In Chicago: GTA IV Ads to Be Pulled From Buses as Transit Authority Caves to Pressure

April 21, 2008 -
As police and city officials in Chicago deal with a rash of recent shooting incidents, the local Fox News affiliate has questioned the posting of ads for Grand Theft Auto IV on buses and buildings of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).

And, just like that, CTA president Ron Huberman folded on the issue, telling Fox News through a representative that the ads would be removed.

It's not the first time that Chicago's buses have provided the setting for a GTA controversy. In 2004 Gov. Rod Blagojevich railed against transit ads for GTA San Andreas.

Over the years, GTA transit ads have come under fire in other cities as well. In 2006 Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and others forced the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) to pull ads for GTA Vice City Stories. The transit chief there justified his decision by issuing a policy which equates M-rated games with X-rated movies.

In the past, GTA bus ads have also come under fire in Portland, Oregon and Denver.

GamePolitics is awaiting comment from GTA IV publisher Take Two Interactive. We also sought comment from the ESA, which referred us back to T2.

GP: The GTA IV transit ads shown by Fox News depict neither violence nor sex. Does the CTA reject ads for R-rated movies? Suggestive or violent television programs?

As I've written before, the video game industry needs to assert its First Amendment rights in these cases, which essentially come down to selective censorship by quasi-governmental entities.

UPDATE: I should add that in 2003 a group called Change the Climate successfully sued the MBTA when it refused to run ads calling for a debate on marijuana laws. In that case, the U.S. First Circuit Court held that:
There is direct evidence through statements made by MBTA officials that the reason for rejecting the advertisements was actually a distaste for Change the Climate's viewpoint.

This suspicion of viewpoint discrimination is deepened by the fact that the MBTA has run a number of ads promoting alcohol that are clearly more appealing to juveniles than the ads here.



Probably. That was the thing about Boston; they took down the GTA ads, but left the Sopranos ads up. This is probably no different.

I doubt ads for R rated movies draw the same kind of ire.

Im sorry but does FOX regularly go find the dumbest people on the street when it comes to videogames?

The first lady interviewed blamed the ads for violence?

Im sorry but if your child is dumb and retarded enough to be persuaded by and ad of a few guys in a lineup, you are a terrible parent.

The second lady with sunglasses was probably the smartest one there and even the FOX decided to bash her comment..

I hope the CTA pays back the money to Rockstar, if you cave in to the retards at FOX you got to pay back the guys who spent over 90 grand on their ads which under my assumption had a contract...

Plus that news anchor is a fool...period...what happened to unbiased reporting?

@anyone who will answer

Sorry, aside from the lying fest that was Mass Effect,what else has FOX NEWS said that was false and misleading?I don't watch much(I may occasionally watch with My Dad)but I keep hearing stories about ho they mislead viewers.
Would you give me some examples?


News Affiliates are pretty much independent. It just seems to me, that people want any excuse to bash Fox News, when they didn't really have anything to do with this story.

Yep. FOX taught me how to be a good reporter. If someone dissagrees with you, you just make wierd noises and cut them off until they get frustrated and decide to leave, and then when they sue you for slander, you sue them for not agreeing with you, and then you get 6 million dollars in a settlement and start to invite only those who agree with you on to your show, and then, because so many people take the stupid shit you say at face value, you convince the world to turn on itself and elect you president, upon which, you erode people's rights until you trigger a rebelion and are exiled. Yep...I report, you die inside...(END RUN ON SENTENCE)


As for flat out lying, the Mass Effect thing's the only one I'm aware of. Mostly it's how they birddog their guests whenever they dissagree with the reporters. Oh, and how they fired a lady for not lying on air, and when she sued them, they won. That upset many people.

@ JC Fox didn't have anything to do with the sorry???? Come now you know better than that. Wasn't it on the FOX network??

Not to mention the slanted reporting on the game Mass Effect. I just find it very courious that Fox News or as I like to call them the "Cartoon Network" would rail against so called mature material considering the content that Fox has put on the "Public Airwaves over the years, and the tabloids owned by News Corp and the R movies made and distributed by 20th Century Fox and other studios owned by News Corp. I guess they can only rail against their competitor's smut not their own.

Well for me I need the facts not to told what to think I am more than able to do that for myself.

@ The Edge well you should watch it for a week and see for yourself. Well a major one "The War" but to be fair many lap dogs in the media took part in that one. The echo chamber they call fair and balanced. Isn't there a law regarding truth in advertising. Well I can suggest watch O'Reilly then watch Countdown on MSNBC I think you will get a clear picture on the bias.

"Go back to bed America, your government is in control once again...
You are free to do as we tell you!
You are free to do as we tell you!"

- We Want Your Soul, Adam Freeland


This reminds me of that trainstation in... Boston I beleave that was forced to take down GTA: Vice City ads but was plastered with ads for some brand of hard liqour

Guys I just checked out the FOX site where the video is and I noticed at the top of the page is an ad for Miller beer; inarguably more dangerous than video games.

Filthy hypocrites.

I'd trust GamePolitics more than FOX on ANY issue, not just games... and politics.

This goes to show you what kind of crooks we have running this state. It's nothing but freaking Crook County filth that takes kickbacks and subsidies like it's nothing. And you wonder why Chicago has become more costly to live in these days.

[...] Gamepolitics has more here; it is apparently not the first time that this has happened in Illinois, or in any city for that matter. As the site noted, video games need to assert their First Amendment protections and show the government that their actions amount to censorship and should not be tolerated. [...]

They can't have GTA IV ads, yet a couple of years ago or so, I saw God of War 2 ads on bus shelters close to my place.

@ DarknessDeku

I never said it wouldn't I just meant that if GP started to report on more than just games I would trust it as unbiased... although if he did start to become biased I'm sure we would all crucify him... figurativly speaking.


My keyboard for an edit button

Lol, there are GTAIV ads all over. Store fronts, billboards, even some building in NY have a giant Niko painted on the side.

So why the buses? It's complete BS if you ask me. I see R rated movies with a lot of violence on bus ads all the time, what makes video games different?


Take a wild guest

In case you didn't notice, you got dugg via my post at CrunchGear. :)

Poor GTA.:(

[...] Link [...]

Idea for new GTA transit ad:

"If this were Grand Theft Auto, you'd be home by now."



Get off the "I HATE FOX NEWS" alright? I'm sorry Fox News doesn't express their left wing views like CNN (Communist News Network) or PMSNBC/MSDNC does everyday on their networks.

It's also nice to know that you won't mention the political affliation of the Governor and the Anti-Gun loser Mayor, because both of them are LIBERAL DEMOCRATS! Just maybe if Mayor Daley let law bidding citizen to own a gun since it's stated in the Consitution your city wouldn't be infested with gangs.

"We shouldn't block advertisements because you don't know how to do your job as a parent?"

Did I just hear those words coming from a FOX news report...

err rapture watch guys you may want to take a look at this.


Apparently you weren't here when they called Mass Effect pronographic or when they won the right to lie and perhaps you haven't noticed their clear as day bias (oh and the reason we aren't bashing the other news networks is because this story comes from fox not the other networks)

And apparently you also weren't here for the HUGE gun-control debates we've had here. Not all of us are anti-gun (like me for example).

But please ranting nonsensical conspiracy theories are great to listen to especially since Jack has apparently left us.

One more thing, bringing up gun control right now would be de-railing a topic which is something that should generally be avoided when having serious discussions on the internet.

Oh and neither the governor nor the mayor demanded the ads be taken down so bringing them up would also be off-topic.

Vdieo game adverts on buses made me kill.

you heard it here first.

@TheEdge & anyone else wondering about fox

I'd recommend finding a copy of the Al Franken book "Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair And Balanced Look At The Right", it's a pretty comprehensive accounting of the bollocks in the media. Even if you take the not-unreasonable position of assuming he's hyping it up (Even though he actually cites sources & explains them), there's still a LOT of substantiated stuff.


"The thing that really bothers me about this is that the CTA consistently is facing budget cutbacks...."

Right on. At a time where our fare rates are almost increasing again, and a lot of maintenance work is to be done on the rail system, cutting back a few controversial ads doesn't sound like high priority. I haven't even seen one of those ads in the CTA buses so far. I still see a few on giant billboards, though, while riding on one of their trains.

Also, GTA is the only game where I see is aggressively marketed everywhere. No other popular mainstream games come close to it.


You are right Fox News don't express thier left wing views on air, they express their right wing views on air.

*****Off Topic Soap Box Moment*******

So Chicago is the only city with a gang problem and its down to the Mayor's political views; and more guns is going to solve gun crime? And before you decide I am anti-gun I am not, I disagree that more guns is going to make it better, That's like saying to someone with a drug problem take more drugs, or to solve the drug problem legalize drugs, you shifted the problem not solved it; but thats off topic about slanted news coverage and how video games is the cause of society's problems, before that it was TV and movies, Rock music, and way back when in Salem it was witches; but not to mention the problems, of poverty, poor education and lack of economic opportunity as causes .

Let's also not forget that Rob B's fight against video games cost this state over a million and a half in funds - money diverted from welfare, public health and economic development. You know, things that might actually have an effect on crime:


Just to clarify the pro-gun position is (summed up) that bad guys will always get their guns due to the black market so let regular citizens have concealed carry so they can defend themselves they figure if more citizens (who live in those areas) carry concealed guns muggings and whatnot will decrease since the criminals will now fear the armed victim even more (since there are more of them). It's not the same thing as saying drugs can solve a drug problem, since you can't use illegal drugs to cure addiction.

[...] [Story Source: GamePolitics] [Photo Source: Joystiq] Did You Enjoy this Post? Subscribe to 1P Start. It's Free! « Back Home Posted in Announcements, General, News, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 on April 22nd, 2008 Link to this Entry Email This Entry [...]

Perhaps to a point, but the mere fact of more guns isn't going to make things automatically better. I am more of the line of stiffer punishment for gun crime, and the black market for selling guns along the line of drug smuggling after all by the very definition someone buying a black market gun has illegal intent. after all a law abiding citizen would buy their legally. And this idea of muggings going down due to concealed weapons on the surface may at first blush seem logical, how about another perspective, the robber shoots first then rob you? After all why take the chance?? And not to mention the number of high strung people in traffic these days lets add more guns in mix? Plus the problem of children and guns (School shootings) I believe the vast majority got the guns from home not the black market. Also an FBI stat from a few years ago cited that most gun violence in the home wasn't the result from an intruder using a gun on home owner but from someone in the home using it against a family member. Another supply of black market guns were stolen from law abiding citizens. And another thing to ponder say you get a citizen and a bad guy to square off, care to get caught in that cross fire, or worst yet the citizen shoots and kill the wrong person, or in a dark parking garage someone shoots some poor guy trying to find his car after working over time. Or guns in bars? Nothing spells a good time like alcohol and fire arms. I live in an area that has a concealed weapons law but certain places you can not carry it (bars and churches for example), so you leave it in the car?? Car is stolen or broken into another gun in the hands of a criminal.

I just pointed of just a few situations where good intentions can lead to adverse out comes; so more guns don't make you safer the same as saying citizens can't get guns in of itself won't fix either. But the US has more gun death and violence than all of the other western contries combined yet something else to ponder.

But I do think gun traing and gun safety would help after all you have to get a license and past a test to drive a car why not something simular for having a gun?? Even law enforcement have to get gun certified and recertified?

The point I was trying to make that just the mere fact of more guns won't make you safer, and keeping guns out of the hands of citizens will solve it either. One approach mayne very harsh sentences for criminals even caught with a gun.

Let's not get too drawn up into the righteous indignation...Rockstar is running ads here in the bay area on buses as well, and although I haven't got a whiff of any controversy over it, it seems to me they're running ads on transit purposefully to evoke the kind of media attention they've gotten in Boston and so forth. They want this result, that's why they're not suing over it.

If at some point some game developer tries to run an ad and really needs the ad space and not the controversy-generator, then that's another fish to fry.

The CTA are a bunch of hypocrites. And with thier recent funding problem, you would think they would be smart and take the ads. I also saw an add for Street Kings on a bus yet nothing was said over that. Couldn't R* sue them for breach of contract though?

[...] The Chicago Transit Authority has decided to pull down all Grand Theft Auto IV advertisements. A local Fox News affiliate reported on the subject, leading to a response by the president of the CTA, Ron Huberman that agreed to take down the ads. The question was triggered by the recent major school shootings occurring in the Windy City. Illinois is notorious for being especially critical of violent video games. [...]

[...] Following some whining by Fox Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has decided to pull GTA 4 ads from buses, reports GamePolitics. Previously, GTA San Andreas ads faced criticism from Governor Rod Blagojevich, though that time the transit authority was not so quick to cave. [...]

video games don't kill people, buses do.

[...] Seven days from the launch of a game that will probably hurt the box office receipts of Iron Man, I’m keeping myself in check over the deluge of information concerning GTA IV. It’s extremely tough to keep myself in the dark about one of the most anticipated titles in this generation of gaming, but a fresh entrance into the title is something that can’t be understated concerning the cinematic nature of the narrative. One story did mange to slip through the crack though; a piece over at Gamepolitics on the removal of a GTA IV advertisement from Chicago city buses. To sum up the article, the Fox News affiliate in Chicago pressured the transit authority to remove the advertisement. [...]

See, I am from Chicago, and the CTA is in deep financial trouble. It's actually a huge issue because the city wants to hold the Olympics but the CTA is almost bankrupt (having been bailed out by the governor at least once) and has been canceling alot of the routes. I don't think that the first amendment rights of anyone has been infringed because it's simply paid advertisement and Rockstar knows that if it allows companies to make controversy out of their games they gain more puiblicity. Inversely by taking legal action Rockstar makes companies wary or making controversy out of games because of legal repercussions i think it's all playing ou tinto Rockstar's ands because this really isnt the first time this has happened. it's just a poor buisness move on the part of the CTA

There are three sides to this coin. First off on a financial side Rockstar won't lose any money with the removals of their ads. I work for the smallest Blockbuster store in our region and we have over 50 presales for the game. Second, I can understand where the city of Chicago might not want to advertise GTA in a time when violence is spiraling out of control, cuz lets face even though the ads didn't depict violence when you say Grand Theft Auto you don't think of cute and cuddly kittens. But on the same note it is wrong for Fox News to try to alienate and demonize (Albeit it's not the first time they've done this.)a game for being the most hazardous thing advertised to children. Hell if they stay up late enough they catch ads for the Playhouse, and I'm pretty sure this is not a child's playhouse. Third, I do believe R*/Take Two should get their money back for the pulling of the ads. I'm not from Chicago but if the CTA is losing money then they shouldn't have let Fox News bully them into pulling the ads or at least asked Fox to cover all the money lost.

I live in Chicago and I have to say there's definitely a difference between the content of Fox News proper and Fox News Chicago. They've had largely the same anchorpeople and reporters since before Fox News was even of importance on cable TV.

I'm not naive enough to imagine the cable network has no effect on the local stations, but there's definitely a difference in content and tone, particularly given how liberal Chicago is in general. I don't think you can apply the Mass Effect issues and so forth directly to this affiliate.

[...] According to a report on Monday from GamePolitics, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has caved to minimal pressure from FOX News regarding the use of advertisements promoting the latest installment of Grand Theft Auto IV on public transportation throughout the city. The local Chicago affiliate of the controversial news desk questioned the city’s use of the ads, stating, “With so much focus on kids and violence these days, we wondered why ads for a violent video game have begun popping up again on CTA buses and train stations.” Days later the ads were pulled. [...]

[...] According to a report on Monday from GamePolitics, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has caved to minimal pressure from FOX News regarding the use of advertisements promoting the latest installment of Grand Theft Auto IV on public transportation throughout the city. The local Chicago affiliate of the controversial news desk questioned the city’s use of the ads, stating, “With so much focus on kids and violence these days, we wondered why ads for a violent video game have begun popping up again on CTA buses and train stations.” Days later the ads were pulled. [...]

It's not the ads to blame for shootings, it's the gun control problems in the cities. The only guns that should be made are the ones for police, military, and hunting. The government is stupid for letting people carry around guns for "self-defense", the government should fix this gun problem instead of blaming it all on M-Rated games!
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Mattsworknamewarned about the scum there assoicating with. Looking at you GAWKER media07/28/2015 - 7:37pm
MattsworknameI think the only reason it was the first action was alot of people felt it was the only option that might have an actual impact. and to be honest, i don't see how they were exactly wrong. Plus, as recent events showed, soem times adverisers need to be07/28/2015 - 7:37pm
MattsworknameTo be honest, I was always kinda on edge about that, while I did not like that those news outlets had acted in the way theey did, i didn't like that we thought boycotting and advertiser attacks were the only recourse07/28/2015 - 7:36pm
MechaTama31And after AE questioned that same analogy, I described it as extreme hyperbole.07/28/2015 - 7:36pm
E. Zachary KnightMecha, The "bullying and threatening" thing is from an earlier shout by Matt. I asked you tht question because you compared the petition to someone threatening to shoot your child.07/28/2015 - 7:35pm
Andrew EisenBy the way, if anyone can see into alternate timelines, I've got $20 that says Target would have ignored the petition had it been presented at the game's launch instead of over a year later.07/28/2015 - 7:34pm
MechaTama31Write a "Gamers are Alive" article. Make a video highlighting positive things about games. Counter your opponent, don't try to silence them.07/28/2015 - 7:33pm
MechaTama31EZK: Who exactly are you quoting with "bullying and threatening"? But yes, I think attacking someone's livelihood because you disagree with their opinion is underhanded and damaging to discourse.07/28/2015 - 7:30pm
E. Zachary KnightOh no. A successful online petition could embolden people to do... what exactly? Do another online petition?07/28/2015 - 7:30pm
Andrew EisenToo bad the counter petition wasn't as popular. But again, yeah, it sucks. For the reasons I've stated over and over now.07/28/2015 - 7:29pm
MechaTama31otherwise want to.07/28/2015 - 7:27pm
MechaTama31AE: I mean like right and wrong, not like true and false. And even the perception that the petition worked could be damaging. It could embolden these types of people in the future, and make it less likely for a retailer to puch back even if they otherwi07/28/2015 - 7:27pm
Andrew EisenBut yes, it is a damn shame that Target decided to kowtow in this case, best business decision or not.07/28/2015 - 7:27pm
Andrew EisenNo one's free expression was impinged. Anyone is welcome to petition whatever they want. Anyone is free to counter petition (and did in this case). Target was free to make it's own decision on whether to continue to stock GTA V or not.07/28/2015 - 7:26pm
E. Zachary KnightMatt, Mecha, So, if a petition asking a store to not sell a game is "bullying and threatening" is a petition asking Intel to pull ads from Gamasutra "bullying and threatening"?07/28/2015 - 7:25pm
MattsworknameAndrew: The fact that it occured, not the reasons for it, is the bigger issue. That a small group like this, under any circumstances, could have that kind of impact, is a serious concern to anyone who values free expression07/28/2015 - 7:23pm
Andrew EisenMecha - As I already said, retailers always have to make that choice. This was just a factor influencing it.07/28/2015 - 7:21pm
Andrew EisenMecha - Yes, the petition was full of factual errors (something I've said repeatedly). And yes, I too don't agree with petitions that aim to remove something just so no one else can enjoy it.07/28/2015 - 7:21pm
MechaTama31AE: extreme hyperbole to illustrate my point, that it's not so much the choice they made, but the fact that they had to make the choice.07/28/2015 - 7:20pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I'm sure it was a factor but most media I saw that offered an opinion on the matter thought the petition was ill-timed bunk.07/28/2015 - 7:19pm

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