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The Warehouse Group praised for removing Grand Theft Auto V

The Warehouse Group praised for removing Grand Theft Auto V

The decision by New Zealand’s largest retailer The Warehouse Group (TW Group), to withdraw stocks of the latest version of Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) and other R18 games, has been praised by advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation.

Last week, Stop Demand approached TW Group to highlight GTA V’s graphic violence against women and to question the product’s fit with TW Group’s stated brand values to "enhance the lives of families and young people throughout New Zealand" and to “Help Make New Zealand a Better Place to Live”.

Stop Demand founder Denise Ritchie says “GTA has always been a deeply misogynistic, hyper-masculine game that reduces women largely to strippers and prostitutes. However, the new 1st person interactive mode released globally last week significantly ratchets up gamers’ experiences.

“After engaging in sex with a prostitute from a first-person viewpoint, gamers - including thousands of boys and men in this country - are encouraged to then punch her unconscious or murder her with options of a machete, a bat, an incendiary device or a range of guns,” says Ritchie. “One promotional clip shows, after sex, the woman being run down, run over, set alight and, still screaming, repeatedly shot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7__X3B3Vkk Warning: R18 content. NSFW.” NSFW.”

To claim it’s “simply a game” is naive, argues Stop Demand. Sexually callous attitudes such as those evident amongst the so-called Roast Busters’ group do not exist in a vacuum. They are shaped by messages within popular culture, pornography, misogynistic games and the like.

Challenging one of the world’s most popular games is a “David and Goliath” task. Last year’s version of GTA V reportedly earned US$1 billion in its first three days.

Stop Demand Chair Mike Pinkney says, “For New Zealand’s largest retail group to step up in this manner is a stunning show of ethical leadership. In addition, as more men step up individually to denounce as abhorrent all forms of violence against women and model healthier forms of masculinity, change will take place. The fact this decision falls on the eve of White Ribbon Day is timely. We congratulate The Warehouse Group on their decision.”

Although Stop Demand’s approach to TW Group focused on GTA V, it is pleased that the game was a catalyst for the Group’s decision on other R18 products being sold by its subsidiaries The Warehouse and Noel Leeming.

Stop Demand urges other stockists of GTA V including “big names” Dick Smith and JB Hi-Fi to follow the lead of The Warehouse Group and put ethics and the “betterment of society” ahead of profits.

Stop Demand Foundation calls for action to stop sexual violence, sexual exploitation and sexual denigration of women and children www.stopdemand.org

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