Did outspoken video game critic and frequent litigator Jack Thompson really say that?
Apparently, yes. In an interview posted on Ziff-Davis' 1up site, journalist Marc Saltzman mentioned to Thompson, "You once compared Doug Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association, to Saddam Hussein."
Never one to pull his punches, Thompson replied, "If I did, I want to apologize to Saddam Hussein. Doug is a propagandist to whom the facts don't matter. He's paid to lie and he does it very well."
It's not the first time Thompson has linked Lowenstein and the deposed Iraqi dictator. In 2004 Thompson was quoted to the effect that "Doug Lowenstein makes Saddam Hussein look like a post-reformed Pinocchio." Pardon us, but what the hell is a "post-reformed Pinocchio?" Thompson has also, apparently, likened the ESA head to other disreputable historical figures in interviews.
So, is there a slander suit coming? So far GamePolitics has received no reaction from Doug Lowenstein or the ESA. There is a troubling report floating around, however, that the ESA successfully pressured at least one very large news organization to chop Thompson's more outrageous characterizations of Lowenstein from their coverage. Why shoot the messenger?
In any case, the 1up interview is worth checking out. There are, of course, Thompson's usual tough guy rants, things like, "You wise guys who think you're so clever about saying what kids ought to play and then putting [Mature] games in the hands of those kids, you will wish you listened to me." But there is also plenty of reasoned commentary on game issues from Dr. Henry Jenkins, Director of Comparative Media Studies at M.I.T., and co-editor of From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games.