The kissing boys in Rockstar’s Bully video game have caught the attention of right wing Christian watchdog Jack Thompson, an attorney who spends his time crusading against violence and obscenity in media and entertainment.
Thompson wrote a letter to Take-Two Interactive, the game’s maker: “It is my legal opinion that the sale of this game to minors, which is presently occurring at your stores in Florida, violates Florida’s “Sexual Material Harmful to Minors Statute”, Florida Statute 847.102. Each such sale to a minor constitutes a separate felony…I suggest strongly that all of you cease and desist all such sales in the United States immediately. Neither the game’s maker, Take-Two, nor the Entertainment Software Rating Board, told you of this homosexual content, which constitutes a fraudulent and deceptive trade practice, in my opinion, on their parts, and I have alerted the Federal Trade Commission to this.”
Thompson also wrote a letter to Entertainment Software Review Board president Patricia Vance that said:
“Dear Ms. Vance, We just found gay sexual content in Bully, as Jimmy Hopkins makes out with another male student. Good luck with your ‘Teen’ rating now, Patty.”
Unfortunately for Thompson, the ESRB had knowledge of the gay kisses before they assigned their rating, and “sexual themes” is clearly stated on the box.
Brenda Brathwaite, a professor at Savannah College of Art & Design and author of Sex in Video Games, commented to Reuters on the controversy and said, “gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgendered characters are ‘more and more the norm’ on television and that Rockstar is in the vanguard of game makers to include this type of content…It’s symbolic that the diversity that’s appearing in broader media is making its way to games in a way that’s not insulting or necessarily sensationalistic.”
According to gaming site Joystiq, Bully was the third-highest selling video game in the country last week.
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