Fuming gamers have hit back after Target and Kmart withdrew Grand Theft Auto V from sale in Australia.
Last month campaigners started a petition on Change.org to get GTA5 banned by the big-box retail chains, claiming the game "encourages players to murder women for entertainment."
The campaigners also claim the game trains young men to link sex and violence, although academics disagree. After nearly 50,000 people added their signatures to the petition, both store chains caved and withdrew the title.
"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," said Target General Manager Corporate Affairs Jim Cooper.
"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."
That said, Target and Kmart are still selling violent video games and films – money is money after all. But GTA5 is one of the most popular games in history and has so far earned over $2bn for Take-Two Interactive and, as such, it's a nice high-profile target for campaigners to get into a tizzy about.
Gamers haven't taken this lying down, however. They have started a Change.org petition of their own seeking to ban another form of media packed with sex, violence, and misogyny – 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!" they state.
"One of many fan passages 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)."
So far the new petition has been getting a lot of signatures too – over 27,000 so far. In actuality the petition is pretty useless – Satan will go to work on a snowplow before the two firms risk offending Christians by complying – but it does make the point that you can find violence against women in far too many places if you look for it. ®