Jack Thompson Wades Into Fallout 3 Trailer Controversy

If you thought being permanently disbarred would cause Jack Thompson to ride off into the sunset, guess again.

The ex-attorney is currently seeing fire and damnation in Bethesda’s recent recall of Fallout 3 trailer videos. A rambling letter from Thompson to the Federal Trade Commission accuses the ESRB of duplicity in the enforcement of its advertising guidelines:

The ESRB’s [advertising] Principles and Guidelines are not intended to protect the public.  They are obviously intended to protect the video game industry from the public backlash prior to a hyperviolent game’s commercial release.   The ESRB, by allowing such violence in games but not in the advertising is institutionally mandating the cloaking of a game’s real content from the public in advertising.

Thus, the ESRB is actively using its “watchdog” muscle to intimidate game developers into participating in the ESRB’s long-standing shell game by which it has tried to hoodwink Congress and the American people into thinking that the video game rating system is working, that the ratings are reliable, and that minors are being protected from the sale of “Mature” games… 

And, even though Take-Two has zilch to do with Fallout 3, Thompson cannot resist taking a shot at the GTA publisher:

Take-Two, for example, knows that if it adhered to “truth in advertising,” most of its Grand Theft Auto games never would have made it out of the warehouse.  Take-Two has figured out how to collaborate with the ESRB in this shell game by which false advertising cloaks the real nature of their games until the games are released, and then it is too late…

 

Bethesda’s only sin was that it advertised truthfully what its game Fallout 3 is all about.  The ESRB’s idiotic but telling response has fashioned a noose that I expect either the FTC or Congress to slip around the ESRB’s neck…

Full letter after the jump…

 


William E. Kovacic, Chairman

Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
Fax to 202-xxx-xxxx


Re:  Fraudulent and Deceptive Advertising Mandated by the Entertainment Software

       Rating Board (ESRB)


Dear Chairman Kovacic:


The video game industry became embroiled in yet another controversy this week that reveals the patent fraud and deception actively engaged in by its Entertainment Software Rating Board.  This requires swift action by the FTC to end this ongoing fraud by the ESRB.  If the FTC does not act, Congress will:  Please note:

Yesterday video game developer Bethesda released a hyperviolent game called Fallout 3.    It is rated “Mature” by the ESRB, and its ESRB descriptor states that the game contains the following content: [graphics of Fallout 3 content descriptors]

Prior to this game’s release, Bethesda provided “trailers” for the game that correctly and accurately depict the content in the game, including slow motion exploding of heads.

The ESRB, aware of the truthful content in these trailers, threatened Bethesda with punishment for alleged violation of its Advertising Principles and Guidelines through the ESRB’s Advertising Review Council.  As a result, Bethesda, in a panic, then asked video game sites to whom it gave the advertising trailers to remove the trailers.  Bear with me, please, because now we come to the patent fraud by the ESRB that may amount to criminal activity, proof of which is  found at http://www.esrb.org/ratings/principles_guidlines.jsp.  The relevant portions of the ESRB ARC Principles and Guidelines are underscored below:


PRINCIPLES

  1. An advertisement should accurately reflect the nature and content of the product it represents and the rating issued (i.e., an advertisement should not mislead the consumer as to the product’s true character).
  2. An advertisement should not glamorize or exploit the ESRB rating of a product.
  3. All advertisements should be created with a sense of responsibility toward the public.
  4. No advertisement should contain any content that is likely to cause serious or widespread offense to the average consumer.
  5. Companies must not specifically target advertising for entertainment software products rated “Teen,” “Mature” or “Adults Only” to consumers for whom the product is not rated as appropriate.

 

GUIDELINES

In applying the above Principles when evaluating advertisements, ARC will focus on the following core Guidelines. The scope and weight of each Guideline shall vary on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the demographic for which each product and its associated advertising, is intended and in relation to the advertising medium involved. While the Principles set forth the scope of ARC’s review, the Guidelines are general parameters intended to further assist companies in providing responsible, appropriate, and accurate advertising. These Guidelines are not intended to restrict or impede creative and/or innovative advertising. Rather, the following areas merely highlight certain types of content that publishers should avoid when creating advertisements.

1. ESRB Ratings and Truth and Accuracy in Advertising

*                   Misrepresentations regarding the character and/or rating of a product

*                   Inaccurate or false content

*                   Exploitation of an ESRB rating

2. Violence

*                   Graphic and/or excessive depictions of violence

*                   Graphic and/or violent depictions of the use of weapons

*                   Graphic and/or excessive depictions of blood and/or gore


Here, then, is the problem that amounts to fraud:  The ESRB seeks to enforce two mutually exclusive advertising Principles and Guidelines, and it is doing so in order to hide, as opposed to reveal, the true content of games from the public, most notably parents. 


More specifically, the trailers for Fallout 3 in fact comply with Principle #1, above, in that they “accurately reflect the nature and content of the product it represents and the rating issued.”  The trailers show the exploding heads in the game.  They show the violence that is the hallmark of the game.  As the narrator in the following trailer states, the exploding heads “never get old.”  See http://www.gamepolitics.com/2008/10/28/eve-launch-fallout-3-trailer-unexpectedly-yanked


However, the ESRB, at the same time that it supposedly mandates “truth in advertising” mandates adherence to a completely contradictory Principle #4: “No advertisement should contain any content that is likely to cause serious or widespread offense to the average consumer.”


The ESRB cannot insist upon both Principle 1 and Principle 4.  Either advertising must be truthful as to what is really in the game, or ads cannot cause offense.  The ESRB can’t have it both ways.  Proof of the disharmony in these two Principles is that the ESRB strong armed Bethesda into pulling the trailers precisely because they were accurate as to the content in the game.

Look then at the disharmony also in the ESRB “Guidelines” as well, above:  Under Guideline #1, there must not be “Misrepresentations regarding the character and/or rating of a product” or  “Inaccurate or false content,” in the advertising, but Guideline #2 mandates that game advertising shall not contain “Graphic and/or excessive depictions of violence” or “Graphic and/or violent depictions of the use of weapons” or “Graphic and/or excessive depictions of blood and/or gore.”

Wait a minute.  If the advertising for Fallout 3 is to be truthful and accurate it MUST reveal the endemic and high levels in the game of blood and gore, the graphic and violent use of weapons, and the graphic depictions of violence!           

Let me then conclude by pointing out the obvious:  The ESRB’s Principles and Guidelines are not intended to protect the public.  They are obviously intended to protect the video game industry from the public backlash prior to a hyperviolent game’s commercial release.   The ESRB, by allowing such violence in games but not in the advertising is institutionally mandating the cloaking of a game’s real content from the public in advertising.

Thus, the ESRB is actively using its “watchdog” muscle to intimidate game developers into participating in the ESRB’s long-standing shell game by which it has tried to hoodwink Congress and the American people into thinking that the video game rating system is working, that the ratings are reliable, and that minors are being protected from the sale of “Mature” games.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The ESRB is in fact mandating false advertising to protect the industry and the ESRB/ESA as well.

The current uproar over Fallout 3 and the above examination of its two totally contradictory sets of Principles and Guidelines prove that the ESRB is simply a video game  industry that is fraudulently facilitating the sale of inappropriate interactive sex and violence to minors in violation of federal and state RICO and Fraudulent and Deceptive Trade Practices laws.  Take-Two, for example, knows that if it adhered to “truth in advertising,” most of its Grand Theft Auto games never would have made it out of the warehouse.  Take-Two has figured out how to collaborate with the ESRB in this shell game by which false advertising cloaks the real nature of their games until the games are released, and then it is too late.

I call upon the FTC to act today to end this fraudulent, illegal charade by the ESRB.  If there is to be “truth in advertising” then game advertising must accurately reflect what is in the games sold.

Bethesda’s only sin was that it advertised truthfully what its game Fallout 3 is all about.  The ESRB’s idiotic but telling response has fashioned a noose that I expect either the FTC or Congress to slip around the ESRB’s neck.  Please do so.  If you don’t, I shall.

Regards, Jack Thompson 

Copies:  ESRB, ESA, ECA

              Congressman Fred Upton

              Media



 

 

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135 comments

  1. 0
    NotSoHardcoreGamer says:

    I think that at least goes to show why we don’t need JT anyway.  There are people already who are concerned about any possible links between video games and violence.  There are agencies and watchdogs doing so.

    And no matter how annoying some of us find them to be, they at least are infinitely more reasonable, respectful and honest than Jack.  They’re doing their job.

    Jack, on the other hand, is just doing this for his ego and for publicity with a "too bad for you if you’re in my way in any way" attitude.  Wasn’t he paying attention to why he was disbarred in the first place?

    That said, he was already a joke while still a lawyer, now that he’s not…  Well, what do you to an inane chain letter you get in the mail?  You drop it in the waste basket or recycle bin immediately.

  2. 0
    smblion says:

     Thompson is never going to STOP doing his shit. That does make his efforts news worthy. There are a lot of insane people in the country who do or say insane things, but nobody listens to them because their Insane. This one insane man used to be a lawyer, which is the only reason anyone ever listened to him about anything.

    He is no longer a lawyer, which means he no longer has a credible voice. The only reason anyone is going to pay attention to him now is if the media continues to treat him as if his opinion mattered.

    Reality is his opinion does not matter to anybody with any pull in the game industry. The ONLY thing that will change that fact of life is if media outlets such as GP continue to cover him as if he were a credible individual.

  3. 0
    Oz says:

    Jack sure does know "false advertising" alright

    "I haven’t been disbarred.  Have no idea what you are talking about." – John Bruce, email he sent to me today

  4. 0
    Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    Dude, for your sake I will assume you are joking, since I cannot pretend this comment does not exist.

    Jack is still doing his shit. We won’t stop covering him until he does or something big concerning him happens. We don’t post a BREAKING article every time he takes a dump, y’know.

    ——————————————————————————————————–

    I AM DOOMED TO HAUNT JACK THOMPSON’S DREAMS UNTIL HIS CRUSADE AGAINST VIDEO GAMES ENDS.

  5. 0
    Titantim says:

    It showed a head shot in game, and the ESRB thought it would be a little too extreme for the general public to see.  And I have to agree on that one.

    You know, I kinda feel bad for the ESRB.  The game companies hate them because they nit-pick about things they think are too violent in the games content.  And now they have this idiot being pissy because he thinks they’re protecting the game comanies.  It’s like they get no love from anybody.

  6. 0
    Gabriel Celesta says:

    So does Jack have the same issue with trailers for R-rated movies that are cut for all-audience viewing on television?

    Of course not. Do you really think if he did, he’d be QUOTING movies every now and then?

  7. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    The original Robocop was supposedly going to be rated X for violence, but they decided R was appropriate.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  8. 0
    wiregr says:

    How is Fallout 3 any worse than Oblivion with the sole exception of the occasional head-explody? Dead Space is much worse, what with all of the selective dismemberment of zombie extremeties (including heads), and even that seems to sit just fine at an M rating. Sure, it’s not for children, but it hardly needs the change from M to AO.

    Even compared to the original Fallout, this isn’t much to speak of. Anyone else remember getting a critical on an enemy with the minigun ? Maybe I just haven’t gotten to the part in Fallout 3 where I have hot, uncensored sex with mutated hookers in some post-apocalyptic vehicle while I run over orphans. I certainly hope I’m getting close at least.

  9. 0
    Torven says:

    I had the exact same feeling when I read the letter.  As a lawyer, he was a legal loose cannon, which warrented some attention.  Now he just sounds like that old crank at the end of the block who keeps sending letters to the mayor’s office because those damn kids won’t stay off his lawn.

  10. 0
    MaskedPixelante says:

    I was definitely going to get it before this, but I was going to wait until I got a PS3, so that I had that whole thing behind me.

    But now I HAVE to stop my careful saving and pick this thing up.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  11. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    Ha, the big 3 are about to lose control of their consoles if they tighten their grip any more. X3 Three class actions over securom, what do they think’s gonna happen when they try to arrest gamers for modchipping their consoles?

    And here in the real world, we have securom, people being threatened with federal charges for offering security advice, whackjobs like jack thompson, and a general decline in game quality.

    Just like the entire ‘OMGBOOBS’ incident with oblivion getting it the M rating-instead of the anatomically correct heads on spikes with brains showing and zombies in advanced stages of decay.

    And fallout 3 is worse about these things than oblivion (However, there are no third party modded boobs). It’s why I think that it deserves a stricter rating.

    Of course, any V-chip discussions about TV ratings aren’t aired, I wonder why the broadcasting companies that would lose money won’t air their own problems which are much worse and more ineffective than the ESRB?

    Anyway…what I come to expect from an M rating is oblivion-esque content, not fallout 3 style stuff.

  12. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    Honestly, no but Zack and Wiki is a fantastic game that every puzzle-loving gamer should play.

    Hmm, Zack and Wiki Make a Porno…  Maybe a new adult direction is what this IP needs to boost sales?

     

    Andrew Eisen

  13. 0
    Conejo says:

    and here in the real world, nobody’s going to make an AO game just because of violence because the Big Three refuse to have AO games play on their consoles (despite the goddamn fact there are parental control locks on all of them).

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  14. 0
    Conejo says:

    it’s shorter to say when you have 30 seconds to say something.  i suspect it’s less about the Porno than just time issues.

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  15. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    I don’t know how many times I have pointed this out to people, but I will most likely have to do it many more times.

    The ESRB states itself that games can get AO for violence alone:

    Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.

    That little "and/or" means it could be for one or the other or both.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  16. 0
    Pierre-Olivier says:

    And beside, what can he do?

    My only prediction is that his harassing tactic is gonna backfire again. And it may be worse than a simple U.S. Marshall visit.

  17. 0
    BearDogg-X says:

    Plus, Kevin Smith successfully got the MPAA to change the rating from NC-17 to R.

    Back in Black from a forced hiatus by Hurricane Gustav.


    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  18. 0
    Father Time says:

    Jack Thompson’s threats and assertions are putting me to sleep man, oh well same old Jack with none of the legal power.

    —————————————————-

    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  19. 0
    JustChris says:

    Jack probably knows it would already in bad taste to show all the gore and horror in a publicly viewed area for general audiences. In shorthand version he says "ramp up the violence in your trailers or tone down the actual game" in hopes that the company will choose the latter.

  20. 0
    Cerabret100 says:

    So wait…didn’t he try (and succesfully) to pull GTAIV adds somewhere? Due to them being "inappropriate"?

    Yet now because FO3 ads were pulled, it’s a conspiracy to hide the mature nature of the game and protect the gaming industry?

  21. 0
    GoliathWon says:

    I have to agree with the above sentiment. Thompson is just that old coot writing daily letters to the editor, who is completely out of touch with the outside world but still thinks he can change it from his armchair. The only difference was that he was an attorney, and now he doesn’t even have that. Now he’s just a regular old coot. He’s going to be writing hundreds of those. Now when anybody at all responds or even acknowledge these stupid little letters, then it would be news.

  22. 0
    BearDogg-X says:

    As others have posted, how is the ESRB’s telling Bethesda to pull a trailer over exploding heads any different than the MPAA’s telling moviemakers that they can’t have decapitations in a trailer for a horror movie like the upcoming Friday the 13th remake(just citing an example)? I don’t see him whining over a trailer for Saw V.

    Another crybaby move by Thompson over something that isn’t an issue.

    He should practice what he preached about growing up and getting a life.

    Back in Black from a forced hiatus by Hurricane Gustav.


    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  23. 0
    King Droid says:

     Wow…JT has gone over over over the top ApeShit this time. Judges lisrening to a recently disbarred Lawyer IS not going to happen. JT if you read this, take your letter, print it out, and shove it up your ass.

  24. 0
    jkdjr25 says:

    When beats their head against a problem/wall  one of two events will occur.

    1. The problem/wall breaks leading to a solution

    2. One’s head breaks also solving the problem, though likely not in the manner one wanted.

     

    Jack….stop beating your head against the wall.

  25. 0
    smblion says:

    Okay it’s time to cry foul. I’ve adored GP’s coverage of Thompson’s antics when he was a lawyer who mattered. He is no longer a lawyer, and he no longer matters.

    Please do not cover the lunatic ravings of people who have no influence over the industry. At this point the only people making Thompson "credible" are the media, which includes this site. 

    Surely your goal is not to legitimize him? That’s all you can accomplish by covering this man further.

  26. 0
    elal says:

    Yeah, but he’s so damn irritating. It’s hard to resist poking fun. That’s basically the only power he has left: to harass us to death, and JT is holding on to that ability like his life depended on it.

  27. 0
    barra_sadei says:

    A game can only be given an AO rating if it includes… Adult Content. XXX-type stuff (you know, pron (yes, pron), not the Vin Diesel movie). Violence doesn’t fall under the general term used to cover adult content… I can’t think of it right now. One of the downsides of having Aspergur’s Syndrome.

    Still, to each their own opinion.

  28. 0
    CarsAreScary says:

    Didn’t even read the full letter, just the initial description put on the main page. This guy now has nothing to trick people into thinking he has some semblance of credibility. He’s not a threat. Since no one is listening to him we don’t have to constantly point out his hypocrisy anymore.

  29. 0
    barra_sadei says:

    Heh… Thompson still thinks he has his "established reputation…" It’s almost cute, but the fact that it’s Thompson instead of a 5-year-old makes is just too funny.

    Now, class, Jack’s letter shows a case of extreme bias. This is something that many people do. They see what you see, but only get what their mind wants out of it. For example, Jack here is looking for a conspiracy, a "slip-up," and so his mind actively searches for something to latch onto. Meanwhile, his mind ignores everything that it isn’t looking for (in this case, a reasonable reason, or even what he himself is seeing/reading). In addition to this, Jack is disregarding easy-to-find information. In 2005, I did a research paper on Violent Video Games and Violence (I was a high school freshman), and I found several sources that cited that the video gaming industry voluntarally uses a rating system, whereas TV and Movies need to go through government branches. All-in-all, little Jackie-boy presents a biased, faith-filled arguement with standing only amoung the ininformed and the ill-informed.

  30. 0
    elal says:

    JT:So you seriously believe that GTA sells well because people are too stupid to remember what the previous version was like, and are being deceived by the previews into thinking it’s a perfectly fine game? Not to mention that somehow, these people are unware that a game titled "Grand Theft Auto", titled after a serious crime, might have, oh, I dont know, a criminal element to it?

    Also, we’re assuming people dont know what the word Fallout means and implies, and that they cant be bothered to take a second to look it up on google? And that this incredible feat of stupidity repeats itself many many times without people learning, and all of this is our fault?

    Since we’re on the subject of what certain words mean, are you familiar with the word absurdity? I never had a tv until the fifth grade, and never went to the movies with some friends until eigth grade. But even I’m not that ignorant of pop culture.

  31. 0
    Bill says:

      Why print this irrelevant puke’s comments any longer?

      We all knew that when he was disbarred he wouldn’t lose his ability for hyperbole, but with his law license went a perceived credibility and his relevance.

     

      Do us a favor and spare us his bullshit unless he finds some way to affect anything in any relevant fashion.

  32. 0
    mootyslayer says:

    Yeah Jack loves his picture books. Wait….Hey Jack theres your new calling making picture books. You seem to do them really well. Although with your tendency to add gay porn to them. It might be a good idea to put a mature rating on them before selling them. But seeing as how your book with words failed. I don’t see how you would be able to succeed with this idea….among any of your other ideas about your video game Conspriacy Theory.

  33. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    I think I agree. John Bruce may have been some kind of threat when he was a lawyer, but not any more. He burned the bridges between him and anyone who could have been his ally. Now he is just a one man version of the PTC.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  34. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    The ESRB’s idiotic but telling response has fashioned a noose that I expect either the FTC or Congress to slip around the ESRB’s neck.  Please do so.  If you don’t, I shall.

    John Bruce is threatening people again. I wonder if Patricia should apply for a restraining order now.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  35. 0
    jadedcritic says:

    OK, now this is just funny; but is this why we he think he’s dangerous?  God forbid he should write letters. I’m trying to let bygones be bygones, but now it’s just sad,  doesn’t he have anything more worthwhile to do? (Dude, get a job.)  Though now that I think about it, I may have to join the jack-is-not-news camp now.  He’s well within his rights to write as many zany letters as he likes, and we’re well within our rights to toss them into the garbage with all the other junk mail coupon fliers.  Shine on, you crazy diamond. 

  36. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    Okay, fallout 3 is incredibly violent. I think anything less than an AO rating is too little, but that’s just my opinion.

    That said, it’s a fantasy video game world that is perfectly up front with its violent nature and avoidable by anyone that wants to avoid it. I don’t want hugely violent games. So guess what I do…!

    *drumroll*

    I don’t buy them! WOW! What a revolutionary idea! Not being obligated to buy something you don’t want? Free enterprise? Speak with your dollars? Who the hell came up with this fantastic system!?

    I almost think thompson is an advertising medium, would almost thing he’s paid by video game publishers, but not Bethesda..please not bethesda.

    In the 1940s, the craving for violence in the U.S. was sated by nearly 400K dead U.S. soldiers in WWII.

    In 2008, video games do most of that. Our current big war has a grand total of 7100 U.S. soldiers lost.

    The further you go back into history, the bloodier it gets. The earth is becoming more populated, and less violent by percentage as time goes on-any way you look at it.

    Even if (big if) violent video games were the cause of some social decline, liars and fearmongers like thompson (and the liberal media he claims to hate so much) are the greater of two evils there.

    In short, someone want to add jack thompson’s face to fallout 3 and make his head explode into giblets and fail?

  37. 0
    CMiner says:

    Okay, Jack?  Trailers are publicly, freely viewable (ie, Minors can see it).  The game is not.  Just like with trailers for movies that have R rated content, that type content is not shown in the trailers, in order to keep that content from being shown to those age ranges it is deemed inappropriate for. 

    This is not an effort to ‘mask’ anything.  Even in the trailers, for movies and video games, the rating is clearly displayed, just as it is on the game/movie box.

    You say that principles 1 and 4 are mutually exclusive.  This is not so.  The rating for a game (Again, CLEARLY marked in the trailers and on the game box) are both A) Not offensive in nature; and B) Able to clearly and accurately able to represent the nature of the game itself.

    It’s just like telling someone "<Movie Title> had a lot of violence in it." without going into the detail of the violence.  The description (just like with the CLEARLY MARKED RATING) both "accurately reflect the nature and content of the product it represents and the rating issued" and does not "contain any content that is likely to cause serious or widespread offense to the average consumer."

    The Fallout 3 trailers were pulled because they displayed the violence, rather than simply describing it inoffensively.  No cover up.  No fraud. 

    Your logic fails on the most basic levels, yet again. 

    Argument over.

  38. 0
    SimonBob says:

    So does Jack have the same issue with trailers for R-rated movies that are cut for all-audience viewing on television?  Or is that okay because the MPAA has different guidelines?  At best, what he can advocate here is a re-examination of the ESRB, not a total overthrow.

    Good to see that he can still compose a letter without resorting to Google image search, though.


    The Mammon Industry

  39. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    ”false advertising cloaks the real nature of their games until the games are released, and then it is too late… ”

     

    haah really? you mean people dont know what to expect from GTAIV ant they were suprised it had violence in?

     

    wierd , because it didnt stop thomspon condemning it before it was released. So they cant be ‘cloaking’ it too well.

  40. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    Yeah, ’cause your last letter to Mr. Kovacic garnered such a great response…

    Anyway, just because the ESRB doesn’t approve of an exploding head in a trailer doesn’t mean that the public is being deceived.  There is still violence, there is still blood, and the game is still clearly rated M.

    Principles 1 and 4 are not mutually exclusive.  You can easily relate a game’s violent content with out explicitly depicting it.  It saddens me that this has to be explained to you.

    Now that you have a lot of time on your hands you can afford to be much more creative than this.  You disappoint me, Thompson.

     

    Andrew Eisen

    P.S. – There is no nudity in the trailers for Zack and Miri Make a Porno.  Is the MPAA deceiving American movie goers?

  41. 0
    Ragnaar says:

    Jack would love to visit Vault 112 in the game.

    For those who got that far, you know what I’m talking about.  For those who don’t, I won’t spoil it for you.

  42. 0
    J.Alpha.Gamma says:

    It’s a good thing I didn’t celebrate his disbarment. I’m waiting for Thompson’s karmarang to come back and nail him between the eyes.

    Then I’ll celebrate while I watch him tear himself apart trying to hold onto his anti-games crusade with one hand while fighting off First Amendment suits with the other.

  43. 0
    Thad says:

    "The ESRB’s [advertising] Principles and Guidelines are not intended to protect the public.  They are obviously intended to protect the video game industry from the public backlash prior to a hyperviolent game’s commercial release."

    I was scared there for a minute, because Jack Thompson was saying something that is actually right.

    But then he veered off into Crazytown with the "not showing mature content in the commercial is false advertising" claim.

    Jack, it sounds like you’re suggesting that any movie that shows bare breasts should put them in its advertising.

    …Actually, that sounds pretty awesome.

  44. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    The biggest issue is is that there are much, MUCH bigger problems in the world than violent video games.

    Sexual abuse, child prostitution, poverty, gang violence, lack of counseling for those effected… and, well, too little space to list them all here

    The point is is that Thompson and people like him, for instance the PTC, are covering up these issues, and the people effected by them as an extension may not ever get help, and yanking away a vice as some of these people suggest could easily make the issue worse.


  45. 0
    Ryno says:

    You could have done that by skipping over the article and reading any of the numerous others Dennis posted today. Sort of like I did with the ones that didn’t interest me.

  46. 0
    Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    *facepalm*

    ——————————————————————————————————–

    I AM DOOMED TO HAUNT JACK THOMPSON’S DREAMS UNTIL HIS CRUSADE AGAINST VIDEO GAMES ENDS.

  47. 0
    Shadow Darkman Anti-Thesis of Jack Thompson says:

    No, we can’t, because disbarment didn’t do shit to him, other than give him something else to brag about.

    Something has to happen to him that he can’t take and warp to his own twisted way of thinking.

    Also, he’s a source of 1u1z. Take away my 1u1z, and I will hunt you down. Can’t say anymore without provoking action from Dennis, so I’ll leave it at that.

    OFF TOPIC: I compare JT to Kristoph Gavin from Apollo Justice, except for the glaring differences. To sum my point up, they’re both batshit crazy.

    ——————————————————————————————————–

    I AM DOOMED TO HAUNT JACK THOMPSON’S DREAMS UNTIL HIS CRUSADE AGAINST VIDEO GAMES ENDS.

  48. 0
    Spartan says:


    [drumroll]

     

    In a way I have to agree with Jack for once. The publishers should be allowed to show exactly what they want from the game without hindrance. All the "clean" images are somewhat misleading and piss me off as a gamer.

     

    [/drumroll]

     

    ——————————————-

    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  49. 0
    Erik says:

    "However, this is just as problematic and is endemic of a defender’s own bias, totally unwilling to listen to anything contrary to his own opinion."

    Um, the man is a lunatic.  Sorry, but there are some people who are just so bat-shit out of their mind that you really don’t have to listen to their point of view.

     

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  50. 0
    Xym says:

    Most of those reading at home would be inclined to ridicule anything Jack would have to say. However, this is just as problematic and is endemic of a defender’s own bias, totally unwilling to listen to anything contrary to his own opinion. Ultimately, there is a grain of truth is this, his most recent thesis, but it’s not what he might have intended.

    That the ESRB would censor the advertisement of Fallout 3 is a problem, but it is not a problem of the ESRB, despite Thompson’s assertions. His supporting claim is that if GTA’s advertising showed the graphic nature of those games, that they would never have been sold. In truth, they would probably have sold more, at least in the short-term.

    ESRB censored Fallout 3 to protect the developers so that alarmists like Jack Thompson and the like would not have had a reason to vocalize yet again. Unfortunately, the crime is almost never in the action, it’s in the cover-up.

    The greater problem is the public view of games. On the internet, any members of a group can be prevalent among itself, including gamers. But the truth is that most people are like Jack, distrustful and legitimately alarmed at what must at least appear to be a degradation of moral society. It is not, but that’s not the point.

    The argument has been made time and time again; novels of the 19th and early 20th century, comic books of the 40s and 50s, and rock music of the 60s and 70s (and 80s and 90s and…), video games are the latest scapegoat. Despite all evidence to the contrary, people who are shocked by violence/sex in videogames (the non-desensitized) point to them as the reason for the failings of man, at least for today. Some are able to recognize that that is not truly the case: the crazy are crazy before they played a video game, not because of it. However, those same people might point to the desensitization itself and say that that is the true failing.

    I think that there is some truth to that assumption. Still, people have come to enjoy violence, or at least accept it, in and around their lives since long before videogames. In truth, the natural world is a very violent place and someone or something that was repelled by sight or thought of blood, let alone death and dismemberment, was in for a rough ride indeed.

    Does that mean that it is a circular problem, that one must accept violence because it is all around us? No. That is a coward’s answer. Man is bigger than his failings.

    Despite his abhorrent habit of sending caustic and abusive emailings to the world over, it might come as a surprise to most gamers that John Bruce Thompson loves his wife and son and that they return his love unconditionally, that he believes the core of what he is saying. Unfortunately he has fallen into the trap of doing anything for a cause, including being untruthful at times. I am sure that he believes that he has made the ultimate sacrifice now and that he is a martyr for it. But don’t believe for a minute that he’ll stop speaking, nor would I want him to.

    Seek not to silence your opponents, seek to convince them. Censorship never works for either side.

  51. 0
    Erik says:

    So I take it when Jack goes to the movies he has a problem with the phrase: "The following preview has been approved for all audiences", when refering to a movie that will be rated R?

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  52. 0
    Aliasalpha says:

    Ahh its good to see pointless bollocks again.

    Is it just me or has jacks letter writing improved somewhat? I only read the letter through once and fairly quickly but I didn’t see any major spelling errors or pictures of a penis in another man’s mouth.

    Side topic: Am I the only person here who things fallout 3 looks really boring?

  53. 0
    Cougar_Leon says:

    I wonder how he’ll react to Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe for including SOME fatalities (The Joker has one where he shoots the other player in the head offscreen)…

    I can see it now:

    Jack Thompson: "Midway games has done it again in releasing a clearly "M" rated game to children by slapping comic books characters on the cover and in the game’s content. The trailer shows DC comics character Batman exchanging blows with Subzero and then ripping out his spine and using it as a toothbrush. Midway games should be held accountable for everyone with cronic back problems, or I will send more pointless letters to your company head and make myself look more insane than I already am."

    Midway: "… what are you talking about? the DC superheros don’t HAVE fatalies, and the game’s being toned down for a "T" rating. Are you high or Just stupid?"

    Jack Thompson: "I’m not high. I’m the greatest anti-videogamer lawyer in the world."

    Midway: "Riiiiight…"

     

    -Cougar Leon, The Werecat

  54. 0
    elal says:

    @everyone who’s been mentioning the disbarrment
    The rest of the world wont know that. It’s not like JACK is going to tell them, unless it’s to "prove" a supposed conspiracy. I see you guys point though.

    Here at GP, we all know he’s a joke, but it’s not funny anymore. It’s just plain sad. He feeds off of attention and the best way to punish a powerless attention-whore is to ignore him. We should, from now on, never mention the attention-whore by name. Or maybe keep all his rantings in a category, but not appear on the front page.

  55. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    call upon the FTC to act today to end this fraudulent, illegal charade by the ESRB. If there is to be “truth in advertising” then game advertising must accurately reflect what is in the games sold. ”

    …..yeeeaaahh….. um.. mr thompson, did u miss the big RATED M FOR MATURE part in the adverts??

    Ill give you a hint.

    The clue was there.

  56. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    yeah he sounds like a 5 year old.

     

    kid 1: " do you know what poo poo head means?’

    kid 2(clueless): " YEAH, course i do, its a poo poo head".

    i mean.. that was probably a little too intellectual a comparison to DisbarredGuy, but you can see my point.

     

    goes with his whole 5 year old,  *fingers in ears* ” La La La, I CANT HEAR YOU!, SO ITS NOT HAPPENING" attitude to his epic losses over the last few years.

  57. 0
    GrimCW says:

    wheres the letter to tell them to stop airing movie and TV trailers that don’t show the true nature of the movie/show?

    i don’t recall much in the way of gore shown in the texas chainsaw massacre tv spots, or for the doom movie, SAW, Silence of the Lambs, etc….

     

    oh thats right, they tried that stuff in the 80’s… and it FAILED, just as every case JT has tried to pull in almost his entire carreer.

    i’d like to see him try and go after the FTC. he’s a disbarred lawyer who’s word is like that of a convict who’s track record would argue against his claims of recent crimes not being his own.

    judges and jury’s will take history like that into account, and JT’s word doesn’t mean anything anymore after his loss of license, and the marring effect it’ll forever have on his carreer. (and possible sadly his wife’s as well :/ speaking of her, how can he complain when marshalls knock on his door as she’s recovering, but he himself runs self inflicted crusades half across the country at any given time… makes one wonder a few things right there… i won’t mention what, so let your imaginations run wild. Hope she’s recovering(ed?) well though either way…)

    its just common etiqutte to censor the previews, but at the end of every preview, GAMES INCLUDED, the rating is shown as whatever the media format has gotten for its stuff.

    M for games, and R for movies (U.S.A anywho) and usualy they also include reasons (nudity, sexual content, violence, etc…)

    besides that, most game trailers DO show a LOT of violence and such, i mean cripes the Gears  2trailers only show a massive battle and a locust being used as a meat shield.

  58. 0
    Doomsong says:

    So is JT like some weird sort of vampire who gets nourishment off of minor media coverage? I ask this because it’s obvious that he doesn’t get it from being relevant… or he’d have starved to death already.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" – Benjamin Franklin

  59. 0
    Mechadon says:

    Jack Thompson, you are so full of shit. Nobody is trying to hide anything. Anyone at any time can use the internet to look up Fallout 3 and learn what content is in the game. Or how about being familiar with the series? If you know Fallout by name, you already know what you’re in for.

    If they hadn’t pulled the trailer, you would still be jumping all over it because of the viloence depicted.

    Seriously, Jack, you need to show me the store where you got the balls to be a total dickwad.

  60. 0
    HarmlessBunny says:

    I can just imagine the reaction to the person he wrote that too:

    "For god’s sake we have another holier than thou idiot member of the PTA, just toss this in the garbage. Why would some moron threat us?"

    The game is rated M, they yanked the trailers to make sure that over sensitive people don’t get offended. You would think Jack, the moron crackpot that he is, would actually be thankful. Ah well, another annoying old fart writing letters that they don’t like the "vidja game commercials because they take up my ‘The Price is Right’ time! Shame on you kids!"

    Score none for the idiotic ex-lawyer

  61. 0
    mogbert says:

    As many other people on here, I will point out a simple mistake of logic J-boy has made.

    When you are playing the game, you have bought it. One would assume that you saw the cover of the game when you bought it, and thus were warned of the violence inside (it’s that large black and white block, can’t miss it). Actually, one could assume that if you are forking over $60, you know what you are paying for, but that is neither here nor there. However, in an ad, you didn’t agree to anything. You could be watching Samurai Pizza Cats and then see someone’s head blown off, which has little to do with Saurai’s, Pizza, or even Cats. That is why comercials and trailers are usually trimed down to not include any controvercial material.

    See, that is why trailers for movies are also rated. Before the trailer starts in the theater, it states "The following previews have been rated _". It is usually a G or a PG. I wouldn’t go to the theater and watch Care Bares and the Secret of Carealot and expect to see an R rated trailer for Hostel V: We’ll Leave the Lights on For You. Such could cause complaints.

    That is why the violent comercial was asked to be pulled. Becaue the people watching it might not have been warned about it’s rating, and you shouldn’t have to change the channel on TV to avoid graphic ads. Also, the ESRB wasn’t the one that pulled it. They asked the publisher to pull it. The publisher complied.

    Also, since a trailer doesn’t claim to accurately portray every even in the game, it is not required to show that the game is violent. Some of the Fallout 3 trailers just showed old time music playing and as the scene zoomed out you saw the area was a bombed out wasteland. Funny, it didn’t portray the game at all, and you aren’t complaining about that trailer. At this point you are beginning to show your true colors, chomping at the bit for anything you can complain about. Oh how the pathetic have fallen… even further.

    So, J-boy, like in life and in court, in this too, you fail.

  62. 0
    Liekos says:

    I don’t get it.

    Fallout 3 is rated M for Mature (17+).

    The trailers were likely yanked because they were displaying M content to a wide audience.  Sounds like Bethesda wanted to take the sensible approach likely to avoid controversy and pull those trailers based on the rating, to avoid offending people like JT.

    But JT is complaining that they were yanked?  Why?  He is vehemently against violence in games, and this company has tried to limit the showing of Mature content to a Mature audience.  Bethesda isn’t ‘hiding’ anything, the game is still rated M.

    Why are you not praising Bethesda for this JT?  Or is it that you want Video Game companies to actively advertise violence to children merely so that you feel justified in attacking someone?

  63. 0
    Freyar says:

    I am currently re-reading the letter. I didn’t like the pull-dwn orders of the Fallout 3 trailer, I’d much rather it be advertised as it is. That said, I wish Jack would stop writing as if he had an entitlement, or as if he is the police force. It’s as if he’s some sort of backseat moderator that drives everyone up the wall. Only this time, he’s been banned from being a trusted "World Forum Poster".

    —- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians. http://www.goteamretard.com

  64. 0
    Erik says:

    What does him being disbarred have to do with anything?  He was just as much a "threat" now as he was before his disbarment.  Tht being laughably none.  And him being disbarred doesn’t make any of his failuers any less amsuing.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  65. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    2. Violence

    *            violence –     Graphic and/or excessive depictions of violence

    Gee.. do you think ..

    how is that a definition… thats like saying  ‘ a definition of violence.. yeah.. well its…. err..  well.. violence…… you dummy.. dont you know anything. ‘

  66. 0
    Capgun says:

    Ugh. I never thought I’d be saying this, But can we start ignoring this guy’s rantings now? Whereas he used to be a threat, now he’s just annoying.

  67. 0
    Spartan says:

    Pure awesome sauce! 

    ——————————————-

    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  68. 0
    VeteranFootman says:

    "Every company that makes a game is evil in JT’s eyes…."

    Fixed. Remember, he went after a fast food restaurant because they sold MARIO toys…

  69. 0
    sortableturnip says:

    Every company that makes a mature rated game is evil in JT’s eyes….

    "It’s the devil’s work!"

    Meanwhile, his rants are free advertising for the game…

  70. 0
    Gabriel Celesta says:

    What… is your name?

    "Jack Thompson."

    What… is your quest?

    "I seek the death of the video game industry…" (insert hours and hours of BS about murder simulators, school shootings, evil conspiracies, brain scans, direct causal links, 60 Minutes, his book, etc., etc., etc., etc…) "HOOAH!"

    What… is your favorite color?

    "Blue.

    "No — YELLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWW…….."

  71. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

    He’s actually mad that the "violence-inducing" trailers were recalled. Of course, he’d have sent the [almost] exact same letter, had the trailers stayed.

    No, I didn’t expect Jack to disappear. In fact, stuff like this was exactly what I expected (maybe even less than I expected). But this time, he’s got no one to listen to him. He’s a wild dog, barking in a cage. Harmless from this distance.

  72. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    Publishers are welcome to not have their game rated.  They are then free to run any ad they want.

    Of course, none of the consoles will license an unrated game so…

     

    Andrew Eisen

  73. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Its all part of the contract. In return for allowing the publisher/developer use their rating symbol on their packaging and advertising, the publisher/developer agree to follow certain advertising guidelines. The publisher/developer are well aware of those guidelines when they get their game rated.

    If they don’t like the guidelines, they can choose not to have their game rated and thus not be obligated to follow them.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091


    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  74. 0
    AuntySocial says:

    or I will…..

    what, harrass their mothers? 

    The only thing I can see JTroll wading in is a hog-waste lagoon.

     

     

    Insanity has its toll. Please have exact change.

  75. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    I bet is it just killing him not ot be able to slap "Attorney" at the end of his letters and think it will get it read. His hand was likely shaking as he resisted the urge to add that.


  76. 0
    DavCube says:

    I ask you a simple question: WHY. DO. YOU. CARE?!

    You’re NOT being forced to read any specific article here, Dennis is NOT gaining or losing anything from posting it or not posting it, and for crying out loud, he posts half a dozen articles A DAY. JUST SKIP IT.

    GAWD.

  77. 0
    Zerodash says:

    This is just stupid.  WHO CARES ABOUT A LETTER JACK THOMPSON SENT?  God Damn it, people send letters to the FCC, FTC, FBI, etx EVERY DAY.  Jack Thompson is now a NOBODY. 

    How about the next time I write a letter to a government body (and I have), I get a story on GP.  After all, I have as much to do with the games industry and the law as Jack Thompson does now…

  78. 0
    Mattsworkname says:

    You know jack, this is about the point where any rational human being would have backed off. I mean, going against the video game industry got you disbarred. You really thing it’s good to taunt the army of lawyers now that your legally not able to practice law in florida? 

    As for fallout 3, it’s not nearly as bad as most people think. The worst part about the game isn’t the violence, no no. It’s the fact that it’s riddled with bugs. some of which make the game nearly unplayable.

    Wish someone would run a story on that some time soon. Still, it is funny to watch jacks flailing about like an idiot.

    "Good,bad, I’m the guy with the GUN" Bruce cambell as ash, Army of darkness.

  79. 0
    GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Because everyone gives a shit what Disbarredguy says. And just a little note: In a comercial, you don’t need to show every piece of objectionable content. That’s what the "RATED M FOR MATURE" bit is all about.

     

    -Remember kids, personal responsibility is for losers! -The Buck Stops Here. -Thou Shall Not Teamkill, Asshole.

  80. 0
    Overcast says:

    "including slow motion exploding of heads."

    Kinda like what happens when you read ol’ JT’s rantings.

    Sorry JT, I know exactly what I’m buying, and it’s still not as ‘graphic’ as Hollywood seeks to be. Heck, Hollywood goes out of it’s way to make some of these movies as gory as possible.

  81. 0
    Leet Gamer Jargon says:

    Wait a minute.  If the advertising for Fallout 3 is to be truthful and accurate it MUST reveal the endemic and high levels in the game of blood and gore, the graphic and violent use of weapons, and the graphic depictions of violence!

    No, it doesn’t, you retard. Look at the bus’ transistor radio/Brotherhood of Steel trailer. It doesn’t depict the gratuitous amounts of blood and gore, but it’s still relevant advertising. It even states that it’s "M for Mature"; the announcer in the commercial says it himself. That (plus the weapon the soldier is brandishing) should be enough to tell whoever is watching the trailer/commercial that this game is not for kids…..Ya damned idjit.

    The current uproar over Fallout 3…

    Huh? What current uproar? You mean that joyous refrain from gamers to Bethesda for releasing such an excellent game?

    The current uproar over Fallout 3 and the above examination of its two totally contradictory sets of Principles and Guidelines prove that the ESRB is simply a video game  industry that is fraudulently facilitating the sale of inappropriate interactive sex and violence to minors in violation of federal and state RICO and Fraudulent and Deceptive Trade Practices laws.

    …Uhhgghh…Nnngh…My head..spinning…How the hell does he come up with this stuff? Jack, if you’re reading this, what’s the number of your local pharmacist? Because I’d really like to know where I can find a drug that could make one so delusional.

    Oh, God…After trying to comprehend that kind of logic…I think my nose is bleeding.

    EDIT:

    I call upon the FTC to act today to end this fraudulent, illegal charade by the ESRB. If there is to be “truth in advertising” then game advertising must accurately reflect what is in the games sold.

    Bethesda’s only sin was that it advertised truthfully what its game Fallout 3 is all about. The ESRB’s idiotic but telling response has fashioned a noose that I expect either the FTC or Congress to slip around the ESRB’s neck. Please do so. If you don’t, I shall.
    Regards, Jack Thompson 

     

    Mr. Thompson, you really shouldn’t make threats like that; it could get you in some REAL deep shit. Watch yourself.

    Game on, brothers and sisters.

  82. 0
    sortableturnip says:

    Jack’s more like the black knight in Monty Python’s the Holy Grail…

    "Come back here you yellow belly bastards!!!  I’ll bite your legs off!!!!"

  83. 0
    Conejo says:

    from now on, i declare all of Thompsons "or i will" statements to be obvious threats full of malice and obvious intents of harm towards persons other than himself.

    Jack Thompson just threatened to hang Patricia Vance.

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  84. 0
    Mnementh2230 says:

    "The current uproar over Fallout 3 and the above examination of its two totally contradictory sets of Principles and Guidelines prove that the ESRB is simply a video game  industry that is fraudulently facilitating the sale of inappropriate interactive sex and violence to minors in violation of federal and state RICO and Fraudulent and Deceptive Trade Practices laws."

     

    As far as I know, there’s no real uproar over the game.  It’s labeled as "mature", and as such should really only be played by adults.  If parents are getting it for their kids, or if kids are playing it , the parents are to blame.  The ESRB rating is still accurate.

    Further, principles 1 and 4 are not mutually exclusive.  You can allude to a lot of violence without showing it.  You can show some violence without being extremely graphic.  by doing this, you satisfy both requirements – the ads are truthful, and yet not likely to offend most people.  The fact that JT doesn’t have the imagination required to figure this out is not a stunning revelation.

  85. 0
    transformergirl says:

    …huh? I’m confused…I thought he’d be glad an ad like this had been pulled (you know, stopping the word about a violent videogame). Now he’s complaining about it?

  86. 0
    ConnorM5 says:

    Can you imagine this guy trying to explain it to you in person? It’d be a lot of "Okay, stay with me here…" and "SO if you think of it like THIS…". And probably a little bit of "Am I right or what?" thrown in for good measure.

  87. 0
    Zevorick says:

    Video games show violence in their trailors:

    JT"It’s a god awful game. That murder simulator is using violence in their trailors to make money! They’re evil!"
     

    Video game does not show violence in their trailor:

    JT "Video games are trying to cloak their murder simulators to make money! They’re evil!"

     

    Nothing to see here… move along.

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