’s part."

Then you have absolutely no idea what parody is. If your logic was correct, the police organizations of three states can sue Take Two, several celebrities, radio personalities, several soft drink companies, toy makers, sports organizations, rival game companies, , hell, three state governments could have sued Rockstar by now, but they haven't, mostly because they aren't full of narcissistic idiots like you.

Face it Jack, you have no case. Screenshots or STFU.

"One more thing: If Dennis McCauley were inclined to be a real journalist and “fair” he would make available the entire letter as the full context makes clear not the parody but the targeting"


As Dennis pointed out the entire letter is available. Click the damn link. Secondly reading of the entire letter does nothing to further your point that it is "targeting" and not parody, so perhaps you should break it down here in your own words. Third, beyond the point that you and this character are both lawyers I fail to see what connection you are going to make. Prepare accordingly for failure.

This seems like a stretch to me. Lawyers (as characters) are a core element in crime dramas because they represent the public's perception that our legal system is corrupt and broken. In game characters making video game references, both pro and con, have existed since GTA III (if not earlier). These references let Rockstar make fun of themselves, and the greater industry and public opinion at large.

It seems flawed, if not purely self indulgent for Jack Thompson to assert these claims. Unless the character in question features mister Thompson's likeness (on a photographic level), I don't see his other assertions holding merit.

@Quad9Damage

At the risk of defending the devil - he's not totally without cause. Gamers are like any other group of people we have our good ones, and our bad ones; and there's very little doubt in my mind that over the course of decades of his sidewalk-puppet-shows he probably has recieved what could be called legitimate harrassment/threats. No doubt they've only served to reinforce his perception of himself. Of course, that's got nothing to do really with the subject at hand, and is hardly Take2's fault. There's actually a quote in GTA2: Vice where one of the characters says "Just because I think everybody's out to get me, doesn't mean they aren't"

What I'm basically trying to say is that Jack taking some precautions to protect himself doesn't strike me as unreasonable. Where it becomes offensive really is that he's long since gotten to a level where ALL gamers are guilty until proven innocent, and that's just offensive.

one more thing:
if Jack Thompson were inclined to be a decent human being, he wouldn't continually make personal attacks to make up for his inadequacies.

I think there's an old saying:
If you can't take it, don't dish it.

With all the verbal abuse John Bruce has dealt, all the false and fraudulent claims he's made, all the lies and deceit he's committed, a simple parody (yes, parody as John Bruce's name isn't referenced and the comment is a direct statement that John Bruce has only really implied through his ignorance and lies).

SHOULD Rockstar give in? Pah! Doesn't matter. There are ways to get the same comment across, making such a claim seem just as stupid as those who DO say it or even imply it in reality. So, no, it wouldn't be a big loss. Nor would it be a "win" for John Bruce because, in TRUTH, it would prove beyond any shadow of a doubt his FALSE claim that he supports Freedom of Speech. Way to go John Bruce! Let the world see you for the liar and fraud you really are! Woo hoo! You go boy!

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software

@ Jack

A threat is when someone tells YOU directly or in some cases indirectly that your life is at stake. It must name you and be sent to you. This does not name you. It does not aim its message at you. If anything this bit is a character assasination of the whole "video games are evil" debate. They could have easily used a politician for this, its just that they have a more personnal relationship with certain lawyers.

I suggest you look up the definition of paradoy and satire. Then I suggest you actually study some law for once and learn why those are protected speech.

@GP

you know, the in comment rebuttals are quite amusing dennis, and kinds make up for not banning jack, thanks for the laughs.

Its funny to notice jack jump from point to point, does he even know youre answering him?

@jadedcritic

He's basically a mix of Edgeworth and Von Karma. He villifies EVERYONE on the opposite side on the off chance they might really be psychopaths, much like Edgeworth got every defendant guilty on the off chance a killer might get loose, and like von Karma Jack is building up so much bad karma it's coming back to bite him, hard.

I love the end of his pleading: "Govern yourselves accordingly, or else".

Gosh Jack, they teach you that in lawyer school? I hope BLANK ROME crushes you. BLANK ROME.

How's the ol ticker doing now, Jack?

Oh, and Janet Reno.

How about now? You goddam nut.

So, where was JT when Capcom released Phoenix Wright?

I don't see how satire and parody rights don't fall under the rights of developers, as many games have both in them. Television parodies games all the time as well, so if JT really has a problem he needs to merely create a skit about Rockstar games in such a way that it reflects his distaste, the violence, whatever. Without resorting to slander, which might be hard to pull off. Smartly written, there is not a thing T2 or Rockstar could do, and they would laugh all the same. There have been countless GTA spoofs online and on television, including the famous Coke ad seen in theaters/TV/Web that does more to make parents think about the games their children play than a word he will ever say. To be parodied or spoofed is the American way it seems.

Honestly, do you think the Daily Show could exist without that freedom? Editorial cartoons, comic strips, sketch comedy shows, stand up comedy acts, and so forth? It is one of those things that may make the target upset and resentful of their portrayal, but that is when you turn the momentum. For example, Rudy Giuliani was getting hammered on SNL for a while, and then who shows up dressed in drag? That's right, Rudy Giuliani himself. He had a sense of humor about it and likely got more support off that appearance than many speeches given. So, JT wants to change public opinion of him, make the skit, and then appear in a skit. If he parodies himself, while at the same time ribbing Rockstar he will have shown he has a sense of humor and is a human being.

As a footnote, and in regards to people thinking there is no proof of important and powerful people being spoofed in videogames, one need look no further than NBA Jam: Tournament Edition's secret characters. Fully covered in magazines, online, and probably by some news outlets the secret players included: Bill Clinton F1, B, F2, I, F3, L, F4, JUN, F5, 3,
Hillary Clinton F6, H, F7, I, F8, L, F9, NOV, F10, 6, and Prince Charles F6, C, F7, H, F8, A, F9, MAY, F10, 4. If the Clintons and British Royalty can be use for satire and/or parody, I do not think there is a lick JT can do about his own supposed inclusion. Especially if it is as vaguely just a second amendment lawyer as it seems. But if you must JT, go ahead and pull Hillary off the road trip of debates, and get Bill and Prince Charles to submit to the courts also. But wait, they will likely testify AGAINST your argument and show how they may not have liked seeing themselves slam dunk basketballs half and full court with a RAZZLE DAZZLE. It is one of the prices we pay for living in this land called America and being in the public eye.

also, way to misuse the 'too clever by half' saying jack.

Anyone else going to load up on ammunition as soon as possible before completing this particular mission?

Hm, I read his letter to T2, and all I can think is, "Nah, I'm not really into Pokemon."

Yes, but that's just me.

And it's not for Thompson. Actually it's only for foxes.

@ Jack Thompson

Doesn't this scene evoke some kind of debate over the measure of violence in society?

In GTA IV, a law firm who claims that violent games are responsible for violence are taken out by a plain, ordinary, non-game influenced protagonist. From the inside, it points out the terrible point that (a) guns have a bigger habit of launching bullets than games do, (b) the person behind the gun makes the choice to pull the trigger (and the way that trigger is pulled) rather than a video game, and (c) there are more reasons for violence than "I saw Sonic do it".
Highlights the idea that violent people do violent things under their own cognizance, rather than being zombies to violent media.

To look at it all from outside of the game, we see a game in which a violent act is being committed by a video game character, which brings irony to the whole affair.

But to say the attorney in the game is you explicitly, without possibility of it being based on someone else, or simply it being a representation of the IDEA you put forth, is a tad egotistical.

Jack, you can claim it's targeting all you want. but here's the funny thing, you have to prove it in court. and even then the chances of "blocking" the game are about the same chances you had to block bully, NONE.


also: how is it targeting you? your just a lawyer, last time I checked you weren't part of a firm. the only way it could be targetting you is if you worked at a firm. and I'm pretty sure you would have rubbed it in our faces if you were working for a firm.

get your facts straight and then speak.

Chris,
To be honest, it throws me off too.

John Bruce's posts show up way back in the field, long after I've read up to a certain point, so I have to go back and look.

Plus GP tacks on his responses to some comments, rather than quote them, which means going back also.

Now, if there were a nice little GUI that could auto pull comments and highlight new (even if they were just released from hold) or edited comments (such as when GP adds their comments to someone else's), that would be great.

Nightwng2000
NW2K Software

GP: for some reason, his posts get caught in a moderation queue. Don't know why. I suspect he may be using a proxy server or something. I've asked him, but it's like talking to the wall. No response.

So... his comments don't show up until I get around to clearing them.

The secret good news is that we're exploring a re-design of GP (but you didn't hear that from me - LOL) ...and I am asking the developer for nested comments.

@David

Isn't egotistical Jack's middle name?

How great would it be if the lawyer character's name was something along the lines of Tack Jhomson.


Watch out Jack. Fictional characters are coming for you.

@DCOW

You know, I think you're probably right. I sit here and try to think when he's ever succeeded in blocking ANYTHING. He couldn't stop Bully, couldn't stop Manhunt2... Has he stopped anything at all? Since Cop Killer???

Jack Thompson Said:

"One more thing: If Dennis McCauley were inclined to be a real journalist and “fair” he would make available the entire letter as the full context makes clear not the parody but the targeting, but such fairness, such journalistic ethics, would be asking too much of this “news” site.

GP: Ummm… the entire letter IS available. It’s linked from the article."

Dennis, I think the answer here is obvious. He's got "you didn't post the entire letter" written in a file somewhere and automatically copy/pastes it whenever a story is written about him.

Good lord Jack, get it through your head that you're not actually important enough for any of us to physically harm. You're not worth facing jailtime over.

Now, first and foremost, parody is protected, regardless of what you believe in the la-la land in your head. They can have this in the game, as they are not targetting you for harm. Your "copycat" theory was shot down in the Devin Moore case, and it's shot down here. Why? You have no proof, just and outlandish theory.

Secondly, you're not allowed to attempt to block sales of a Take Two, Rockstar - or whatever moniker they're going by today - game. You're actually legally blocked from doing so. I wouldn't be surprised if this letter was taken as exactly that by Take Two.

Also, I should have added this - Jack, will you stop trying to insult Dennis' integrity and standing as a reporter. He, at the very least, has the decency to use facts, as opposed to you and your willingness to twist facts.

AHAHAAHA this mission sounds awesome, i cant wait to play it over and over and over and over and over....

I think I know what my favorite mission in this game will be then. Care to comment Jack?

-Auto

Jack Thompson said;

"First of all, I want to make it clear that Dennis McCauley got this from the court file.

Secondly, this is not “parody.” This is targeting. Big difference. This is rather foolish on Take-Two’s part.
"
It IS parody... and you know it.

Crowing victory already, huh, Jack? I'm checking your track record and I have to ask, are you retarded, or just unable to count?

Its so hard sometimes to believe jack is a real person, how can any human being be so idiotic and morally bankrupt? so fecitious and childish while keeping a law lisence? How can such a man exist?

I have faith in humanity, but it really stretched the benefit of the doubt when Jack comes along spouting nonsense and drivel like its divine intervention.

@nightwing

It can be a pain looking back for jack comments but dennis has made it clear its due to the system, I dont know what the rumoured change would do but I hope it will be interesting. in the meantime the setup is unavoidable and by no means problematic.

The really interesting thing here would for Rockstar/T2 to not sue him for monetary compensation when he is found guilty of breaching the terms. Instead ask for community service, specifically selling videogames in several busy chains, with their full cooperation to show him how it really is. With the condition he can not deny sales of M games to youth if their parents are the ones paying for it and standing right there. He cannot deny how some parents really are then, and it will let him have a taste of the joy that comes from giving a child a game their parents said was OK even though it was rated M. I wonder if he will somehow slip up after 300 hours on the job and sell to a kid that looks old enough because he stopped checking IDs religiously.

It won't change his mind on who is to blame naturally, but it surely will make him think about opening his mouth in a negative and slanderous fashion in the future. What he is doing IS slander, as he ignores the evidence to the contrary, puffs himself up on opinion rather than fact, and targets only one company who he has promised to "take down" many times. Farmer JT is basically targeting one pig in the pen because he doesn't like the way it grunts or defecates around the yard. What do you expect a pig to do? Every grunt and fecal expulsion will not be letters and numbers, grammatical exercises, or PG fairy tale adventures... At least some of the other critics are trying to make sausage of ALL the developers more equally, and not merely focusing on T2/Rockstar. They won't have much success in the end, but they know what the actual score it a whole lot better.

You know honestly I likely would not have made the connection between Jack and this Goldberg character if Jack hadn't made a stink over it. The only one targeting Jack is Jack.

[...] [._.] [...]

*yawn*
okay Jack might be time to either up the medication dosage or cut it in half. The video game industry isn't out to get you, they couldn't care less about you, you started the fight with R* and Take Two and now they can't use lawyers in their games because they're parodying you? Uh might want to read those first amendment laws again. Where under it, public figures are completely legal targets. Honestly it's gotten to the point where when I read about Jack I don't even bat an eye any more, this is what he does. Quick someone set up a camera on the back of a truck and start driving, I want to watch him run after the truck for 30 seconds of airtime as an "expert".

Don't worry Jack- your behavior is enough for people to want to shoot ya.

Why hasn't anyone killed Gary Coleman in real life? He was in Postal 2...

And we all hate Thompson, all over this land!
And we all hate Thompson!
It's because he's not yet banned...

You know, if you're tired of Thompson comments coming up someplace you've already read and it wasn't there, you can just use ctrl+f. That works pretty well, and he always signs his posts 'Jack Thompson' which makes them nice and easy to find.

Oh this is too rich. I swear to god I hope this goes to court, just so I can see Jack get bitch-smacked by a judge... Again.

Guess what, Thompson. You're hardly the first anti-game lawyer to pop up. Take-Two is take a jab at a very well known sterotype; the 'let's blame games' figure. Unless I see a carbon copy of your ugly face on that figure being shot, you don't have a case. This is just more of your incessant high-pitched whining meant to make us all sick to our stomachs from hearing about you. Get over yourself, Mr. Martyr.

@BlackIce

I don't hate Thompson. I don't hate anyone. I just don't agree with him and find problems with his knack for taking attention away from serious social problems facing this country. His crusade is one fueled by a moral opinion, not scientific fact. You may hate whom you like, but that too is a waste of energy spent in better avenues. ;)

@Zerodash

"Don’t worry Jack- your behavior is enough for people to want to shoot ya."

Careful! He could claim you're threatening him!

I swear, November is so close and yet it feels so far away...

@DragonBomber

I enjoy making up songs about people I hate. Also, if you don't hate you've left a part of life unlived.

I hope this situation means the end for Jack, although I seriously doubt this is the last of him.

Jack Thompson Says:
September 18th, 2007 at 10:27 am

First of all, I want to make it clear that Dennis McCauley got this from the court file.

Secondly, this is not “parody.” This is targeting. Big difference. This is rather foolish on Take-Two’s part.

way to defend your claim Jack. If he is going to argue with journalists he needs to learn that simply repeating his claim that it IS targeting, will not suffice. Defend your claim with sound evidence that the game play you saw was targeting rather than parody, otherwise be quite.

Good luck with that Jackhole.

I shall dub thee: Jack "Don Quijote" Thompson

Jack Thompson doesn't like video games and will attempt to stop another GTA game.

In other late breaking news candy is delicious, kittens are cute, and Jack Thompson isn't so good at this whole "lawyer" thing.

[...] Via: GamePolitics [...]
 
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