Latest GTA IV Flap: In-game Spoof of Pedophile Site

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has become the latest group to call out Grand Theft Auto IV over the game’s edgy content.

As reported by The Telegraph, the NSPCC charges that the game trivializes pedophilia via an in-game spoof of an underage site.

While playing GTA IV, players can enter Internet cafes and access parody websites. One of these, triggers a message from the Liberty City Police Department and automatically elevates theplayer’s "wanted level" to five stars. The high wanted level triggers a massive police search for the player’s character (see video). In real life the URL forwards to Rockstar Game’s official GTA IV site.

The NSPCC’s Zoe Hilton told The Telegraph:

It is disturbing that it is meant to be funny and that it is glamorising something that is actually really shocking and upsetting. I just think it is in very poor taste and they should withdraw it.

GP: While we commend the many good works of the NSPCC, this seems like a non-issue. The spoof website is part of GTA IV’s parody of the online environment, which also includes such faux elements search engines, scams and dating services. Moreover, there’s no underage content to be accessed and the high-level police alert triggered by visiting the site makes it an annoyance more than anything else.

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  1. Chadachada says:

    That would lead me to probably choose a judge over a jury, for the fact that an unbiast jury can be hard to come by in this day and age

  2. Gabriel Celesta says:

    Little Lacy Surprise…

    Jeez, thanks a zillion, Dennis. Thanks for reminding me of by far the creepiest in-game radio commercial in GTA: Vice City Stories (or probably ALL the Grand Theft Auto games, for that matter).

  3. Aliasalpha says:

    There’s kids in the sims. Oh no sorry you said GAMES…

    I am a bit disappointed by the lack of children and non-pigeon animals in games like GTA4. It kind of takes you out of the "Wow ths city is just so REAL!" feeling. They could also do pisstakes of youth gangs, imagine how embarassing it’d be to be killed by a bunch of 12 year olds with glocks & uzis.

    Most importantly it doesn’t let me engage in my all time favourite hobby, shooting small children with an RPG & seeing how far the bodies fly…

  4. Aliasalpha says:

    I remember discovering the website by accident in the game. Sitting there checking out the in game internet for a bit of a laugh & found a link to that in the search portal. I didn’t really read the full link & assumed it was a trashy lingerie for skanky whores kind of thing. BOY was I surprised when suddenly I was wanted for paedophilia & had to run like fuck to get away from a legion of psychotic cops out for my blood. I tried yelling "But it’s legal in eastern europe!" but it didn’t seem to dissuade them (probably something to do with me saying it to my TV).


    I just had an idea for a new billboard that rockstar can use to promote GTA4. Imagine a white billboard with the GTA4 logo in each corner and then centred on the board in big bold letters, the following text:

    A way of criticizing people or ideas in a humorous way

    To use satire to show that people or ideas have bad qualities or are wrong

    Grand Theft Auto IV
    Satire, calm the hell down.

  5. Aliasalpha says:

    Didn’t you get all that stuff when you went to the site? Maybe it’s just in the australian version…

  6. Erick says:

    Tonight on Fox News, GTA4 not only promotes the killing of hookers and drunk driving but now pedophilia! More at eleven.

  7. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Y’know, the only games that I’ve ever played that featured any kids at all were games where you play an adolescent protaganist, of which there are few that come to mind (other than Psychonauts).


    -If shit and bricks were candy and tits, we’d all be livin’ large. For information on games and psychology, look up:

    Jonathan Freedman (2002)

    Block and Crain (2007)

    Grand Theft Childhood, a book by Harvard Medical School researchers Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson

  8. Ken ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That’s for anyone gullible enough to look for child porn or anything in-game, and ends up getting the FBI coming after their ass. And for the record, there are no kids anywhere in any of the GTA series.

  9. Bradly Walsh says:

    Person 1: I’m from this group. I say we capitlize on blaming the violence

    Chairman: Eh, it’s already been done. besides, professional research suggests that violence in games doesn’t result in violence in youth. What else you got?

    Person 2: Well, they allow drunk driving in the game.

    Chairman: Hmm…Make a note of that.

    Person 3: SIR! They have a fake pedo site in the game that makes the police come after you with the fury of hell. Just like real life. It might teach people not to use pedo sites!

    Chairman: We’ll complain about it tommorow. In the meantime, get me Jack Thompson, and tell him that we saw sexy sex scenes in The Sims 2.

  10. MonkeyPeaches ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    In the articles they still make mention of earning points for doing bad things in GTA IV, and it sounds like they think having a wanted level is a good thing.

  11. CyberSkull says:

     If this was glamorizing child porn then there would be some sort of jailbait image on the "site" and there would be no wanted level response. Chris Hanson (sp?) wishes he could do this.

  12. Cattleprod ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Self-proclaimed moral crusaders telling outright lies? I’ve never heard of such a thing!

  13. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Glamorizing? God damnit, stop throwing words around! Glamorizing would be…like, if Niko went to the site, he’d get magical space armor that made him invulnerable and…like, gave him laser vision…and super speed…and…and a bad ass mansion with a built in space station with naked women and spaceships and deathrays and hottubs filled with diamonds. That could maybe be considered glamorizing. If someone is stupid enough to believe that’s how it works in real life.


    -If shit and bricks were candy and tits, we’d all be livin’ large. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman (2002)Block and Crain (2007)Grand Theft Childhood, a book by Harvard Medical School researchers Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson

  14. nighstalker160 says:

    Along with that if you EVER buy a used computer, do yourself a favor and destroy the HDD that came with it and get a new physical drive.  Because anything ON that drive that can be recovered is IN YOUR POSSESSION.  So if the guy who sold it to you visited child porn sites…you’re on the hook.

    I can tell you that it’s difficult to prosecute someone for simply viewing a site.  After all the standard is super-high (beyond a reasonable doubt).  If you can articulate a reasonable, logical alternative theory, legally you are NOT guilty.  Of course, people WANT to convict child predators which throws a wrench into the jury trial system.  Juries WANT to convict you…so you’re likely to be convicted.

    However, usually to be prosecuted you need to be in some sort of possession (i.e. that photo saved in your internet cache would count). 

  15. Jabrwock says:

    That’s what the issue is here – that this actually happens.  Unlike GTA, though, you can’t get away in reality.

    Good luck getting away in GTA. It sets your wanted rating to 5. That’s kiss ‘o death to most players, SWAT, Army, FBI, Police, etc are all armed to the teeth, and with orders to shoot to kill. In GTA:SA, you needed to go on a rampage with a tank and kill every police officer in your path to get that kind of wanted rating…

    At least in RL you only get arrested…

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  16. Dave ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It’s just lucky they found THAT website and not the one trying to raise funds for the pedophile (radio guy from San Andreas) who got locked up in a prison somewhere.

  17. Case says:

    The Sun is so classy. Hope they catch wind of the preverse ability to see undies shots in Smash.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The real issue is that these kinds of sites are real.  Worse yet, whether you go to them on purpose, on accident, or are tricked into going to one, recent laws state that the police are fully warranted in treating you as a full-fledged child pronographer.

    That’s what the issue is here – that this actually happens.  Unlike GTA, though, you can’t get away in reality.

  19. MaskedPixelante says:

    So… wait… it’s completely fake, and using this thing causes a city wide manhunt for you. Why do they have a problem?

    Oh wait, it’s a video game, therefore it’s evil, never mind.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  20. HalfShadow says:

    I like being cruel to children: I tell them there’s no Santa, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy and that their parents don’t really love them.

  21. Tristram says:

    Ignoring the whole five star rating annoying thing… glamorizing would require something glamerous to happen…

  22. Brandon St. Germaine says:

    You have got to be shitting me?  Is this really an issue in our society today?

    Satire has been dead for years.  People don’t understand the necessity for satire in culture.

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






    what.. so i get my wanted level set to 5 stars and get my ass handed to me… and that GLAMORISES it? SURELY the includance in the game of the site and the 5 star wanted level is a DETERRANT to anyone. SURELY. god i cant explain how dumb this is.

  24. Terraja ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This is unspeakable. The Rockstar I knew would never put blunt satiritcal commentary about a real-world prob– oh wait, my mistake.

    GTAIV says that looking at child porn on the internet is roughly equivalent in badness to killing 20 cops and shooting down two police choppers. It is humour. Come on, people. I thought we went through all this with the (excellent) Brass Eye paedogeddon special.

  25. Gray-17 says:

    "This makes n o. s e n s e." Sure it does. Contraversy sells as good as, or better than, sex. Newspapers and Newschannels are all about selling themselves. They aren’t about to let a little thing like reality get in the way of making money.

  26. aphexbr ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yet another counterproductive non-issue…

    Let’s see. First we have MADD claiming that the fact that drinking and driving in-game makes it very hard to play is somehow glamourising drinking and driving. Now, the fact that accessing child porn in-game immediately get’s the city’s entire police force to descend on you is somehow glamourising that?

    This makes n o. s e n s e. Yet, the column inches that could be used to tackle real problems are wasted on this idiocy.

  27. Anonymous says:

    This is excellent social commentary on Rockstar’s part.

    Kill people, hi-jack cars, cause crashes, be a sociopath in the game, sometimes you can get away with it. The police just obviously doesn’t care sometimes, depending on what you do, where you do, how you do it.

    /VISIT A WEBSITE/ and your ass goes down? You never even personally hurt someone, and yet you’re immediately subject to the highest penalty in the game?

    Yes, yes, I understand exploitation, and I wholeheartedly agree that it’s wrong and rapists and molesters should be hung up by their balls, and possessors of illicit material should be fined the shit out of, but there really needs to be something said for people who do sexually molest children and get out of jail on parole in six months, and people who possess what could possibly be construed as child pornography and wind up in a federal prison for five years. There is something absolutely wrong with this picture, and further proves that we are a society of criminalization and do not care to rehabilitate anybody.

  28. Sai says:

    Seriously how does it "glamorize" anything? I think people like this think that a subject just being touched upon in a video game somehow condones or glamorizes it, regardless of context.

    Police shutting down a childrens’ pageant site because of possible pedophiles is hilarious, and c’mon in America right now we’re all hyper-paranoid about the depiction of children in media, thinking a bunch of guys are gonna get their rocks off on it.

    Also this sounds like an easy way to do the 6 star survival achievement. I’m going to have to give it a try now that I’ve heard about it. Thanks alarmist groups and oversensitive parents with nothing better to do!

  29. Anonymous says:

    I remember reading somewhere about a couple from another country where nudity wasn’t considered innapropriated and hadn’t learned much about American culture being arrested and having their baby taken away for taking pictures of their nude baby.

  30. Anonymous says:

    He usually posts through a proxy, otherwise he’d have been IP banned long before now. (That’s why you always see all those slashes in his posts)

  31. Oz says:

    Im supprised Jack hasn’t made a comment on here saying how "GTA glorifys peodophelia and that Dennis is too much of a dimwit to realise that". You know.. his usual garbage on GP

  32. Bazan says:

    Oh, my God. The human capacity to be dumb and conservative knows no boundaries.

    Is is that difficult to understand the concept of PARODY?

    Sometimes, I really review my opinions about the Americans and their stupid, puritan mindsets…

  33. Anonymous says:

    That comment was madeofwin.

    Anyway, we all know that any news story about video games is going to be a case of CowboyBebopAtHisComputer.

  34. bpm195 says:

    There are 3 crimes lower than all others in the prison subculture: beating up women, child molestation, and snitching. If you’re their because of any of those 3 you better hope for solitary confinement otherwise you’re in for seven years of getting pwnt on a daily basis.

    Conversely, murder won’t make you stand out.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Don’t kid yourself, the penalty for kiddie porn/diddling is life, whether your in an actual jail or not.

    Politicians just don’t have the balls to codify it that way.

  36. Anonymous says:

    If it raises your  wanted level, it seems as though it would be child pornagraphy, not mear Pedophila, (this is also odd, I don’t think that murder in GTA raises your wanted level that much, yet LTIC under the PROTECT act, possession is 7 years, isn’t murder something like 15 years or 25 to life depending on the degree? and before you ask how I knew that, you learn all sorts of stuff when you combine boredom with internet acess.)

    People who think Pedophila equals child molestation JustBugMe, because they DidNotDoTheReserch.


  37. Anonymous says:

    That’s just the thing, though, Warren. Video games are for children, or so we’re led to believe. The Mature rating means squat to these uneducated people. But a TV14 flashing quickly on a corner of your TV screen is apparently fine.

    I see this stuff slated to be a big issue in the next decade or so. The media keeps sexualizing adolescents and the schools are taking away your and your children’s choice about the most appropriate way to learn about themselves… it’s a recipe for disaster and right now it’s been swept under the rug, but before long it’ll be the elephant in the room.

    We’re trading 1st Amendment rights for nonsense crimes here. Because someone plays violent video games, they’re a killer? Because they play Guitar Hero, they’re a musician? Preposterous.

  38. Cecil475 says:

    I spoke with a victim of child molestation about the very issue. I was told that he supports the statment, that was released by the NSPCC. I was also told that he would show his dislike of this by no longer buying Rockstar’s games, I agree whole heartedly. I wasn’t happy about the theme that was introduced in Grand Theft Auto: San Andereas. I didn’t like the way it was portrayed in this game, but not enough to get rid of the game. I avoid the website and play my own music when I play this game. I don’t know that victims of this crime go through and I won’t guess.

    One thing about this game that all those that oppose it keep missing is that it lampoons everyone. The person I spoke with said that it should have listed the fact that the makes fun of this crime, and if I hadn’t of told him about he would not have known. While I agree with this, you would have to put every thing that would offend other people down.You would come up with a pretty thick booklet about those things. MADD does not like the fact you can drive drunk in this game, and they demanded it have an ‘AO’ Rating just for that.

    I have made a prediction. the next group to complain about this game will be the survivors and the families of those killed in 9/11. The game that takes place in a city thats based off of New York, where the  World Trade Center was destroyed. The entire city is locked down due to a terroist threat. A dirty bomb, I think. The bridges are blocked by the LCPD and going past them gets you a six star wanted rating. The higest level obtainable in the game. It all adds up I think

    As far as the comment made by The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children goes, I agree whit their statement completly…as long as they say the same thing about child molestion being used in other forms of media. I know Law & Order and CSI Miami did a few episodes that relvove around this very subject. It would be interesting to see what was said about them.

     – Warren Lewis

    R.i.P GamePolitics 2005-2016

  39. SomeChristianKid says:

    Hey, at least you get wanted stars for accessing the site

    I can kind of understand where they would be pissed about the whole child ponography thing but if it dosen’t show any of the graphic content but instead just gets the FBI on your ass in the game, I think its fine, although I wonder why people would type the site on their computer

  40. DavCube ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Is it in poor taste? Somewhat, yes. But GLAMORIZING pedophilia? Jeez, taking things out of context much?

  41. Werrick says:

    R* – Child pornography is wrong.

    NSPCC – Y’hear that?! R* said "child pornography"! GET’EM!!

  42. Duncan says:

    ha ha, just what I was thinking.

    I would love to know exactly what aspect of paedophilia is being glamourised here, tbh. All aboard the GTA bandwagon!

  43. Anonymous says:
    The show caused a furore among sections of the British tabloid press. The Daily Star printed an article decrying Morris and the show next to a piece about the then 15-year-old singer Charlotte Church’s breasts under the headline “She’s a big girl now”.

    The Daily Mail featured pictures of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who were 13 and 11 at the time respectively, in their bikinis next to a headline describing Brass Eye as “Unspeakably Sick”.

    Defenders of the show argued that the media reaction to the show reinforced its satire of the media’s hysteria and hypocrisy on the subject of paedophilia.

    While I wasn’t surprised, I still LOLed at the hypocrisy.

  44. Tony says:

    I hope not – the press buried Brass Eye to the extent that even today if you mention it some idiot will pipe up and start mouthing about how it trivialised paedophilia, rather that what it really was – an excellent parody of the *press response* to paedophilia.

    This GTA4 site is clearly a parody of the police response (even dare look at that website and your ass is grass!).  The press unfortunately don’t seem to understand the concept.


  45. Anonymous says:

    it is the witch-hunt that took place a few years ago

    Correct, I say it is the in-game satire is what is actually bugging them over there, and those ticked off are doing the usual FUD like saying R* glamorizes this…

    Thus I am not so surprised that all the ruckus about this so far is just coming from the UK.

  46. Jabrwock says:

    The Sun made it out like it was a "cheat" to "boost" your wanted rating resulting in "exciting car chases and shootouts." /sigh

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  47. Brokenscope says:

    Because you can escape the police…


    Though know about this will make starting police chases easier.

  48. Anonymous says:

    How does it glamourize something by making the Police land on you like a ton of bricks?

    This was written in the UK iirc, I suspect what is being satirised here is not the act of pedophilia, it is the witch-hunt that took place a few years ago that claimed the careers of people like Mathew Kelly, who was arrested and identified to the Papers before any charges had been made. At the end of the day it turned out he was completely innocent, but by then, the news had already destroyed him.

  49. Neeneko says:

    I think thier basic argument is that since games are ‘low art’ and ‘fun’ they shouldn’t include anything that mirrors a real problem.. which is a bit odd since the entire game is built around crime and other real issues.

  50. Pinworm says:

    Child Pornography is an important issue in todays internet, and that extends to the ‘jailbait’ culture that is suprisingly deep. Being that GTA is spoofing our internet, how can you not expect something like this? Personally I think it’s funny that accessing that ‘content’ in the game (in which you see none) sends the police after you.

    I don’t know what these people are saying.. By having a ‘child porn’ website in the game that shows NOTHING and has TONS OF POLICE COME AFTER YOU, it’s saying we should all look at child porn? That makes no sense.

    Stop wasting our time when there’s so many better things you could go after, NSPCC

  51. Anonymous says:

    This doesn’t surprise me with the Sun, I’ve never ever known them to get a story right in their entire existence.

  52. Tallimar ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    so i can get a 5-star wanted level by visiting a web site within the game, but killing random people on the street only get me 1 to 2 stars?  maybe all those stars were confusing them….

  53. Girricane ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It does.  But it’s in there so CLEARLY the media has to attack it with all they’ve got.

    Glad to see the game still making headlines weeks after it’s release though.  Oh wait, did I say "glad"…?

  54. Void Munashii says:

      Yes, what could be more glamourous than having the seemingly infinite resources of Liberty City PD descend upon you for going to a website? this is just another group trying to get a piece of the GTAIV publicity pie, and they should be ignored.

      The results of visiting that site made me laugh… once I resurrected at the hospital (I was actually at the internet cafe on a mission when I found the link to that site, and it did rather screw my mission up). At first I was sort of hoping some sort of Chris Hanson analogue would show up, but the police response was funny too.

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