If irony could kill, this would be how and Jack Thompson would have tried to pin it on GTA. The signature of Jack Thompson emblazoned on a Grand Theft Auto game may well be the most ironic thing to ever happen to gaming…ever! This is the equivalent to gaming of what Gandhi signing a rocket launcher would be to world politics. If you don’t know who Jack Thompson is, allow me to explain.
Jack Thompson was an attorney who was disbarred. He emerged in the public eye as an out and out activist, opposing anything he believed to be obscene in modern culture. His most notable act against gaming was his battle against Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto franchise.
Jack Thompson Really Hates Grand Theft Auto
Jack hates GTA. Scratch that, he loathes it. Jack likely believes that Grand Theft Auto is the single biggest threat to the wellbeing and safety of children to date. In fact, he once stated that Grand Theft Auto IV was “the gravest assault on children [In America] since polio”. Jack, come on! Really?
As far back as 2003, Jack Thompson launched a barrage of lawsuits against seemingly anyone and everyone he could find that was associated with Grand Theft Auto. He didn’t win much, but it’s safe to assume he got pretty fat off the exposure.
Jack’s Attack on GTA
Jack Thompson liked to concoct ways of linking violent crimes to video games. To Jack, it wasn’t the criminal to blame, but modern-day society and moreover, violent video games. Jack believed that violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto were corrupting the minds of youths and turning them into homicidal maniacs. Jack isn’t the only one to harbour these opinions. I for one think that’s a ridiculous notion and intend to explain why in a future article.
Jack’s Justice Was Served
Eventually, justice was served to Jack Thompson. He was sacked. You see, Thompson may not have liked people playing Grand Theft Auto, but playing nice clearly wasn’t in his game plan either. The reasons for Jack Thompson’s disbarment were as such. He –
- “Made false statements of material fact to courts and repeatedly violated a court order”.
- “Communicated the subject of representation directly with clients of opposing counsel”.
- “Engaged in prohibited ex parte communications”.
- “Publicized and sent hundreds of pages of vitriolic and disparaging missives, letters, faxes and press releases to affected individuals”.
- “Targeted an individual who was not involved with (Jack Thompson) in any way, merely due to ‘the position (the individual) held in state and national politics’.
- “Falsely, recklessly and publicly accused a judge of being amenable to the ‘fixing’ of cases”.
You can argue ethics all you want. As an attorney though, if you can’t at the same time ethically practice the law, then you don’t really have a leg to stand on. Jack so wanted to win that he was willing to hound, harass and heckle those against him just to get his point across. A lack of compassion and sympathy is what makes a bad person, not Grand Theft Auto.
Now you know why the signature of Jack Thompson on a copy of Grand Theft Auto III is so ironic. There’s not much in the realm of evidence to prove how real the signature is. However, it was allegedly signed by Thompson himself after his debate with Lorne Lanning at the VGXPO in Philadelphia. It seems like an odd thing to forge and I’m inclined to believe that it’s real. It was actually put up on eBay once for a ludicrous asking price of $4000. Is it worth that? I don’t think so. It would be a great conversation piece to have displayed on the shelves of any game collection though.