February 14th, 2006

Sex Workers Protest Grand Theft Auto

Opposition to the Grand Theft Auto series makes strange bedfellows...

...like the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) and Dr. David Walsh of the National Institute on Media & Family (NIMF).

SWOP has a statement concerning GTA on its website, which reads, in part:

"...in the interest of furthering sex workers' human and civil rights to life and personal safety, we object to any media which represents sex workers as legitimate targets of violence, rape and murder. Censorship is a blight on the freedoms we hold dear but we wholeheartedly encourage citizens to vote with their dollars by refusing to purchase products which encourage the denigration and destruction of prostitutes. Since the video game Grand Theft Auto accrues points to players for the depiction of the rape and murder of prostitutes, SWOP-USA calls on all parents and all gamers to boycott Grand Theft Auto."

The SWOP statement cites a 2001 NIMF research report which, among other conclusions, says, "...(there is) a strong correlation between exposure to violent video games and various forms of antisocial behavior."

GP: If anyone has a right to be heard on this issue, it is the hookers themselves. Real-life prostitutes are often regarded as non-persons and have been frequently targeted by freaks and even serial killers.

Big thanks to GP reader Nature Leseul for alerting us to this story.

New Line Goes Down the Hot Coffee Road

So there's this videogame, and there's a scene where you control your character as he performs explicit sex acts with his significant other, and it's available online...

No, it's not the multiplayer version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It's the "adult" level from New Line Cinema's advergame for the upcoming movie Running Scared, available on the movie's website. According to a report on MTV.com, there are two levels that are playable on the website via Macromedia Shockwave. One which is accessible by anyone, and the other is an "mature" level, which includes a "bonus" section of the main character performing, er, a "love scene" with his wife, as she sits on a laundry room appliance.

But there's a catch.

Instead of relying on the often-mocked "please enter your age, we trust you", New Line has opted for a newer method of age verification. According to New Line, they verify your name, birth date, and zip code with local state DMV records. How they access DMV records is not clear.

Once verified, you can use your e-mail & password to "verify" your age on any New Line website. Of course the only people who can verify their ages are US residents with drivers' licenses - or those who know their friends' DMV info.

Paul Walker, whose movie character "Joey Gazelle" is portrayed in the game, had virtually no input into the creation of the game. "I haven't actually played the game; it was rumored that they may have shut it down... It's a marketing tool... But, seriously, I wouldn't want my 7-year-old daughter playing that game."
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