Rockstar wins newspaper apology, damages

Daily Star admits it "made no attempt to check the accuracy" of story claiming development of GTA Rothbury, apologises unreservedly.


The Daily Star has issued a lengthy and unreserved apology to Rockstar Games after claiming last week the Scottish developer was working on a Grand Theft Auto game inspired by the crimes and subsequent manhunt of Raoul Moat. The British tabloid, owned by Richard Desmond's Northern and Shell Media, admitted it had made no attempt to check the veracity of the story before publication and had not attempted to contact Rockstar. It has also agreed to pay "a substantial amount in damages," which the developer has said it is to donate to charity. Moat had shot dead the partner of an ex-girlfriend, injured several others, and eventually shot himself during a police standoff after a lengthy manhunt.

The offending and entirely made-up article as it first appeared online.
The offending and entirely made-up article as it first appeared online.

The Star had claimed that GTA Rothbury was in development on the basis of a mocked-up cover showing scenes from the police manhunt for Moat. It did not attempt to contact Rockstar to verify that the cover was genuine or that any such plans existed, admitting it "made no attempt to check the accuracy of the story before publication." It also expressed outrage that such a game was in development, running quotes from the grandmother of one of Moat's victims suggesting the games was "blood money,” and “beyond belief.”

The story, which first appeared last Wednesday, has now been removed from the Daily Star's Web site, and the paper has undertaken not to repeat the claims again. The URL of the story now instead points to the paper's standard 404 page, which invites readers to "check out the babes section" via a banner tactfully placed across a topless model's chest. In an apology published on Saturday, the paper said, "It is now accepted that there were never any plans by Rockstar Games to publish such a game and that the story was false. We apologise for publishing the story using a mock-up of the game cover, our own comments on the matter and soliciting critical comments from a grieving family member."

The Star has made a number of corrections and public apologies for misleading or fictitious stories this year. One of the more notable was to its readers for the headline "Terror as Plane hits Ash Cloud" using a mocked-up photo the day airspace reopened after the Eyjafjallajokull eruption earlier this year. It has also issued apologies to celebrities, including Peaches Geldof--for giving the false impression that she was a prostitute--and to other public figures such as Matt Lucas and Heather Mills for publishing false or misleading stories about them. The Daily Star's owner, Richard Desmond, agreed last week to acquire the UK's smallest terrestrial network, Channel 5, from its German owners RTL.

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Avatar image for MdN09graduate

I wanna know if the next GTA will be in Vice City. They revisited Liberty City, why shouldn't they re-do Vice City? And if they did do it like that, just think of how re-doing San Andreas would look? Holy Crap!!! It would be the ultimate GTA!

Avatar image for sakshamH

jesus. when are they gonna announce next one? I want no episodes but a goddamn game..........and that too in europe or japan!

Avatar image for megamanxfanatic

I hope their attempt to buy channel 5 goes through, the last thing we need is a TV station under the same conditions...

Avatar image for murray_mchs

Why didn't Rockstar sue Glenn Beck when he said that GTA IV trains kids to be killers. HLN has way more money than the Daily Star. Come on.

Avatar image for Granpire

@Fusco1980 Something doesn't make sense here... Half the comments here are about how stupid tabloids are, yet both our comments are only thumbs down, mine with 15. ??? All I claimed was that tabloids report fake unsourced material. Read this : << LINK REMOVED >> and tell me if any one story on the front page is true. If Rockstar sues a tabloid, that's a pretty desperate thing to do.

Avatar image for chrisg88wb

I was lookin for a GTA West Belfast but what can ya do.

Avatar image for chrisg88wb

Looks like a Good GTA whens it out :) lol

Avatar image for tomo90

It's alright. No one reads the Daily Star.

Avatar image for wahyudil

I get bored with GTA ... RDR is better

Avatar image for andymack3940

I was more drawn to the article next to it. Has Syria really banned the burka?

Avatar image for grey_fox1984

Why would any self-respecting gamer think for a second that a british tabloid could break news of a new GTA game? Also, a split second glance at that photo would tell anyone who has ever seen GTA artwork that its bogus. Is this the same tabloid that broke the news that Eddie Murphy had signed on to play the Riddler in Batman 3: War for Gotham? Stick to legitimate newspapers for news and gamepot for videogame stuff folks!

Avatar image for gbrading

Further evidence that The Daily Star will print anything it can just to sell newspapers. Jellow journalism at its very worst.

Avatar image for V4LENT1NE

How the hell could anyone believe that it was true rofl.

Avatar image for Hicser03

lol people who believe anything that the daily star prints should be removed from the global gene pool.

Avatar image for DepecheMode19

Oh well when british tabloids ever learn! *sigh*

Avatar image for yeebsey

the only people that read the daily star are morons. i actually heard two idiots in the pub when this story came out saying how they were going to walk down the road to rockstar lincoln and chuck bricks at it. idiots the daily star is notorious for printing garbage. when ever theres no news about katie price or something they're still trying to pin on tony blair (despite being out of polotics for quite a while now) they usually either a) make up a story like this, or b) find new evidence about who really killed princess diana. and yet most of the british public seems to believe half this s***. makes me just sad to be british

Avatar image for Shanks_D_Chop

Daily Star needs to rescind it's status as a newspaper and come out as a spoof/satire mag, albeit a low class piece of crap one. This is yet another load of rubbish from them, so why does anyone get worked up about it? It's reading material for real morons.

Avatar image for valent1n

just a tabloid.....right!

Avatar image for sambob530

Seems like the Dirty Digger's at it again...

Avatar image for Gezquester

P.S I would love to see a current gen GTA set in London!

Avatar image for Gezquester

Lol, as if Rockstar would dedicate a whole game just to one incident. Good thing I don't read crap like that.

Avatar image for HollowNinja

It's a tabloid. Let them burn, I say.

Avatar image for facetious_ca

I don't get it. The Daily Star is a British tabloid. Tabloids also say that aliens are present among us and that Bigfoot is real. Where do companies get the idea that there is any damage done to them through this medium?

Avatar image for contentxcontext

@Holy_Terra it might be cheaper then toilet paper, but who would want to wipe thier arse with something thats already full of s....

Avatar image for contentxcontext

@Tr5978 the star mocked up the cover art themselves

Avatar image for ebookerd1

There would have to be a mystery place that counts as London. but if it is too similar the families may be able to sue.

Avatar image for Sergsky

A tabloid is not a newspaper. They make a living by exaggerating details on legitimate stories or by blatantly inventing new ones to which they later apologize. The money the pay in damages is part of their cost structure and they know they are going to pay large amounts every year... I am surprised there still are people that believe what they read in these tabloids.

Avatar image for ebookerd1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for MacenKrace

If this is free publicity, then I'd say it's good enough to make buy the next GTA.

Avatar image for SicklySunStorm

@mer1in79 - what, you mean like GTA London? ;) I know what you mean though.... a decent 3D GTA game (NOT Getaway!!!) set in the UK would indeed be great. I just think it's high time that punishments for infringements like this with The Star and others shouldn't be so light... stopping their printing presses for a statutory period would be a good place to start, as that's the only way to truly hurt them.

Avatar image for Coolyfett

Something smells this is some sort of pre hype from Rockstar to get people talking....something tells me they are in league with this tabloid...

Avatar image for Witchsight

A british tabloid ran a sensationalist story? This has to be false.

Avatar image for mer1in79

My God anyone who fell for this story and actually believed the obviously mocked up cover needs to be sterilised we do not need their spawn running around infecting others.On the other hand a G.T,A game set in Britain would be a great game.

Avatar image for johny300

ROCKSTAR is a king nothing can hurt them.

Avatar image for imprezawrx500

This is the media 95% of the time, just finding a few bits and pieces they think sound great and then writing a 'story' about it. The media loves to make stuff up and hardly every tells the 'real' news.

Avatar image for frog154


Avatar image for PowerOfScotland

You know what, I think that would have been an amazing game, not being a dick, but had the based the character on someone else, maybe it would be brilliant. The one think that would be rubbish is how in GTA you get assigned missions from mob bosses or ect, but he really just goes around shooting people.

Avatar image for SicklySunStorm

I personally don't think it's fair that they got off so lightly... what they printed was a MASSIVE untruth, designed to do nothing other than waggle the preverbial stick in the hornets nest... it caused more upset for those directly affected by the incidents and added fuel to the fire for anyone grasping for a reason to dislike video games. In short, them having to issue a few apologies and microscopic amounts of money for damages is not enough, compared to what they do with these lies and shams of stories daily, ruining individuals daily lives... If you ask me, any publication willing to use an incident as awful as the Moat one to stir up more hate, is bordering on being as irresponsible as the incident perpetrator themselves.

Avatar image for Hermes33

The Daily Star = WEAZEL NEWS. Wait... no, I take that back. GTA IV in-game Weazel News actually has a shred of truth in it (albeit with heavy spin). It's one of life's mysteries to me who even buys The Daily Star comic and why it remains in business. Perhaps the person who said it's cheaper to buy than toilet paper has a point... but who would want all that ink on their...?!

Avatar image for The_Gaming_Baby

Anyone that believed that story is quite stupid

Avatar image for TheGreyArea

It just pains me when headlines like this make it into INTERNATIONAL news... it's like we (UK) have had the village idiot represent us as our intellectual spokesperson. It's bad enough us having to bare the shame and tragedy of SCUM like "Moat" and "Bird" being spawned of our shores, and their subsequent actions (not to mention the perpetuation of discomfort and pain a rat-hole sensationalist tabloids CONTINUE TO CAUSE FOR THE FAMILIES OF THE VICTIMS by squeezing ever last headline they can out of such abominable incidents... why cant they go back to wining about Swine flu? Or Volcanic ash? Or the frikken coalition government they tried so hard to prevent from coming to power?), It's salt in the wound when spit-ball rags like the STAR have been allowed to print their idiocy on an internationally accessible platform... ROCKSTAR... DO US ALL A FAVOUR... Write us - your fans - a new DLC. Have Mr Bellic visit back over this side of the pond on a fire-bombing, assassination mission to a filthy joke of a Tabloid HQ, for printing lies about him... THAT would be a game I would buy and enjoy.

Avatar image for Petch1984

To anyone not from the UK : this would have done no damage whatsoever to Rockstar's image as The Daily Star is known for printing absolute nonsense.

Avatar image for Holy_Terra

lol the daily star the pinnacle of trustworthyness (sarcasm) there is a reason this news paper costs 20p because it is crap... (PS. quote from mock the week "scenes we'd like to see, adverts that never made it to air, the daily star... because it is cheaper than toilet paper) I think this kinda proves it dont you think?

Avatar image for fixer293

I foresee a firing or two at that newspaper org.

Avatar image for Tr5978

More shocking than the fact that the Daily Star published the article is that someone who works for them was fooled by that obviously-faked cover art.

Avatar image for xGlenn11x

Whoever even thought of writing that, much less publishing it, should be slapped. B|

Avatar image for Granpire

This is just stupid. Not that the story should be kept(that is pretty awful), but what I found sad was that Rockstar stooped so low as to sue a tabloid. This is what they do, make outrageous stories that are usually lies.

Avatar image for contentxcontext

@NoDzombie i work in newspapers, and yet, sadly a large number of gurning, dribbling old perverts do indeed buy the daily star. All the worse for me as i realise im aiding it. Hmmmm, might sabotarge the pepers today.

Avatar image for contentxcontext

Its like with the story of the fox that got into a person house and attacked thier babys. The press milked it so far. Day one... EVIL FOXES. day two... Picture of fox, maybe the one that did it. Day three... picture of man after killing fox. day four... picture, of one of the two babys, after being mauled. and they treat the fox as evil. Whats worse is the babys were twins, so the papers milked it by putting different pictured of mauled babys on the front pages of the papers over a week. SICK. in my view. no body ever questioned why the mother left her door open all night, or pointed out the fox was just a wild animal and just acting as it would with any other living thing if hungry. Yes it was terrible, but the way papers spin things. just wrong.. oops, gone on a bit... er. sorry about that.