Penn Jillette Argues Against RapeLay Ban

Penn Jillette has weighed in on the controversy over Japanese PC game RapeLay in a YouTube video.

The comedian argues against banning such games:

Prosecuting thought crimes is wrong…

 

[Critics’] complaint is that this game normalizes sexual violence. I think that blaming a video game for rape is normalizing violent sexual behavior. What that says is that we are all rapists and that rape is just under the surface of us and all we need is a video game to just push us a little way.

 

What blaming the video game does is it shows compassion for the rapist. It shows understanding. At some level, in some small amount, it says, "It’s not really the rapist’s fault; it’s society’s fault for putting this stuff out here." And I think that the rapist deserves no understanding and no compassion whatsoever.

GP: Thanks to GamePolitics reader Thomas McKenna for alerting us to the video…

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55 comments

  1. 0
    Father Time says:

    I know you’re not likely to read this but, ZING!

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    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  2. 0
    Father Time says:

    Well he’s got a show and a magic act still, but other than that … not too much.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  3. 0
    Father Time says:

    Penn says is his vblog … sort of. He’s done ones about shooting BS.

    Anyway the video game one airs July 9.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  4. 0
    MrKlorox says:

    Has the Videogame violence episode of Bullshit aired yet? If not, it must have already finished production since Penn is voicing his opinion now instead of covering it in his show.

  5. 0
    Father Time says:

    Oy Gp I sent you an e-mail about this when it came out, did you not get it or something?

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  6. 0
    Kajex says:

    Indeed. A video game neither supplies the reason to go on a shooting spree, nor the guns and ammo needed to carry it out, nor does it sap the process of rational thought- it’s only capable of conveying an idea.

  7. 0
    JustChris says:

    What that says is that we are all rapists and that rape is just under the surface of us and all we need is a video game to just push us a little way.

    That’s a good point. Anti-gaming politicians and other public figures often portray gamers as potential power kegs waiting to explode with a few well-placed sparks.

    We are actually close in common grounds with these politicians, in the agreement that mental instability is a big factor for committing violent or devious acts. Our agreements only go in opposite directions when they say videogames are a cause to mental instability, while we say it’s a supplement.

  8. 0
    Aurontsubaki says:

    Penn has a really good point there and I’m going to agree with him on it. I don’t think it is necessary to ban the game, the best suggestion is just ship it into the porn & hentai stores only.

    What we got here is failure to communicate!

  9. 0
    thefremen says:

     I’ll take "the rapist" for 500 alex.

     

    Old SNL skit…Anyways eh’s a pretty insightful dude. Eh comments on all sorts of stuff and doesn’t afraid of anything.

  10. 0
    Yellowchposticks says:

    It’s porn (hentai), not a game.  Is the hentai industry sanctioning non-humans with multiple appendages of various functions having free reign over schoolgirls?  Or should we start xenophobic prosecution of all things tentacle-y just cause that’s how they’ve been portrayed? 

  11. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    Even if we ignored the US Constitution and applied only the text of the law in question, it still wouldn’t mean that virtual child pornography is illegal, since it’s possible for some such material to have sufficient value as to remain beyond the reach of the letter of the law.

    If we don’t ignore the US Constitution, the legality of an act ultimately depends on who you ask. While governments will often act as if particular unconstitutional laws are valid simply for being newly approved by legislatures, the fact is that binding precedent applies even to new laws, and it’s only a matter of time until the courts address the issue — usually in a manner consistent with precedent.

  12. 0
    AbsumZero says:

    For something to be illegal it simply needs to be in violation of a law. A law doesn’t need to be constitutionally sound to be violated, and the law hasn’t been stricken or amended yet.

  13. 0
    AbsumZero says:

    The Miller Test would be applicable if it were being argued that the material was obscene but, as I’ve repeatedly said, according to the law the material need only fail that one prong of the Miller test. It was worded specifically to avoid the same standards that would need to be applied to photographic pornography, including the definition of "community" when dealing with the internet. You’re right, it would likely fail in SCOTUS, and the part requiring that the material fail the SLAPS test has already been ruled unconstitutional by a District Judge in Iowa in the Christopher Handley case. However, it still remains on the books as written. I’m not arguing for the constitutionality of the law and whether it would be upheld, I’m simply stating that according to the law, as it currently exists, a depiction involving minors needn’t have the full Miller Test applied to be found in violation of the law. On that same note most obscenity cases over the past few years have ended with the defendants eventually giving-up and pleading guilty in order to avoid further trial so, in practice, whether the law would survive SCOTUS isn’t all that comforting unless you’re incredibly rich and can afford a protracted decade-long legal battle.

  14. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    The Miller Test applies regardless of whether the law makes any reference to obscenity in its text. That’s because the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights protects those forms of speech that are not considered obscene. The government is free to pass laws that attempt to regulate non-obscene speech, but such laws would not survive legal scrutiny unless SCOTUS were to change long-standing precedent concerning obscenity and the First Amendment.

  15. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    The Miller test is binding precedent. The law can say whatever it wants, but unless the Supreme Court overturns that precedent any language in that law that is inconsistent with the Miller decision will simply be declared unconstitutional.

    In any case, I’m not convinced it’s true that "18 U.S.C. §1466A only requires that the material fail that one part of the Miller Test to be deemed illegal". The Miller test asks:

    "- Whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,
    – Whether the work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions[2] specifically defined by applicable state law,
    – Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. (This is also known as the (S)LAPS test- [Serious] Literary, Artistic, Political, Scientific.)"

    It seems to me a work that depicts "graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex" is a work that depicts "sexual conduct … specifically defined by applicable law", which satisfies the second part of the Miller test (provided it’s also patently offensive), and depending on the community may very well satisfy the first part of the test as well. Any case that didn’t satisfy those criteria would likely fail in SCOTUS, unless SCOTUS were ultimately to overturn itself.

  16. 0
    AbsumZero says:

    Yes, it is one of the criteria by which speech is deemed obscene, but as worded it’s the only criteria necessary to make it a violation of the law. The law DOES NOT require that the material be deemed obscene. Note the the use of the word "or", not the word "and".

    -depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene, or

    -depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, and such depiction lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

    You could always argue that a video game about raping people somehow does have "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value" but 18 U.S.C. §1466A only requires that the material fail that one part of the Miller Test to be deemed illegal. Again, it does not need to be deemed obscene to be a violation of the law.

  17. 0
    chadachada321 says:

    unconstitutionally illegal* fixed it for ya. No one has the right to say that a drawing or animation of a child is in any way worse than a drawing or animation of an adult, or in any way equivalent to child abuse.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  18. 0
    Father Time says:

    Although protecting virtual baby seals in WOW may be something PETA is planning.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  19. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    Lacking in serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value is one of the criteria by which speech is deemed obscene. Virtual child pornography that is not obscene is just as legal as ever.

  20. 0
    AbsumZero says:

    Actually, Federal Law 18 U.S.C. 1466A – Obscene Visual Representations of the Sexual Abuse of Children – specfically makes it a crime to produce, distribute, receive, or possess a pornographic "visual depiction of any kind" involving minors if it can be deemed obscene OR simply "lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value". "Visual depiction of any kind" pretty much covers video game characters as well.

  21. 0
    Wormdundee says:

    I have a feeling obscenity wouldn’t apply to this. But, in my opinion, obscenity laws are ridiculous anyway. What’s the reasoning behind something being illegal because it’s ‘obscene’. Noone is forced to buy these things, and noone is hurt in the production of it, what’s the problem?

    I am highly against legislating morality.

  22. 0
    zel says:

    child protection for virtual children? lol wheres the damn murder protection for everyone i killed in all the FPSs i play? protection of non-living entities is bullshit, it would be like protecting virtual baby seals in WoW.

    ————————————

    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  23. 0
    Adrian Lopez says:

    Like I said in a different thread, the game is not necessarily obscene, and if it’s not obscene then it cannot be illegal speech under federal law. Child protection statutes are irrelevant with regard to virtual minors. They would only apply if the game were being sold to minors, which would indeed be illegal.

  24. 0
    Neeneko says:

    An AO rating would not do the trick for RapeLay.

    The game falls under child protection and obsenity statutes, thus is it magicly excluded from 1st ammendment protections and is, in fact, illegal under federal law.

  25. 0
    Kajex says:

    Hey man- I played The Pitt DLC for Fallout 3, and the primary issues at hand in the content was slavery and child-kidnap. It provided me tough moral decisions that were fake, sure, but it made me think. Rapelay isn’t like that in that it doesn’t make for serious discussion, but the idea is still offensive to alot of people, and the concept in itself is still terrible.

    Regardless, the issue is being made that the game provides a catalyst which ultimately may (not will, but just might) lead to rape. The idea that a rapist needs material to invoke action BASED on the material has already been debunked- you need more than just a package to make take that action, you need to be seriously fucked up to consider it. However bad the game might seem, it’s not truly hurting anybody- saying that it’s the cause of one’s actions is like saying a person can’t be held accountable for the mistakes they made in their life, that their punishment shouldn’t fit the crime because "x forced them to".

  26. 0
    PHOENIXZERO says:

    Why would it get an AO rating when it’s not being commercially sold in North America? Nor do porn games that are made available in North America get reviewed/rated by the ESRB. There are already laws regarding pornography that would make an AO rating, if for some reason publishers decided to submit it, absolutely redundant..

  27. 0
    Father Time says:

    Sheesh how many anime haters are there, I’ve never seen someone even joke about banning anime.

    Perhaps they’re just rabid anime-hater who don’t plan on following through with the whole ban anime thing.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  28. 0
    mdo7 says:

     

    mikedo2007

     

     

    Nice to see this guy giving a rant about not banning the Rapelay game.

     

    Cue the anime haters saying he part of the anime industry and tell them he’s no longer credible in 3…2…1

     

     

  29. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:


     


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..


    http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com

  30. 0
    lumi says:

    The fact that some politician might’ve dug it up from the grave to grab votes doesn’t change the fact that certain activist groups who are just becoming aware of it may start clamoring for a ban, or for some kind of censorship.  It doesn’t even matter that, since it’s not being released commercially in NA, they couldn’t ban it.

    What matters is the precedent it can set.  If a loud activist group can jump on the politician’s vote-train and start demonizing it, claiming that it should not be, and that argument isn’t addressed, it becomes a precedent for future situations where it may very well matter.

    Saying that he believes it shouldn’t be banned isn’t as important as saying he believes that the alleged justification that some people would use to ban this game or others like it is invalid.  That’s the true value of his words – they defend future games that may need such support by invalidating the attack happening now.

  31. 0
    Notebook says:

    Actually it’s not that.

    He’s right that this game shouldn’t be banned. I’ve said time and again I don’t think the game should be banned either or thought-crimes should be banned, that’s not the problem I’m having.

    The problem I’m having with all of this everyone is thinking that this game is under some kind of threat of worldwide ban when that was never the case. I’m tired of people acting like there’s some victim him when there’s been none. All this talk of "banning" is just a bunch of politicians trying to win over some votes. I have seen no one question the fact on why someone would make a big deal ove a game that’s been released for years. NO ONE. Why is that? What possible motive could any politician have to bring up an old game OTHER than to get votes? Perhaps I’m just a bit too cynical, but I doubt they’re looking out for the children.

    Maybe it’s not that I’m worried about–it’s the fact that thanks to these selfish asshats more and more "enlightened gamers" are going to have more "ammo" to throw around the "onoes teh politikal kkorretcness police!!!!1" card whenever someone brings up an actual legimate criticism over games like these. It’s bad enough that you can’t bring up the fact that certain games may be sexist without being accused of censorship. This is only going to make things worse, and honestly, the only way gaming is going to go forward is if we bring up uncomfortable topics like sexism, racism, and other things and actually discuss them instead of bringing up the same old replies that I’ve seen thrown around repeatedly over the years by gamers.

    No, the game should not be banned. We know that already. And quite honestly, I seriously doubt other "rape games" [believe or not it’s a horribly vague term] will be banned in Japan. Now let’s actually discuss how this particular game can have an impact socially, and that does not mean whether we can safely say this game is offensive or not like some kind of checkbox. I was hoping that someone like Penn would notice that but I guess not.

  32. 0
    Kajex says:

    Lighten up. Go rent a taping of one of Penn and Teller’s magic shows, you’ll feel better.

    Sounds like you got a beef because you think he doesn’t have a good grasp on the details. (Which? The issue is pretty fucking broad).

  33. 0
    Notebook says:

     Okay, so he has an opinion [THAT CANNOT BE WRONG BECAUSE THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A COMPLETELY WRONG OPINION AMIRITE] based on misinformation he got from some people who don’t even know anything about the situation at hand.

    There, happy?

  34. 0
    BearDogg-X says:

    Teller doesn’t have to say anything.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.


    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)

  35. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

    This one’s tough. He definitely makes some good points. It’s totally a love-hate thing with Rapelay. I think the game’s sick, but is it right to ban? It definitely needs an AO rating, I hope no one wants to play it, but they need to be able to make that choice, not forced.

  36. 0
    Kajex says:

    He’s making it clear that his stance on rape is that it’s terrible, and it is a crime. I like his point- it’s articulated well enough, he provides solid examples of it so that both sides of the argument can see his hand clearly.

    Heads up for July 9th, btw.

  37. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    You gotta love somebody who will defend the indefensible even outside the internet’s cloak of anonymity.  You tell ’em, Penn.  Thoughts are not crimes and never should be.

  38. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Frankly, I have to agree with Penn. His position is something that has been expressed by many readers of this site.

    By blaming violent crime on the criminal playing a game about it, you are marginalizing/normalizing the crime. If we want to stop violent crime, we need to start holing the person who committed the crime personally responsible and stop trying to find some kind of scapegoat to blame the behavior on.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma


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

  39. 0
    Moriarty70 says:

    "Who could ever support this game? I thought for a while and said me."

    What’s the key word in that statment he made? Right, he THOUGHT. That’s why I love Penn, he was raised to look at something and form an opinion. Not just the opinion one side or the other throws at him, but his own.

  40. 0
    PHX Corp says:

    Well He came out swinging against the ban, anyone expect that to happen, he’s a total libertarian that supports our views

    Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

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