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Press Release

November 1, 2007

PTC Asks ESRB President to Reinstate “Manhunt 2’s” Original AO Rating

Additional ESRB Action Urged Against Game Publisher Rockstar Games


LOS ANGELES (November 1, 2007) – The Parents Television Council™ called on Entertainment Software Rating Board President Patricia Vance to take immediate action in response to the news that Rockstar Games allegedly did not remove explicit content from its new video game, Manhunt 2.  The PTC asked that the ESRB give the game its originally issued “Adults Only” rating at least until the ESRB can investigate.


In a letter to Ms. Vance, PTC President Tim Winter said, “When Rockstar published Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas with ‘hidden adult content, the ESRB rightfully instituted an ‘Adults Only’ rating when that adult content was disclosed.  The ESRB also said that ‘If a publisher wishes to ‘edit out’ pertinent content from a final product, it must remove the content from the disc altogether.’  Given today’s revelation that Manhunt 2 shipped containing content that was allegedly removed by the publisher in order to secure an ESRB rating of ‘Mature,’ that edict was apparently ignored.  Swift and decisive action by the ESRB is essential, and I respectfully ask that you take the following steps:


●  “Immediately reinstate the ‘Adults Only’ rating for this game. This action is consistent with ESRB precedent as demonstrated in the Grand Theft Auto controversy surrounding the ‘hot coffee’ content.


●  “Immediately suspend all ESRB review or consideration of any other software published by Rockstar or Take-Two Interactive.  Given the clear pattern of contempt by Rockstar and Take-Two, these firms have breached the trust of the entire video game rating system.  In fact, to quote your words from the Grand Theft Auto matter, Rockstar has ‘seriously undermined…the credibility and utility’ of the ratings system.


● “Immediately disclose the content that was allegedly removed by Rockstar from Manhunt 2 so that parents can have a clear understanding of exactly what remains on those games which potentially can be accessed by their children.


“Government involvement in this matter is the remedy of absolute last resort. But unless the industry as a whole, including the ESRB, steps up to the plate immediately and decisively, there is little doubt the video game ratings system will face the specter of government oversight.  Congress has already spoken – and decisively so – when it passed H. Res. 376 which expressed the will of the House that the FTC investigate whether Rockstar ‘intentionally deceived the Entertainment Software Ratings Board to avoid an ‘Adults-Only’ rating,’ and recommending the ‘toughest of penalties’ if it is found to have committed deception or fraud.  That measure passed 355-21.  Either the video game industry will step up and do the right thing, or else it will defy the public interest in order to preserve its own economic interest.  I urge the ESRB to defend the public interest.”


To schedule an interview with a PTC representative, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.

The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.




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