Report: Judge OKs Bully

[UPDATE] Jack Thompson's attempt to keep Take-Two from shipping out its controversial game apparently thwarted; attorney compares decision to Iran nuclear crisis.


Earlier this week, Florida lawyer Jack Thompson heralded "a historic ruling" to members of the press in a complaint he filed against Take-Two Interactive over its upcoming game Bully. Judge Ronald Friedman ordered Take-Two to provide a copy of the game so that he could review it behind closed doors on Thursday and see what all the fuss was about himself.

"It appears that finally the violent video game industry is going to be held accountable to someone," Thompson wrote in his Wednesday announcement.

However, things didn't go Thompson hoped. This morning, gaming site Destructoid reported that the judge ruled on the matter, saying he didn't see anything that should prevent Take-Two from shipping Bully.

"There's nothing in the game that you wouldn't see on TV every night," Friedman is quoted as saying. The judge added he wouldn't want his kids to play the game, "but that shouldn't mean that the game won't ship."

[UPDATE] Later, in an open letter to Friedman that was circulated to various game-press outlets, Thompson decried the decision using typically fiery language. "What you conducted in your chambers, Judge, was the equivalent of Iran leading UN weapons inspectors around the country taking them to places where the illegal activity was not occurring," he said.

Thompson also had some strong words for the judge himself. "Now that you have consigned innumerable children to skull fractures, eye injuries from slingshots, and beatings with baseball bats, without a hearing as to the danger, let me tell you a few things, with all respect for your office and with no respect for the arbitrary way in which you handled this matter," he wrote. "The way you conducted yourself today helps explain why a great Dade County Judge, the late Rhea Pincus Grossman, could not abide you."

The letter went on to:

a) Accuse Take-Two lawyer Rebecca Ward of "lying in [Friedman's] courtroom when she told [Friedman] that a 'Teen' rating is an age restriction at the point of sale." Indeed, such ESRB ratings are only enforced voluntarily by retail outlets.

b) Blast Friedman for "not allow[ing] a hearing to occur because the media there would have seen how you railroaded this entire matter--at the expense of children's safety." Specifically, Thompson made mention of a Miami Herald reporter in attendance.

In conclusion, Thompson said, "How dare you, Judge, promise a hearing today and then prevent that hearing from occurring. How dare you, Judge, petulantly order the production of the game after it is released on Tuesday morning. I didn't even ask for that. You did that out of spite, and you were smiling when you did that. You really enjoyed that one, didn't you, Judge? Next time you promise a 'hearing,' I'll bring a parent with me whose kid is in the ground because of a kid who trained to kill him or her on a violent video game. Try mocking that person, I dare you."

The letter can be read in its entirety on Kotaku and Game Politics. Bully ships on October 17 for the PlayStation 2; an Xbox version was canceled earlier this year.

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