Early this morning, GameSpot received an e-mail from Jack Thompson that contained a copy of a complaint letter he faxed to the Seattle Police Department regarding the Web comic Penny Arcade. In the letter addressed to Seattle Police Chief R. Gil Kerlikowske, Thompson claims that Penny Arcade "employs certain personnel who have decided to commence and orchestrate criminal harassment of me by various means." As evidence of harassment, he notes that the site sells an "I hate Jack Thompson" T-shirt, calling it "just the tip of the iceberg."
According to Thompson, the reason Penny Arcade has harassed him has nothing to do with the Web site's $10,000 donation to charity yesterday in an attempt to very publicly show him up. That event goes unmentioned in his letter. Instead, Thompson says it is because he went on 60 Minutes twice to explain a wrongful-death lawsuit he brought against Grand Theft Auto creator Rockstar Games on behalf of two Fayette, Alabama, police officers and a police dispatcher. The three were killed by Devin Moore, whom Thompson says "obsessively trained on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to kill them."
In closing, Thompson notes, "I look forward to working with your fine Police Department to shut this little extortion factory down and/or arrest some of its employees."
The e-mail GameSpot received was sent to Penny Arcade creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins and the site's business development manager, Robert Khoo. Copies of the e-mail were also sent to other media outlets, as well as several addresses at the national law firm Blank Rome LLP. Blank Rome Government Relations represents not only Take-Two Interactive, but also the City of Seattle.
However, it appears Thompson did neglect to send the letter to one very important party. As of 9:55 a.m. PDT, the Seattle Police Department confirmed to GameSpot that it had not received any such fax from Thompson.
Thompson e-mailed GameSpot again at 10:38 a.m. PDT, saying that he has fixed the URL and apparently faxed the letter, commenting, "They have it now." Thompson added, "The moral midgets like the computer geeks at Penny Arcade think that I am some sort of pixelated piñata in a game. I'm not. Gabe [the in-comic alter ego of Penny Arcade artist Krahulik] decided to go after me, and he chose the wrong target. I've been at this longer than he has."
[UPDATE]: GameSpot once again called the Seattle Police Department to confirm receipt of Thompson's fax. As of 2:31 p.m. PDT, Kerlikowske's office still had not received any communication from Thompson.GameSpot spoke with Khoo earlier today about Thompson's accusations. "We were really surprised that he is actually reacting this way," Khoo said. "I don't think he really realizes who Penny Arcade is and what sort of support we can rally. And where our place is in the [game] industry. "I really don't expect him to know who we are, but I'm pretty sure he just thinks we are either just bunch of kids or someone who probably does not know what they are doing, and that he can scare off with idle threats and threats of legal actions." As far as that goes, Khoo says that Penny Arcade, which is no stranger to Internet dust-ups and threatened legal action, isn't overly concerned with Thompson's accusations. "I've spoken to our legal team this morning and every one of his claims that he has made is pretty ridiculous, especially given the fact that he's a public figure. His grounds for harassment, criminal harassment, is pretty silly," Khoo said. "He puts himself out there as a public figure going up against the game industry. Does he really not expect that the game industry's going to fight back? "Maybe he really doesn't really know what he's getting himself into."