Leland Yee is best known by gamers as a man who claimed that playing violent video games was harmful to children and attempted to pass legislation that would prevent them from buying such titles.
Yesterday, Leland Yee was arrested on charges of bribery and corruption. A 137-page affidavit accuses him of soliciting people for campaign donations in exchange for political favors and - I kid you not - attempting to broker a weapons deal between an arms dealing acquaintance of his and a man with admitted mob ties.
Interestingly, Yee is only the latest in a succession of moral crusaders who have turned out to be (or at least are accused of being) morally crooked. Most famously, former lawyer Jack Thompson made a career railing against what he considered indecent media only to be permanently disbarred on 27 counts of ethics violations.
Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich pushed for legislation similar to Yee's and for the same reasons. Also similar to Yee, he was arrested on charges of corruption.
Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer made a big stink about the more unsavory elements of games like Grand Theft Auto such as soliciting virtual prostitutes. Spitzer resigned after being outed having cheated on his wife with call girls.
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also bemoaned the moral depravity of violent video games and even signed Yee's 2005 game law. Turns out he cheated on his wife.
Former US Rep. Anthony Weiner didn't have nice things to say about violent games either. He was busted for texting pictures of his junk to various women. None were his wife.
So, here's the question of the week, GP readers: is Leland Yee's arrest going to negatively affect the credibility of future anti-video game pundits? Will anyone listen to them now? Was anyone listening to them in the first place? Or do scandals like these even matter? Are we doomed to hear about how harmful the games we've been enjoying for decades are until something new and scary to scapegoat comes along?
Vote in the poll and leave your comments below. EZK and I will discuss this topic on next week's podcast. We may even have a special guest!
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen