The man behind the Muslim Massacre controversy seems unwilling to relinquish his 15 minutes of fame. Although Eric Vaugh issued a widely-reported apology for his game, the object of which is "wipe out the Muslim race," he now claims that the apology was a scam.
We know because Super Columbine Massacre RPG creator Danny Ledonne, himself no stranger to controversy, has shared with GamePolitics an e-mail conversation with Vaughn which took place on September 15th:
Danny Ledonne: It is too bad that you pulled your game simply because some people didn't understand your political message (I for one gleaned a satirical criticism of Bush's foreign policy from "Muslim Massacre" whether you had intended it or not)... I believe by complying with demands of censorship toward the Danish cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad and games like "Muslim Massacre," we are enabling a culture of taboos that are ultimately unproductive in cross-cultural dialogue...
While I recognize my serious/satire game "Super Columbine Massacre RPG!" merely pissed off a vocal but benevolent PTA instead of Muslim extremists... it is disheartening whenever an artist (however amateur or vulgar) raises the white flag at the first sign of social disapproval...
Eric Vaughn: The apology was actually fake. I put the site back up shortly after. Now the media is in a total bind and doesn't know what to believe.I was just f***ing with everyone the entire time and have had great success.
[GP: Indeed, the Muslim Massacre site, which had been down, is back up]
Danny Ledonne: Erg. I get it. But I don't. I mean, you have an actual message ( I presume?) and I think you could legitimately stand behind it. Please don't tell me you're just another Ryan Lambourn... doing it for "the lulz." If I were you, I would define success as the opportunity to think more critically about the elements your game addresses...
Eric Vaughn: Not exactly, basically my message was the Muslims need to suck it down and stop getting offended by everything. If they learnt to just ignore people, things would be better. It's not just a message for Muslims, it's for people in general. There are people all around the world who will do things that make you mad. If you search for them, they are easy to find. Just get on with your life.
GP: Readers may recall that Ryan Lambourn, mentioned by Ledonne, created the execrable V-Tech Rampage last year (see: V-Tech Rampage Creator Demands Payment to Remove Game).
By the way, Playing Columbine, Danny Ledonne's film detailing the controversy surrounding his game, will be screened at the AFI FEST in Los Angeles later this year. We'll have review of the film coming up on GamePolitics in the near future.