The simmering controversy over anti-game crusader Jack Thompson's controversial $10,000 donation offer took an ugly turn this morning. The Miami attorney has tried to enlist the efforts of the Seattle Police Department in a dust-up with gamer website Penny Arcade.
In a letter faxed to Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske (left), Thompson says, in part, "A Seattle business by the name of Penny Arcade... employs certain personnel who have decided to commence and orchestrate criminal harassment of me by various means... This company has done this because I dared to go on CBS's 60 Minutes in March and again in July to explain a wrongful death lawsuit I have brought on behalf of two police officers and a police dispatcher in Fayette, Alabama, who were shot in the head and killed by Devin Moore who obsessively trained on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to kill them."
"As you may know, this incredibly violent Rockstar Games product is actually a 'cop-killing' murder simulator. There are a bunch of computer geeks out there who think that the video game industry has a constitutional right to paint a bullseye on your back and on your officers' backs... That is what this criminal harassment of me by Penny Arcade is all about. They're even selling an 'I Hate Jack Thompson' t-shirt, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. These idiots have been so careless as to post on their www.pennyarcade.com web site what they are doing regarding the harassment of me."
"I look forward to working with your fine Police Department to shut this little extortion factory down and/or arrest some of its employees."
This latest controversy is part and parcel to a complicated dispute over Thompson's bizarre offer to donate $10K to charity provided that a developer create and distribute a violent game of Thompson's specification in which the victims were industry executives and their families.
GP is seeking comment from the folks at Penny Arcade, but given the East Coast-West Coast time differential, it's likely they haven't even rolled into Starbucks yet. We'll add anything we hear from them. We'll also add any comment we are able to get from SPD, although Thompson's complaint wouldn't seem likely to be high on their priority list. And anyway, their investigation will surely be hindered by the fact that Thompson's letter provides the wrong URL for Penny Arcade.
By the way, the Penny Arcade case is not the first time the volatile attorney has tried to sic the gendarmes on a game site.
Can you say "chilling effect?"