Although anti-game activist Jack Thompson's latest campaign to pass video game legislation in Utah got off to a fast start, it is ending both unsuccessfully and with rancor.
In the latest development, GamePolitics has learned that Rep. Mike Morley (R), the Utah House sponsor of the Thompson-authored HB 353, circulated an e-mail to his legislative colleagues last week in which he apologized for Thompson's behavior.
Morley's apology came in response to the flap caused by an Easter Sunday e-mail sent by Thompson to numerous Utah legislators. The e-mail, which ultimately prompted State Sen. President Michael Waddoups (R) to threaten Thompson with prosecution, depicted GTA IV 's Nico Bellic receiving a lap dance from a pair of strippers. Thompson also included links to videos of graphic GTA IV content.
Here is Morley's e-mail:
Subject: My apologies for Jack Thompson
Dear Fellow House Members:
Over the past few days, I have received three emails from Jack Thompson regarding his concerns about mature video games being sold to minors. Certainly, I am concerned about the graphic violence and sexuality of some of the mature video games, I am apalled by his use of what I view as pornographic images. I want to make it clear that I had no previous knowledge of his intention to send the images and I apologize to each of you who received his email and were offended as I was.
Mr. Thompson is a nation [sic] advocate for this cause, but he doesn't speak for me nor do I condone or appreciate his actions nor some his tactics.
When asked for comment by GamePolitics, Thompson said that he hadn't seen Morley's e-mail and "couldn't care less." Within minutes, however, he fired off an e-mail of his own to Utah largely conservative legislators:
I understand that Mike Morley apologized to you all for the shocking image I sent you of two women in bikinis in a strip club. Sorry, Utahns, but you can see that on a beach. To see more explicit material as to what is in the GTA IV game, you had to click on the two links I provided, and that was your choice. I warned you what you would see if you chose to do so.
Mike Morley's apology is ridiculous. I didn't scandalous [sic] anyone with an image of two clad women. What is really going on here is that I upset the Republican club that runs Utah, and those in that club are seizing upon this harmless image as a ruse to scold the outsider who unfortunately showed that some in Utah aren't serious about protecting children. Your Governor isn't serious, and we sure as heck know your AG is not. Heck, he takes money from the video game industry to say how well the ratings are working... Incredible.
The only apology that is owed is by each of you for not insisting upon an override session [of Gov. Huntsman's HB 353 veto]... Your family values stance is a sham.
GP: Pictured: Gov. Huntsman, Rep. Morley, Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka, Thompson.