Target Australia has announced that they will stop selling ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ in their stores due to consumer feedback about the game’s “depictions of violence against women.”
Target issued a press release concerning the decision. Apparently, the company’s General Manager of Corporate Affairs Jim Cooper stated that they chose to make the decision following extensive concern about the game by way of consumers.
“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,” Cooper said. “We’ve also had customer feedback in support of us selling the game, and we respect their perspective on the issue.”
Cooper added: “However, we feel the decision to stop selling GTA5 is in line with the majority view of our customers.”
Despite this decision, Cooper went on to reaffirm that Target would continue to sell other R18-rated DVDs and games.
He states: “While these 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 GTA 5, we have listened to the strong feedback from customers that this is not a product they want us to sell.”
This corporate decision seems to likely tie back to a Change.org petition advocating that Target cease sales of ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ in Australia that has recieved more than 40,000 signatures in a day.
In response, CEO of Take-Two Strauss Zelnick issued the following statement below:
“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.”
Concern over the content featured in the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ series is certainly nothing new. The series has received a fair amount of media scrutiny for its content in the past with previous games being criticized for containing excessive violence, references to drug dealing, torture and drunk driving. Most countries have either heavily censored the titles or straight up banned them. In the past, Australia has done mostly of the former with past entries.