You knew it was coming. So I'll spare the lengthy story and just start with the quotes from the train-wreck that is Jack Thompson, Attorney at Law. Identifying numbers and addresses have been blanked out. These documents were kindly provided by Jack himself to Trusted Reviews and Bit-tech.
Subject: Bully will never be released
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
New York, New York
C/o Blank Rome
S. Robson Walton, Chairman
Via Fax to XXX-XXX-XXXX
Dear Mr. Eibeler, Take-Two Directors, and Mr. Walton:
Take-Two has until five o’clock p.m., Eastern time, Monday, August 14, 2006, to inform me in writing that it will forthwith provide me with a copy of Bully so that I and others can analyze it to determine whether it still poses a threat of copycat violence in our schools (See Miami-Dade School Board’s unanimous Resolution), or the following will occur:
I shall file a lawsuit against your respective companies to stop the game’s October 1 release.
Regards, Jack Thompson
Jack Thompson, Attorney
Land line: XXX-XXX-XXXX, Cell: XXX-XXX-XXXX
XXXX South Dixie Hwy, Suite XXX
Coral Gables, FL USA XXXXX
Highlights from the 40-point suit:
- 3. Respondent Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (hereinafter Take-Two), is a foreign corporation doing business in the State of Florida by virtue of a) its distribution and sale of millions of units of its video games in the State of Florida, most notably the hyperviolent Grand Theft Auto franchise of video games linked to numerous killings around the country,
"Facts" (the quotes are appropos here):
- 10. Bully is a video game that will allow the player to rehearse violence upon his classmates and teachers in retribution for their bullying. This is the unfortunate scenario known to have occurred in violent school incidents known as “Columbine,” “Paducah,” “Jonesboro,” and may others. The role of violent video game play in training the perpetrators in these and other incidents, including the school massacre in Efurt, Germany, and at Columbine is well known.
The Bully game will also train school-age kids how to become bullies after themselves being bullied.
- 13. Bully was supposed to be released to the public in the summer of 2005. However, Take-Two became embroiled in a public relations nightmare beginning in June 2005. Specifically, Take-Two embedded in its Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA: SA) game, which is actually a murder simulator in which the virtual player can kill police officers, prostitutes, and innocent bystanders, interactive graphic sex in what came to be known as the “Hot Coffee mod.” Take-Two was selling this game to children despite the embedded adult content, and it knew that children were accessing it.
- 20. Take-Two now, in the aftermath of its “Hot Coffee” and other corporate scandals, apparently believes the public relations “coast is clear” for the release of Bully on October 1, 2006. Take-Two is allowing fawning media favorable to it and to the video game industry’s violent products to play Bully and to pronounce it harmless and safe for kids of all ages. Many of these “reviews” are in publications that receive ad revenue from Take-Two. These orchestrated “reviews” of Bully are now being published, thereby assuring parents “not to worry.”
- 21. Take-Two is fraudulently and deceptively marketing this game not only because it desperately needs the cash from the sale of this controversial game, whose release has been delayed for over a year in large part because of the efforts of the undersigned petitioner, but also because controversy still swirls about the Bully game, and Take-Two is Hell-bent to defuse it.
- 29. Florida Congressman Jeff Stearns, who recently chaired hearings in the United States House of Representatives, discovered how thoroughly flawed the video game rating system is, as the ESRB is actually paid for and operated, in effect, by the video game industry itself. This is a classic case of the fox guarding the chickens. Congressman Stearns has now introduced to Congress a Bill called the “Truth in Video Game Ratings Act” largely because of the illicit collaboration between the ESRB and Take-Two.
- 30. That collaboration between the ESRB and Take-Two impacts the fraudulent and deceptive marketing and release of Bully, as the ESRB now refuses to release its rating of Bully. Is it a “Mature” game not appropriate for anyone under 17 or is it a “Teen” game sold to everyone? The ESRB refuses to say and appears to be withholding from the public the rating of the game in order to quell controversy for its corporate collaborator, Take-Two.
- 37. If Bully is indeed safe for children’s play, then petitioner will be the first to say so. If it is not, then not only will the underlying action be brought sounding in Florida nuisance law, but also possibly in fraud.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, straight from the documents themselves. To be fair to Jack, I stress again that these are the "highlights" of it...we'll post a link to the full PDF when the (pretty much inevitable) suit is officially filed.
I could put my usual editorial comments in here, but I'd rather just hear what you guys have to say on the matter. So head on into the forums
and let us know.