GTA IV Protagonist an Unfair Stereotype, Says UK Immigration Advocate

Niko Bellic, the Eastern European protagonist of Grand Theft Auto IV, represents a damaging stereotype, according to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, an advocacy group based in the U.K.

MCV UK reports:

The JCWI has told The Times that it disagrees with a Balkan being portrayed as being involved in a criminal underworld – and that the game could even make ‘life hard’ for real-life Eastern European immigrants.

A spokesman said: “The figures show that East European immigrants are not proportionately responsible for any increase in crime. This plays on untrue stereotypes.”

UPDATE: Gamasutra presents an alternate opinion from UK game journalist Simon Parkin.

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  1. 0
    cwj says:

    No, Kajex, the problem is the over-representation of a particular type or representing a traditionally mis-stated fact.

    If you were a blond, blue-eyed actress, and 19 of every 20 breakdowns you got asked for a blond, blue-eyed bimbo, you might get it.

    If you were an actor from a place somewhere between north Africa and eastern India, and 19/20 breakdowns you got were for a "Islamic/terrorist", you might get it (and yes, there are plenty people from that area that are neither"),

    If you were a Black male actor and 19/20 of breakdowns you got were for a gangmember/drug dealer/crackhead/car thief, you might get it.

    Representation in media is a more powerful thing than most of us give credit to.

  2. 0
    Steve says:

    “The figures show that East European immigrants are not proportionately responsible for any increase in crime. This plays on untrue stereotypes.”

    Yeah, absolutely! They should have gone with a black guy, like in the last game. Everybody knows the stereotypes about violent black people are totally true.

    Come on, seriously? Wouldn’t they just be saying this exact same sort of thing about another race/nationality/culture if he had been someone else besides an Eastern European?

  3. 0
    Bubs says:

    You can’t produce anything in the entertainment industry without some minority group complaining about unfair stereotypes.
    “Why doesn’t everyone just make nice games about kittens and knitting?”
    Rockstar will continue to make these games if they sell 6 million copies its first week (predicted) – Don’t blame them for giving us what we want!

  4. 0
    crispy says:

    calm down it’s only a game and most poeple probably do commit a crime at least once it doesn’t label anyone race as criminals just one man who did what he had to do

  5. 0
    Karsten ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ok, to spin this a little different. I just went to my local video store (blockbuster) and saw that they now had the movie Eastern Promises for rent. I didn’t rent it, although the story looks promising – and the main character is played by Viggo Mortensen, a Danish actor (or at least half Danish anyway, but since we donøt have that much going for us internationally we take what we can get 😉 ).

    Now, am I now led to believe that all Danish are involved in Eastern European criminal gang activities. Of course not. Or am I led to believe, by watching this movie on DVD that all Russians are crime lords or work for them. Of course not.

    By playing the GTA IV game, the same applies. The protagonist Niko Bellic is os Eastern European origen as he comes from the Balkans. As I understand the game’s story, Niko Bellic, is really trying to clean up Liberty City a little bit. He just uses -ehm- violence to do it.

    I didn’t know Rockstar was based in Sweden, but let me say this then: In GTA V I think that the protagonist or main character should be a nordic looking man (or woman) trying to make it in Liberty City. Let me also say this: There’s a Swedish crime series called ‘Beck’. In one of the episodes *the man with the icons’ I think it was called?, the main villain was

    Let’s say I made a game (or proposed a game) in which the Chinese Triads were the bad guys. Do this mean that I think that every Chinese is a Triad or that every Chinese is a criminal. Of course not. Just as I don’t think that every person from the Balkans is a criminal just because the GTA IV game has Eastern European main character – that is an immigrant? from the Balkans.

    As for the figures the JCWI tell us about: This may be true in the UK, but both Sweden as well as Danmark have experienced a great influx of Eastern European criminal gangs that often sadly :( uses children to steal for them. Even if prostitution is legal (sort of) in Denmark, the police still can raid brothels, if they suspect there’s been a trading of women. Sadly, I think, many times (or most of the time) the police find out that the people behind all this are people from either Russia or Eastern Europe, and maybe some times, even someone from the Balkans. I don’t think any Dane would blame all Russians or all Balkans for being in cahoots with these (shady) types. The same goes for the GTA IV character, Niko Bellic.
    He is representing a person from the Balkans. Yes, but that’s all he is. And in the end, it is really up to you, the player, to control Niko’s actions.
    If you don’t want Niko to do criminal things, then don’t.

  6. 0
    RotBot says:

    This is just like the time when speech-impaired advocacy groups were upset about Claude representing a damaging stereotype of mute people in GTA III.

  7. 0
    getwellgamers ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m going to chime in with another “This is silly” vote.

    If we’re truly trying to abolish stereotypes, then it needs to be accepted fact that any person of any race can fall anywhere in the moral spectrum. The Grand Theft Auto Series has, to date, featured White, Black, Latino, Asian, and Russian villians to name but a few. All of a sudden making the protagonist easter european is unacceptable? What?

  8. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    A women protagonist in GTA?

    Does that mean we finally get to kill male prostitutes or does it mean we get treated to lesbian scenes when we pick up a women prostitute?

    Or better yet maybe we can be a whore.

    Although really I doubt that women get very far in the criminal underworld.

  9. 0
    Wolfgang says:

    @ KillianD and MonkeyPeaches
    Yeah. a woman would be cool. Im not saying in the potentially tasteless sense that many people see GTA as a representation of, but in the ever constant balance of the sexes, they are all part of the world in these games, so why not get the chance to be the main character?
    Spot on guys.

  10. 0
    Vake Xeacons ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Oh, now it’s IMMIGRATION, now is it? First violence, then sex, then racism, and now immigration. These people don’t stop!

  11. 0
    Ebonheart ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Lets play a game my GP friends! You must find ONE thing that someone CAN NOT be offended by. Not a single person can be offended by the object you hold.

    If I want to be politicaly correct I wouldn’t speak.

  12. 0
    KillianD says:

    That would actually be really interesting. If they pulled it off well, it would be a potentially huge change to the game without changing it’s nature, such as the basic gameplay. And while there are plenty of ethnicities they haven’t done yet, they’ve done several now, so that would add far more variety in a sense. I’d love to see it.

  13. 0
    Senshiwulf says:

    Saw this coming a mile off. As Billy Connolly put it single white men are the only group of people you can make fun of without having a protest turn up at your door the next morning. -_-

  14. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Oh and not to mention that the game comes out TOMORROW.

    Surely they would realise how unreasonable it would be for rockstar to change one huge aspect of the game (or any aspect for that matter) in less then 24 hours especially when most stores all ready have their copies sitting and waiting.

    I mean Rockstar could delay the game but then again we’ve known he would be eastern european for how long?

  15. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Wait a minute this game is about an eastern european immigrating into a parody of New York City and the game is made in sweden.

    Why the hell does the UK get to have any osrt of say in this?

  16. 0
    Arad ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    You know what I think is funny?

    This one ethnicity is miffed that one person (that may or may not be of their race) may give them all a bad name.

    Has nobody thought to bring up the point that it could be argued that the United States’ larger cities are filled to the brim with crooked cops, hookers, and gang members. Do we see any cities of the States complaining? No. Is it because we can take a joke? Maybe. Or is it because the representation in GTAIV is a bit close to home? Also maybe. >_>

  17. 0
    Wolfgang says:

    1st comment even on GP, and I would like to express my appreciation for such a well maintained website.

    I haven’t had time to review all the comments on this, but i would like to pose this to the community:

    GTA in its progression from story to story, has been depicting humanity as a a species without any real bounds brought by Racism, at best it is a flavor to each individual in the GTA universe.
    GTAIII: White guy, who works for anyone willing to pay him, Mafia, Yardies, Liberty Heights, Yakuza, etc…

    San Andreas was a black guy, now we have a European, whose next?

    The characters and missions, let alone the feel of the game is supplied by its flavor, which though using stereotypes, that is how people are represented in all medias today.

    So in a bizzar way, doesn’t that make the universe of the game, very un-racist?

    I could probably word this much better, but i hope i have gotten my view across.

  18. 0
    GRIZZAM 512 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Again, I must say that if this is so bad, why is Niko my favorite GTA character already? There are criminals everywhere damnit! To say it’s okay to portray one breed but not another is pretty fucked.

  19. 0
    BrandonL337 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    How do they know he is Balkin, I heard that a running gag in the game was that no one knew where he was from so a much of people used a number of different racial epithets when talking to or about him.

  20. 0
    shady8x says:

    As an Eastern European immigrant, I have to say that I see absolutely no problem with a game about criminals from that part of the world.

    Every society has criminals and saying that it racist to point it out about a specific one IS RACIST…

    Obviously it isn’t a depiction of real life, in real life, the Russian mafia mostly deals with pot and tax evasion, as the director of the FBI once said, compared to the other mafias, the Russian one is not very violent…

    Still I love a game about a person from my part of the world… (eastern Europe and NYC)

  21. 0
    Kevin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I suppose I was expecting this. You use or don’t use a minority in your game and all of a sudden the people sensitive about race pop their heads up.

    People complain about Resident Evil 5 using African people as the enemies and they complain about the use of women and African Americans in games. There’s so many white males saving the day and hardly any other types of heroes and all the female heroines have bodies that are out of proportion for realisitic women. Does this matter? Why should it matter? It’s not like games are explicitly saying “people of colour are your enemies”.

    Can it not be fair to say that SOME Eastern European immigrants are involved in crime? Since when does having a couple of characters of 1 race playing into category (such as “involved with organised crime”) create a stereotype?

    About the only stereotype I have that was created by the media is that most people who are in the mafia are Italian American or Italian. (That does NOT mean I think every Italian person is in the mafia… if the mafia still exists.) But I know that’s just a stereotype and probably untrue.

  22. 0
    Repudiator ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, I’m black, myself. When I thought back the the whole GTA San Andreas thing…It didn’t really bother me. I loved the idea of actually having a black protagonist for once… Even if it was more on the crime side. I think Rockstar pulled it off. Besides, the game took place in the 90’s right? I think it was a good idea to use a black character anyway…

  23. 0
    GRIZZAM 512 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well I think this is my favorite GTA character ever. As for stereotypes, what about depictions of Italian mobsters? Or black gangsters? Good lord, just calm down with the racist shit!

  24. 0
    Davin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    …And if it had been a “true” stereotype, there would be even more complaints. Everyone concerned for a particular ethnic group is going to take offense at the roots of a questionable character, no matter what.

  25. 0
    Mech ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “From what I have read about the game, the character of Niko shows remorse and is more complex than just a criminal thug” Exactly.

  26. 0
    Todd ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Sorry, I missed the Balkan crime lord stereotype. The Eastern European stereotype I have is a bunch of whiney white guys who all speak different versions of essentially the same language and all belong to different versions of essentially the same religion, yet still insist that every little town be it’s own independent country. Did they fit that one into GTA?

  27. 0
    BlackIce, Dragunov Marksman ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I slightly understand the point of this at the moment – Big Boris is set to take London, and that rag which I won’t mention is still stirring shit about Eastern Europeans.

  28. 0
    Tubatic ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    If they want to make any real change or have any effect on what’s in there, yes, I totally agree.

    I think alot of groups, not necessarily the JCWI, miss that fact. When outrage is expressed.


    Ah ok. I get where you’re coming from.

  29. 0
    Marlowe says:

    I mean let’s be fair and say that the GTA series sort of uses stereotypes for entertainment. Its characters are so stereotypical be they italian east european black or whatever the guy from vice city was supposed to be (Cuban? I know it was a harkening to scarface) that they become parodies of the stereotypes themselves. So while alone a given GTA character may seem terrible when put into context it’s probably far more progressive than this individual is giving credit for. They aren’t stereotypes so much as references to the culture that fosters stereotypes, such as San Andreas referencing Blaxploitation films.

  30. 0
    neoSpider says:

    If you have a problem with the main character’s ethnicity, it should have been addressed when GTAIV first showed him rather than a week before release. Not that they will, nor should, have to do anything about it.

  31. 0
    Meohfumado says:

    @Tubatic, my point was for every Italian who belongs to the Italian-American Anti-defamation league there are hundreds who don’t care. Some of us even celebrate the “Godfather” reputation that Hollywood has given us.

    Regarding the courts, who knows?

  32. 0
    Tubatic ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    “they are largely ignored by regular Italians because WE DON’T CARE!”

    wouldn’t an organization concerned prejudices concerning the judicial system as it relates to Italians have a problem with that?

  33. 0
    Shoehorn O'Plenty ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Every country has it’s criminals, it’s an unfortunate fact of life. Just because a character in a story is from a certain country and is a criminal does not mean that the makers of the game are saying that all people from that country are criminals.

    It’s like the RE5 thing, there’s an area in Africa (country with a predominantly black population) where an evil corporation has turned the nearby people into vicious zombies. The racism-sniffers leap to the conclusion that “CAPCOM ARE SAYING ALL BLACK PEOPLE ARE VICIOUS ZOMBIES! YOU MUST KILL THEMZ!”

    If Niko were a nobel-award winning medical researcher and brain surgeon, I wonder if they would complain that games are portraying all people from the Balkans as such…

    From what I have read about the game, the character of Niko shows remorse and is more complex than just a criminal thug, but even after the game comes out and they have a chance to see what they’re complaining about, they still won’t admit they are wrong.

  34. 0
    Mech ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Tubatic, you actually completely missed the point. He will rule because of the inevitably awesome storyline.
    Way to think everyone thinks like you.

  35. 0
    Tubatic ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “Rules” because he’s a criminal and a murderer. Point understood. Yes, without sarcasm and as a gamer, that is pretty bad ass.

    But negative imagery none the less. Negative image for a guy of a certain race of which you’re (the JCWI) trying to turn around negative stereotypes for with regards to immigration.

    And please please note that the JCWI just “disagrees” with the portrayal.

    There are no boycotts
    There are no protests
    There is no rage or race war.

    Just a disagreement, arguably worth discussion.

  36. 0
    Andrew Brown, Student says:

    @IN Kraft

    Depends on your definition of stereotype, really. There’s the, probably more common, perception that a stereotype is any kind of negative personality or physical trait associated with a specific group of people (such as black people yelling loudly during movies). But I think there’s definite room to argue that there are certain stereotypes that are absolutely true, provided one doesn’t go to the extremes in them. Most stereotypes have some element of truth to them.

  37. 0
    Zerodash ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Can a videogame REALLY make people anti-balkan immigrant? Seriously. I don’t remember mass lynchings of black youths after San Andreas.

  38. 0
    Tubatic ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “So yeah, these people seem to think you can’t have racists who aren’t white/ all racists are white . . .”

    When did the the JCWI say anything like this? I don’t understand where you’re getting that.

  39. 0
    Cidas ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If this were a movie, or a movie in general that follows the same plotline I doubt it would incur the same controversy. Stupid.

  40. 0
    Tubatic ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think this is worth noting from the very short article:

    “The JCWI is an independent national voluntary organisation that says it ‘campaigns for justice and combating racism in immigration and asylum law and policy’.”

    I can’t say I know the exact motives or methods of the JCWI, but I can see where this particular portrayal can be troubling for them. Aside from being, as I’ve read, an illegal immigrant (granted to America, but immigration still), Niko is also displayed as someone that has (note past tense) “sold people, smuggled people, killed people”. This image of a Balkan, again, being a large release and something that will be significant to alot of people in terms of their Blakan interaction, potentially works counter to the work that they do. At least from a public face standpoint, its important for them to register a public response/opinion.

    Video games are having a greater place and impact on society. With this huge piece of media entering the public consciousness, it could potentially make their efforts just slightly more difficult, because of the potential prejudice (read as prior to immediate situation judgement) that this can bring to their community and to the immigration lawmakers (of today and tomorrow)

    One could argue that the JCWI should just step up their visiibility and make greater, active, efforts to combat or counterweight these stereo types. But at the very least, its a good move to point out that the portrayal, as an example, is not inline with the efforts of their group. Good both for the visibility (a few more people know they exist) and for opening a discussion (however effective or productive that discussion will prove to be.

  41. 0
    Andrew Brown, Student says:

    “You don’t hear US trying to tell people how to portray our nation”

    @Kajex: Since we control the vast majority of the popular media in the world, we actually do tell the world how our nation should be displayed, just not in so many words.

  42. 0
    Pominator ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Kinda makes me think of “Die hard with a vengeance”

    “You know what your problem is?! YOU are racist!” – Willis
    “What the hell do you mean?” – Samuel L M F Jackson
    “What? only the white guys can be racist? you can’t have a racist black guy?” -Willis

    So yeah, these people seem to think you can’t have racists who aren’t white/ all racists are white, funny really when you think of the discrimination between african-american gangs and Latino gangs in places like Detroit and LA… of course there is some loophole somewhere that apparently says that [i]isn’t[/i] racist, makes me wonder, how come no one said that Claude was an inaccurate portrayal of white people with speaking difficulties when GTA III was released?

  43. 0
    Zen says:

    Now onto a less knee-jerk recation from a previous post onto the matter at hand…

    I don’t believe that a game, same as a movie, will just turn everyone away from common sense and make them into those few people that would have ALREADY had the belief that anyone of a different color, religion, sex, whatever is a bad person and will only lead to them being hurt, etc. We call those people rednecks here (not sure what the name would be in other areas, but people get that description pretty easily). I’ve watched all of the trailers and videos that they have put out for the game, and never once thought that because this one person and his unique situation that everyone from that area MUST be the same. I don’t think everyone from Cuba is a drug dealer because of Scarface, or that all Italians are in the mob because of the Godfather / Sopranos (or plumbers with Mario and Luigi). It’s a bit of a rant, but I hate when people jump to things like this because they group and fear everyone else different from them as being “out to get them” and use every excuse or bit of information to try and push that agenda onto others. It’s getting to the point that I’m suprised that Tetris isn’t getting pissed on because the blocks are in color on everything but the old Gameboy..and that can remind colorblind people about their problem, or that destroying all of those blocks is just some made up metaphor for genocide. I’m just tired of it and want to go play some games…man that used to be such simple fun.

  44. 0
    Jon Kanders ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Someone needs to ask this group “What in your opinion should the main character be, his race and nationality, such that it would not confer an unfair stereotype upon any group?” The answer? None, because it’s a goddamn videogame, not a social commentary.

  45. 0
    NovaBlack ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ colonel fin

    no worries :)

    ”Which were played by Hispanic actors, indians and black actors.
    Because the lands nearest Sauron were South Eastern. I”

    lol the funny thing is that that can be viewed as racist yets its completely not, it would just be to better represent the facts in the book.

    Its like saying in the Muhammed Ali film its racist to have will smith in it. It should have been a white guy. No.. its just accurate having a black guy play a famous (and amazing) black boxer.

  46. 0
    Zen says:

    @ SeanB

    No, white killing white is fine, NOBODY ever thinks that racist. We’re just getting what we deserve for generations of suffering that people we may have not even been related to ,or had anything to do with, caused on others. That feels fair to me.

  47. 0
    Tubatic ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Not a surprising statement, and I see where they’re coming from.

    When a minority group sees a stereotype portrayed in a negative way, its concerning. Because of the HUGE release that that GTAIV is, this is going to be the first, or maybe even most significant, exposure to Balkan people and culture that many people will have. Its concerning because people are informed by stereotypes and media portrayal. Humans are visual and you’re going to form an opinion for generalization based on what you see.

    It is, of course, the responsibility of rational people to realize this and not be swayed by stereotypes. However, depending on your cynicism of the world, it could be believed that a large number of people are not going to take that active role of processing the imagery and situations in a healthy way.

    However, nobody should change anything. I feel that the work is what it is, and should (and will) stand as its own statement. Whether it pays any amount of sensitivity to that culture or not. That’s the developer houses’s own choice, and they should be willing to consciously defend their work, or at the least acknowledge their throwing their final product unapologetically to the wolves. A response, from the developer, would be appropriate.

    I think this is a great topic for discussion, and certainly should not be suppressed as a topic of discussion: on the macro leve (national news) or the micro level (shutting down your own mind to the possibility that there is a topic worth discussing rationally).

    I’m hoping at least some rational discussion happens beyond what I’ve read so far, which has been the same copy-paste reaction that the RE5 Trailer topic received. At least on a site called, there should be room for and engagement in some learning conversation about what the issue is.

  48. 0
    Colonel Finn says:

    Actually NovaBlack he was refering to the Humans who aided Sauron.
    Which were played by Hispanic actors, indians and black actors.
    Because the lands nearest Sauron were South Eastern. It’s all in the book anyway.

  49. 0
    Canary Wundaboy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    A spokesman said: “The figures show that East European immigrants are not proportionately responsible for any increase in crime. This plays on untrue stereotypes.”

    Actually, that’s a lie.
    The recent Police study over here showed that they WERE responsible.

  50. 0
    NovaBlack ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Andrew Brown

    was that sarcasm…

    lol .. seriously Saruman and Whatshisface Wormtongue were African?

    wow i must have missed that. Oh yeah because im not a racist and dont look for things like that to selectively take out of context.

    lol i think that was sarcasm it must have been

  51. 0
    NovaBlack ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Arion


    so in the original GTA a white male is a lesser minority in a stereotypica role?

    so in GTA LONDON a white british male is a lesser minority in a stereotypical role?

    GTA3 werent you just another non specific white guy? .. so a lesser minority in a stereotypical role.

    fair enough
    GTA San = black guy
    GTA Vice = italian
    GTA IV = middle eastern

    but considering they actually went for the non stereotypical non minority groups first, how can you criticise?

    The game would be stale and boring with the same character and culture over and over.

    They surely cant be picking on certain minority groups if they have gone through such a wide range during their games. its just they seem to have done the others already and its something new and fresh. I think its racist how people instantly see it as victimization and that its supposed to represent all people of that origin. its not


  52. 0
    Andrew Brown, Student says:


    In regards to having never heard of a black rights advocacy group complaining about a black villain…

    …I don’t think you’ve been looking close enough. I have many Black acquaintances and friends who I occasionally hear bemoan the over-representation of Africans in villainous, or otherwise non-heroic roles. Or, to give a less unsubstantiated example, look at the Blackface phenomenon, or the portrayals of almost all cannibals in all forms of media… the only Human villains shown in The Lord of the Rings film are clearly of African and Carribean descent.

  53. 0
    Andrew Brown, Student says:

    For crying out loud, JCWI, what are you talking about, ‘make life real-hard’ for Eastern European immigrants? Immigrants (and when I say immigrants, I mean people who have migrated here from another country and become first-generation Americans… we’re all immigrants) already have it hard, and it’s only made harder with our society’s current state of terrorism fanaticism and rampant-immigrant discrimination. Demonizing a video game to score a cheap point while it’s the “in-thing” is detrimental to both your own cause, and to the video game itself. Nobody is winning here.

    Once again, the entire complaint against the game seems to stem from a general inability to distinguish between video games and reality. There are two groups of people: people who believe everything they are told, and people who will only believe something once they learn the truth for themselves. Sadly, the first group probably makes the up the bulk of the population, but luckily, since they’re so easy to incense, you can make far more progress by informing the population about positive effects that the Eastern European population has on our society then by moaning about how a video game is doing a better job of that then your own organization devoted to that goal is. Maybe that’s an indication of the sad state of our affairs our society is in, but as Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

  54. 0
    NovaBlack ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    what…. so then what they are saying is Eastern Europeans never ever in any instance of recorded history have commited a crime?

    or is it something in their dna that makes them explode if they try to commit a crime making it impossible?

    oh no wait…. they are human beings… and human beings CAN commit crimes. just like every other human being wether they be spanish, american, british , french whatever. You get some good apples and some bad.

    So i really wish they would shut up saying stupid statements like this. The game doesnt try and say ANYWHERE that the protagonist represents ALL EASTERN EUROPEAN people on the planet. THEY HAVE SAID THAT. so who is the racist?

    I can equally say about EVERY race on the planet that SOME commit crie and SOME wont commit crime. so that leaves Rockstart with the option of making the protagonist Extra terrestrial in origin just so nobody gets offended.

    Oh no wait then theyl complain it is racist toward other life. We cant have characters in games anymore guys. Guess we will just have to have inanimate raceless genderless ageless companion cubes as the protagonist in every story.

    oh n on a sidenote…
    *Cough* the godfather *COUGH*
    *Cough* Scarface *COUGH*
    *Cough* Goodfellas *COUGH*
    *Cough* Mario *COUGH*
    *Cough* Luigi *COUGH*
    *Cough* James bond*COUGH*
    *Cough* Homer Simpson*COUGH*

    sorry didnt mean to it just came out. Guess all those will have to be banned too.

    Remember people we cant be individuals any more its wrong.

    WE have to act in a preconceived stereotype because individuals dont exist. Whatever we do represents all of our race equally. Wow.. way to go at creating racial problems.

    This statement is as stupid as saying hitler was right with his preconception of all jewish people. (hitler being one of the most evil men in history) because the notion of the individual not representing the whole race is now allegedly entirely impossible. .. oh on that note its the same as saying Hitler was german therefore everyone german is of the same mindframe. Which is a completely outrageous thing to say.

    Its wierd how the only people who find the game racist are the ones being racist when looking at it.

  55. 0
    TheRoosterRngr says:

    I agree with Kajex. What is wrong with people? I am pretty sure people are the leading cause of all the world’s problems. If only there was a was to be rid of them….

  56. 0

    […] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptNiko Bellic, the Eastern European protagonist of Grand Theft Auto IV, represents a damaging stereotype, according to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, an advocacy group based in the U.K. MCV UK reports: The JCWI has told The Times that it disagrees with a Balkan being portrayed as being involved in a criminal underworld – and that the game could even make ‘life hard’ for real-life Eastern European immigrants. […]

  57. 0
    Timmay! says:

    What I’m seeing with most of these little outcries is are small special interest groups that get upset anything anyone does something they don’t like. Just a bunch of whining babies.

  58. 0
    SeanB says:

    Okay, for the next game we’l have only white people shooting white people, no etchnic varieties whatsoever

    oh wait, that’s racist too, damnit

  59. 0
    treydawg ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Pominator
    there arnt that many gangs in detroit (i live there) except the ones dealing in drugs. in cali its mostly still like the 90s gangs just killing for the hell of it.

  60. 0
    Velvet_Llama says:

    I agree with everyone here that it’s just makes no sense to assume that because the main character is eastern european, that others will assume all eastern europeans are criminals. That is rediculous and completely oversimplifies the complex relationship between a cultural product and the audience of that product.

    At the same time, if you think games like Grand Theft Auto aren’t problematic, you’re kidding yourself. GTA (at least since it’s third iteration) has always been in dialog with popular cultural understandings of crime and morality. The game’s makers are very upfront about the fact that they use popular movies and television shows as inspiration for their characters and story lines. These entertainment forms have constructed a very warped and distorted view of crime in the mids of the public. Games like GTA engage in similar presentations and, in doing so, reinforce this conception of crime.

    I do not mean to condemn GTA. The games represent a great form of interactive entertainment and deserve praise for the creative vision and technical skill they embody. However we cannot ignore the fact that these products do shape our view of the world around us. We know games and other forms of entertainment are just that. However we also often see games and other forms of entertainment as exaggerated versions of real life and this is where it becomes problematic.

    Someone earlier made the sarcastic comment that it would only be acceptable to have white people killing other white people. I get the sarcasam and it was a funny comment. But it also is a great example of the distorted view of crime we have. If we wanted a game with a realistic portrayl of violent crime it would primairly be disadvantaged minorities committing crimes against other disadvantaged minorities. The reality of that forces us to examine the structural forces that make poor minorities vastly more likely to be victimized by violent crime. Yet popular conceptions of crime often picture middle class white victims being victimized by poor black men. Games like GTA are both created and help to reaffirm these images.

    In conclusion, it is not fair to single out GTA as being responsible for the creation of negative images of certain races or ethnicities. We must understand this process as resulting from a complex interaction of many media forms, structural factors, and audiences. However, we cannot ignore the role that games such as GTA play in this process. If the game industry is to mature and be taken seriously, these are questions that will have to be addressed.

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    Meohfumado says:

    How about every cirme series involves the mafia, huh? What about that? And there is only one group of Italians who care (the anti-defamation league) and they are largely ignored by regular Italians because WE DON’T CARE!

    We know we aren’t all Sopranos, Corleons, etc. I guess Italians are just used to it, so its ok in that case….but don’t accuse any other ethnicity of crime and they get all flustered about it. Grow up and get thicker skin!

  62. 0
    Tubatic ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hi Mech!

    Well yeah, its Rockstar, there’ll be a great storyline. And yes, he is the protagonist, being the main character and all.

    But its GTA. He’s a criminal and a murderer, right? Whether his intent is noble or evil, that’s what he’s doing.

    And that’s ok. Its completely fine (by definition) to have a protagonist that isn’t a “good guy”.

    And I don’t think everyone thinks like me. Sorry if I came off that way, and I’m surprised that I did.

  63. 0
    Mech ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Did anyone even stop to think that 90% of the people after playing the game are going to think “Balkans rule!” because he is the PROTAGONIST AND NOT THE ANTAGONIST?
    Honestly this isn’t a big deal. I am pretty sure I wasn’t pissed off/raged about any of the other characters I played in the other games.

  64. 0
    Tallimar ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    that’s not true! pie is very offensive! i mean, look at all those comedians and actors that have had pie thrown in their faces! how do you think they feel?
    /jk 😛

  65. 0
    Andrew Brown, Student says:


    Obviously I wasn’t referring to Saruman or Wormtongue, I was talking about the Easterlings and the Haradrim (you know, the guys wearing mascara and riding giant elephants). But I don’t want to turn the discussion away from what matters, so let’s put an end to that discussion.

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    Kajex ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Arion

    You’re forgetting about Resident Evil 5. Yeah, they’re not the true villains, but the moment they become targets, somebody stands up and claims racism.

    Besides, I can’t take Middle Eastern people seriously if they can have a TV show with a Mickey-Mouse look-alike character telling children to sacrifice themselves by killing Americans. You don’t hear US trying to tell people how to portray our nation- we leave it to ourselves to tell us how to portray other “subgroups”.

  67. 0
    Arion ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Kajex

    Middle Eastern people got pissed because Persians were not portrayed correctly. Yeah 300 was waaay off…but hell, nobody else cared anyway.

    I have never heard of a black rights advocacy group complaining about black villans ….ever.

    @ everyone else

    Hollywood and unfortunatly the gamer industy will quite often place lesser minorities in stereotypical roles. We had to deal with it….and not pour salt on the wound by publically criticiizng the groups that don’t match our own religion or ethnicity) that have a right to complain about how.

  68. 0
    Eville1 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Has anyone ever seen behind enemy lines? Yeah, the sniper guy chasing him down? The one wearing running gear the whole damn time?

    He and Niko could damn near be twins. Seriously it’s creepy.

  69. 0
    Rav3 says:

    hmmm… so we have to make our villians totally vanilla so they dont offend anyone, make all the violent parts non interactive so we dont train killers, and we must censor sex….


  70. 0
    Kajex ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    People are far too anal nowadays. A Black man plays a villain in a movie, some black-rights group is going to whine. A movie based on the battle of Thermopylae with Persians as the opposing force, and Middle Eastern people get pissed, even though it’s historically true that they got their asses whipped in combat.

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

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