On November 29, a Change.org petition was created in order to try to convince Australian Targets to pull copies of Grand Theft Auto V from their shelves. Stating that the game is misogynistic, the petition founders, all women who have been victims of sexual violence, claim that Grand Theft Auto and games like it “are grooming yet another generation of boys to tolerate violence against women.” The petition urges Target, as a family-friendly company, to place corporate social responsibility over profits by refusing to sell the title.
The petition has taken off rapidly, currently standing at 41,793 signatures just five days after it first appeared. Granted, some of these signatures aren’t actually supporting the cause, as Change.org requires you to sign the petition in order to comment on it. This has led to people signing it so they can speak out against it. Despite this, Target has given in to the pressure established by this petition and has decided to remove
Grand Theft Auto V from its stores.
Not all R18+ games are being pulled however. According to Target’s corporate affairs manager:
“While [other R18+ rated] 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. However, in the case of GTA5, we have listened to the strong feedback from customers that this is not a product they want us to sell.”
While this is sure to lose some business, Target has stated that this decision is “in line with the majority view of customers”. What is really interesting about this whole thing, however, is the amount of influence consumers can have over companies. Could this lead to more opposition to, and possibly banning of, offensive products in the future? How much should companies listen to a small subgroup of their consumer base?
Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Grand Theft Auto V publisher Take-Two Interactive, has made a statement regarding Target’s decision to remove the game from its Australian stores. Zelnick stated:
“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.” — Strauss Zelnick
Source: Gizmodo Australia