This week, the Australian franchises of Kmart and Target opted not to stock the video game "Grand Theft Auto V," which came out last year but was re-released for newer consoles in November. The move followed an online petition campaign with tens of thousands of signatures, saying the game "encourages players to murder women for entertainment." Critics of the game have long complained about its longstanding depiction of women as scantily clad strippers and prostitutes.
"We've been speaking to many customers over recent days about the game and there is a significant level of concern about the game's content," a Target spokesman in Australia said. "We feel the decision to stop selling GTA 5 is in line with the majority view of our customers."
But Australian fans of the Grand Theft Auto games — a blockbuster series that allows gamers to play out all sorts of gangster fantasies — are fighting back. A new petition in response to the recent ban calls on Target to remove another incendiary item from its shelves, one which also "encourages" the murder of women for entertainment. What is it? Read an excerpt of the petition to find out:
This is The Holy Bible. This book means that after various sex acts, readers are given options to kill women by stoning her unconscious, setting them on fire, cutting off their hands, and killing their children!
One of many fan passages on In The Holy Bible depicts woman being set alight for having sex"And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire." (Leviticus 21:9).
This misogynistic book literally makes a game of bashing, killing and horrific violence against women. It also links sexual arousal and violence.
Just knowing that women are being portrayed as deserving to be sexually used by men and potentially murdered for sport and pleasure – to see this violence turned into a form of entertainments is sickening and causes us great pain and harm.
The satirical petition has garnered more than 23,000 signatures. Whatever the case, it's unlikely that the bans on selling the game will deeply impact sales. Since its original release in September 2013, "GTA 5" has grossed nearly $2 billion.