Target ban on GTA V sets a dangerous precedent

Target’s ban on Grand Theft Auto V is just another example of political correctness gone insane. This week Target in Australia (Sharing many similarities, however not affiliated with Target of North America) pulled GTA V from it’s shelves because of an online petition.

Yes, you read that correctly. An online petition actually did something.

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“It’s a game that encourages players to murder women for entertainment. The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get ‘health’ points – and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking.”

Target’s decision to stop selling Grand Theft Auto V just weeks before Christmas has made news headlines all around the world. The catalyst? An online petition.

Australia has some serious issues regarding censorship. Australia only recently introduced an R18+ rating for video games. Before, any games that didn’t meet the criteria for an MA15+ rating were either censored or outright banned. A decision to pull a title off the shelves from one of Australia’s largest department store chains is pushing us backwards.

“Games like this are grooming yet another generation of boys to tolerate violence against women. It is fueling the epidemic of violence experienced by so many girls and women in Australia – and globally.”

Ok, so please explain this ad to me then…

Of course, Target is free to decide what products they stock. I’m also free to have my opinion on the situation. In my opinion, anyone that argues for this disgusting kind of censorship should be deported to North Korea.

The game is targeted towards adults. If I feel like mowing down a shopping mall of civilians in GTA V it is my right to do so. Who are these women to have authority on what kind of media I can consume?

Oh, you’re a sex worker and you’ve been abused before? In that case shouldn’t soldiers be requesting that games like Call of Duty be pulled from shelves for glorifying war and featuring soldiers being killed by the hundreds? Oh wait… They understand it’s a fucking video game for the purpose of entertainment, not a murder simulator.

In some countries and states prostitution is illegal. Should I start a petition banning prostitution in Australia if I don’t agree with it?

Media frenzy

This online petition should have gone the same way the vast majority of petitions go: Nowhere.

The only reason this online petition ever got popular to begin with is thanks to the media. Must have been a very slow news day for an online petition to even appear on the radar for any news organisation.

Once the first story popped up other news outlets followed suit and the petition was getting hits from all around the world.

Here’s an example of an article: Petition Against Target Selling GTA V Reaches 25,000 Signatures

I mean seriously. Someone took the time to write about this stupid shit and got paid to do it. That’s really the most interesting story you could think of? It’s the internet. 25,000 signatures is nothing. Hell, 100,000 signatures is nothing. Not long ago some guy managed to fund raise $55,000 through Kickstarter to make a potato salad. How can the media possibly be surprised by 25,000 signatures on an online petition.

It would have been nice for the media to use some journalistic integrity and call out the author of the petition on their misleading bullshit instead of frothing over the mouth and acting as if the majority of Australian’s wanted GTA pulled from shelves… Which actually resulted in GTA being pulled off shelves.

It’s pretty sad that I did more research to write this article than the morons being paid to talk about it on a morning show aired on national TV.

Without the hype from the media this petition would have been rightfully forgotten about.

Online petitions are bullshit

In case Target didn’t get the memo, online petitions are completely bullshit.

I think it’s safe to assume that the vast majority of people signing the petition had never even played the game (or any game that wasn’t in a web browser) before – The author of the petition sure as hell didn’t since their claims about the game were completely misleading.

Many of the “signatures” on the petition were actually people who disagreed with the petition and were using it as a forum.

“Let’s see Target’s response to pulling ALL media that includes violence off the shelves. The store’s will be devoid of media, with the exception of The Wiggles and Taylor Swift. But hey, at least you guys will be happy.”

I wonder if representatives from Target even read any of the posts on the petition… I’m guessing not.

There is nothing to prevent fake signatures and half of the votes could have come from the other side of the world. An online petition can easily gain 40,000 signatures.

In response to Target’s decision to pull GTA V off shelves, other petitions have been directed at Target to point out their hypocrisy, for example: Withdraw The Holy Bible and Stop selling “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Target: Moral authority

I like how Target attempts to take the moral high ground and leave us with gems like this:

“While these products often contain imagery that some customers find offensive, in the vast majority of cases, we believe they are appropriate products for us to sell to adult customers.”

Well I’m glad Target is looking out for their consumers. Too bad they don’t give a fuck about where their products come from: Australia’s supply chains link directly to Bangladeshi workers’ fates

So let me get this straight…

Selling violent video games = Bad

Outsourcing product manufacturing to third world countries resulting in hundreds of deaths due to shitty working conditions and dangerous buildings = Good

There’s been countless studies to debunk the myth that violent video games cause players to become violent in real life. How about instead of banning a harmless video game we ban cheap clothes that are mass produced by exploited workers overseas?

Wouldn’t it be awful if adults had to make decisions on the media they consume all by themselves?

Lets just completely ignore the fact that in most video games you’re killing men and the violence portrayed against men in games is far more prevalent. I can’t remember killing a single female in a Call of Duty game, however I must have killed tens of thousands of male characters through the single player and multiplayer. Funny that Target hasn’t taken Call of Duty off the shelves or that men aren’t petitioning Target to ban Call of Duty…

I wonder if Target have stopped sales of Chris Brown records? I guess actual violence that occurs in real life just isn’t quite as important as gunning down pixelated woman in a video game.

Slippery slope

A retailer caving in to ridiculous demands like this sets a dangerous precedent. Following Target’s decision to stop selling GTA V, Kmart has also removed the game from their shelves.

What’s next? Will other stores join Target and Kmart in banning GTA V? Will other stores around the world take notice and do the same? Will future games be pulled from shelves if they’re considered too violent?

Does it seriously just take a misleading petition with a sob story to have any product I dislike removed from a store?

Someone please tell me what the hell happened to the phrase “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it”.