If you wanted to buy a copy of Grand Theft Auto V in Australia, you’ll have to go somewhere other than Target. The major retailer has officially pulled the Rockstar Games title from shelves, following consumer backlash that it “encourages players to commit sexual violence and kill women”.
General Manager Corporate Affairs Jim Cooper says that there is a “significant level of concern” about the game’s content, after speaking with customers about the game.
We’ve also had customer feedback in support of us selling the game, and we respect their perspective on the issue.
However, we feel the decision to stop selling GTA5 is in line with the majority view of our customers.
The official statement from Target Australia does not mention where the customer feedback started, but it seems to have arisen from an online petition which labels the R18+ rated GTAV as a “sickening game” that “encourages players to commit sexual violence and kill women”.
Started by former sex workers, the petition gained 40,000 signatures in five days.
This game spreads the idea that certain women exist as scapegoats for male violence. It shows hatred and contempt for women in the sex industry and puts them at greater risk. Women in the industry are 40 times more likely to be murdered by a man than any other group of women.
Petition author Nicole, who has asked not to be identified for fear of further backlash from gamers, is a survivor of sexual violence. She says that the first-person mode in GTAV for Xbox One and PS4 has added a new realism to the game, and that Rockstar has “upped the ante”. Exposure to this type of content, she says, will make gamers more likely to engage in violence against women.
Nicole says the four petition authors decided to address their campaign to Target Australia, rather than all shops that stock the game because the nation-wide retailer crossed all demographics. A New Zealand retailer – NZ Warehouse Group – has already pulled all R18 content from sale, claiming GTAV as a scapegoat. The retailer says the adult content “doesn’t fit with [their] brand”.
[img_big]center,8614,2014-07-01/image004.jpg,Grand Theft Auto V[/img_big]
We are disappointed that an Australian retailer has chosen no longer to sell Grand Theft Auto V — a title that has won extraordinary critical acclaim and has been enjoyed by tens of millions of consumers around the world. Grand Theft Auto V explores mature themes and content similar to those found in many other popular and groundbreaking entertainment properties. Interactive entertainment is today’s most compelling art form and shares the same creative freedom as books, television, and movies. I stand behind our products, the people who create them, and the consumers who play them.
Of course, if you are in Australia and do want to play Grand Theft Auto V, there are still plenty of other retailers who are happy to sell you a copy.