Jack Thompson’s Open Letter to Take-Two CEO’s Mother

Recently while wandering around the net in search of various game news I came across this reply to a post on Kotaku.com. The reply was in the form of a letter allegedly sent from Jack Thompson to the mother of Take-Two’s CEO Strauss Zelnick.

Here is that letter:

Update from Matt: No matter what your opinion on Mr. Thompson or the letter he has written, please do not harass him or his family through email. As you can read at the end of this article, he sent this to Zelnick’s lawyer, and not directly to Zelnick or his mother. If you harass him it just makes his opinion about the video game community seem correct.

John B. Thompson, Attorney at Law
1172 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 111
Coral Gables, Florida 33146

April 21, 2008

Mrs. Zelnick
Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two Chairman’s Mother
New York, New York Via e-mails to intermediaries

Re: Your Son, Strauss Zelnick

Dear Mrs. Zelnick:

Your son, as you may know (or maybe you don’t know), is Chairman of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., whose most popular video games are the Grand Theft Auto murder simulator games banned in some countries but sold to children here.

Your son last week was reported to have said the following about Grand Theft Auto IV, due to be released Tuesday, April 29:
“We’ve already received numerous [GTA IV] reviews, and to a one, they are perfect scores. My mom couldn’t write better reviews…”
Taking your son’s thought, I would encourage you either to play this game or have an adroit video gamer play it for you. Some of the latter gamers are on death row, so try to find one out in the civilian population who hasn’t killed someone yet.

What you will see in your son’s game, if this iteration of GTA is anything like its predecessors, is incredible interactive violence aimed at police officers (whom you can shoot in the head and see the blood spray), innocent bystanders (whom you can run over with your car just for the heck of it), and of course the plentiful female prostitutes you can have sex with and then filet with a knife or stomp with your feet in order to get your money back. Experts note that the recent plethora of cop killings is caused in part by your darling son’s entrepreneurial energy. There are three policemen dead in Alabama because of Grand Theft Auto. I was on 60 Minutes about it. I hope Strauss has provided you with a flat screen tv to see the grief of the bereaved families that fills the screen.

The pornography and violence that your son trafficks in is the kind of stuff that most mothers would be ashamed to see their son putting into the hands of other mothers’ children, but, hey, your son Strauss has recently assured the world that he is “a Boy Scout, everybody knows that.” I’d love to see the merit badges that Scout Troop handed out. Is there a Ted Bundy merit badge? If so, your loving son deserves one now. It should be red and green, for obvious reasons.

With Passover having just come and gone, it is appropriate to note the following from the Old Testament, Proverbs 22:6:

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Mrs. Zelnick, did you train up your son, Strauss, to make millions of dollars by pushing Mature-rated video games to children? Any kid can go right to little Strauss’ corporate web site and buy GTA IV with no age verification. Strauss is even marketing the new Grand Theft Auto IV on World Wrestling Entertainment tv shows seen by millions of kids. If you trained up Strauss to do this, then shame on you.

But maybe the explanation for your son’s corporate sociopathy is to be found in Old Testament Proverb 29:15:

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”

Maybe you, Mrs. Zelnick, were so taken by your handsome son that you spared the rod and spoiled the child. That would explain why he has brought you, by the way he presently acts, “to shame.”

There’s another mother you would do well to talk to. Mrs. Crump in Alabama had a son who was a police officer. He’s now dead because a teenaged boy unwittingly trained himself to kill him on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. She has a grief she carries every day that only a mother can know.There are other such mothers in the heartland of America whose inhabitants your son simply sees as commercial targets.

Your son, this very moment, is doing everything he possibly can to sell as many copies of GTA IV to teen boys in the United States, a country in which your son claims you raised him to be “a Boy Scout.” More like the Hitler Youth, I would say.
Happy Mother’s day, Mrs. Zelnick, which this year is May 11, two weeks after your son unleashes porn and violence upon other mothers’ boys. I’m sure you’re very proud.

Sincerely, Jack Thompson
Copies: Media

I emailed Mr. Thompson who did in fact confirm that he sent this letter, though he sent it to the lawyers representing Strauss Zelnick. In his own words:

I sent it to Strauss Zelnick’s lawyer. I have no idea who his mother is or where she is. You’re familiar with the concept of “shame,” right? He can show it to his mother or not, but of course he won’t because he wouldn’t want his mother to know what he does and how he harms other people’s kids. Can you even grasp the concept?

Jack Thompson, Attorney

So before rumors get out on the web, this letter was not sent to Zelnick’s mother, but to his lawyers.

We have let Mr. Thompson know that if he has further comments on the matter he is open to contact our website, and are waiting to see if there is a response from Take-Two.

Diehard Gamefan is trying to secure an interview with Jack Thompson over the release of the latest GTA game. In the mean time you can check other recent interviews like our ones with the ECA and controversial director Uwe Boll regarding the movie Postal.

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6 responses to “Jack Thompson’s Open Letter to Take-Two CEO’s Mother”

  1. ML Kennedy Avatar
    ML Kennedy

    Nothing trains a killer quite so well as playing video games. I remember how I won this street fight once by repeatedly hitting triangle, L1, square.

    It took me forever to win though, because the other guy had previously used the Konami code.

  2. […] the letter itself was not sent to Zelnick’s mother, but rather to his attorney. Thompson told Diehard GameFAN: I sent it to Strauss Zelnick’s lawyer. I have no idea who his mother is or where she is. […]

  3. taylorn61 Avatar

    My 18yo son just sent me this article about Jack Thompson spewing his venom once again. Amazing. The man is still proving in a public way that he is a babbling idiot. This is the same man who, just hours after the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech, spouted his….wisdom…..that the shooter had obviously been a gamer. Anyone happen to remember what the kid’s roommate had to say on the matter? He had NEVER seen the guy playing a video game – EVER.

    Jack Thompson has done more to create an even more cohesive group of gamers than anyone outside of G4 by his rants regarding his stance on video games and gamers.

    I will grant that there are undoubtedly people out there who have committed crimes after playing video games, but these folks more than likely had extensive psychological problems that lent more to the violence than the gaming did.

    There are games out there that I think are bloody beyond belief and I’d never in a million years play them. Do the creators have the right to create them? Yup. Do I have to buy them? Nope. If a game is marked “M” it should be behind a locked door and the person buying the game should have to show valid identification to prove that they are 18 or over before purchasing it. Game sellers need to step up to the plate. So do parents. Know what your kids are playing. If the child is below 17, either take the game away from them or get rid of the system. That’s your right as a parent. If they’re over 17, they are adults and can make up their own minds.

    Trying to reason with someone like Jack Thompson is like trying to get a politician to be honest. Impossible. He vents. He rants. He rages. He doesn’t hear what anyone has to say. You can’t argue with a jackass. It’s just a waste of time.

    Until and unless I hear from a legitimate scientific or collegiate group that has done EXTENSIVE research into the topic of game violence and they can prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that violence in video games always leads to crimes being committed, I will ignore ignorant, loudmouthed bigots such as Jack Thompson.

  4. bladeokatana Avatar

    My fiance’s brother and I, following the Virginia Tech shootings, actually went in search of research that might prove him right, just to see if it was out there. Being an avid gamer, this was an interesting experiment to figure out whether I was just blinded to it or not. Well, anyways, the results that we found are that practically no research, be it military or otherwise, has shown that children are more violent or kill people due to playing violent video games.

    As a matter of fact, studies showed the opposite. In many of the military studies, video games bolstered logic and problem solving, hand-eye coordination, and reaction time while violant video games served as a form of catharsis, allowing the child to relieve frustration in a safe and virtual environment. With this said, that means that any child that is able to use this as a cathartic technique will be more civil when interacting with their peers.

    I would also like to comment on findings involving crime rates in children and teens following the release of violent video games. Upon researching the U.S. violent crime rates, which include rape, assault, and homicide, there is actually a steady decrease in rate of violent crimes among persons under the age of 18 following the release of violent video games as far back as Mortal Kombat for the Super Nintendo.

    My final comment is in reference to this statement by Mr. Thompson: “Any kid can go right to little Strauss’ corporate web site and buy GTA IV with no age verification.” First off, the link on Take-Two’s website redirects you to Rockstar Games, which requires that you input your age prior to even accessing anything aside from the title. Secondly, parents have the option of turning on parental controls to block things listed as inappropriate for persons under the age of 14, which will block this site. Lastly, online purchases tend to require a credit card or some other form of non-cash payment method. As such, a child does not have the capability to obtain a credit card without a parent, thereby placing blame on the parent for buying a game that was inappropriate for their child.

    I too would like to use the Provebs 29:15 quote to make mention of the parents. It is easy to blame an outside source for failure, as is the case for blaming video games for violent children, but the thing most parents fail to mention is where they were the entire time these events were happening. Were they not sparing their children the rod by not punishing them for bringing any violence within the game to the outside world. Did they not monitor their children to prevent them from getting the wrong idea from any of these games? The answer is that they obviously left their children to fend for themselves and thereby made others to suffer from it, and persons such as Mr. Thompson to profit from the children’s actions. I know that I was allowed to play practically any game that I chose, but I was informed of the nature of games: that they aren’t real. They are nothing more than digital fairy tales meant for entertainment. To take them as anything else is the same as saying that there was a talking deer named Bambi. You don’t see children getting mauled by wild deer because they thought Bambi was there. Why is this? Parents tell them that it isn’t real. They should do the same thing for their children’s gaming habits.

  5. ScrewJackT Avatar

    He’s a fucking tit. Any update on what this fuckmunch is up to?

    1. Crystal Steltenpohl Avatar

      Last time I heard about him he was pissed at me because I pointed out some flaws in some research saying video games make kids violent. That was like a year ago. I like to pretend he lays dormant until a video game controversy rises, and then he struggles to reanimate and become relevant again.

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