Earlier today, GamePolitics.com broke the news that Jack Thompson, long known for his tireless efforts against controversial media, from the 2 Live Crew to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, had been asked to stop invoking the name of the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF).
NIMF president David Walsh distanced himself and his group from the Florida attorney in an open letter to Thompson, writing, "Over the past few months, I and members of my board have a growing concern that your use of our name, without our permission, has had a negative influence as we try to educate the public on this important issue."
"Your commentary has included extreme hyperbole and your tactics have included personally attacking individuals for whom I have a great deal of respect."
Walsh then asked Thompson to stop using his or the group's name to give people the impression that the NIMF supports his efforts. He also asked Thompson to remove the NIMF Web site link from Thompson's own site.
[UPDATE] An NIMF spokesperson told GameSpot, "It was clear that people were beginning to interpret or connect Mr. Thompson's actions, trying to tie them together with the Institute, and it's simply not the case."
When asked if Thompson's fabrications had caused the Institute harm, the spokesperson said, "the potential was there." [END UPDATE]
Thompson, who has in the past made headlines for comparing Entertainment Software Association Douglas Lowenstein to Adolf Hitler, responded to Walsh's letter Friday in a letter sent to GameSpot, among others.
"Dr. Walsh's efforts are funded by Target and by a foundation run by Best Buy lawyer and Best Buy Director Elliot Kaplan," Thompson wrote, later adding, "I am suing Target and Best Buy over the Bully game, which both Target and Best Buy are pre-selling. You connect the dots."
Thompson also denied ever claiming that Walsh or the NIMF supported his actions. "The fact is, I have never suggested that Dr. Walsh approves of what I do," Thompson wrote. "I have countless times told people that I believe he is an expert about the dangers of video games. The mistake I made, apparently naively, is in thinking that a person of his expertise would use it actually to help some bereaved families rather than choose to protect his relationship with portions of the video game industry and its reckless retail network."
Walsh's decision to air his grievances in an open letter that was also sent to Kaplan, Target chairman Robert Ulrich, and Lowenstein drew particular criticism from Thompson.
"I am a Christian. As far as I know, Dr. Walsh is as well," Thompson wrote. "There is a very clear passage in the New Testament in which believers are admonished that if they have a problem with someone, to go to that person in private and try and work it out. He didn't do that. He did not want to do that. What he wanted to do, it seems is ingratiate himself with some of the folks that fund his organization, so that he will continue to be considered 'a responsible critic'--one who can be counted upon not to go too far with his criticism."
In closing, Thompson again lamented Walsh's actions. "A child psychologist who would give a heads up to Doug Lowenstein in such a matter without confronting me directly man-to-man is a person who has lost his way, in more ways than one. He is the latest casualty in an escalating war started by a reckless industry whose socipathic [sic] poster child is [Take-Two Interactive president] Paul Eibeler. Dr. Walsh has now cast his [lot] and his efforts, whether wittingly or unwittingly, with him."