Thompson Blames Penny Arcade For Canceling Debate That He Wouldn't Agree To... Huh?

June 5, 2007 -
As reported by GamePolitics, a proposed Jack Thompson debate at PAX 07 nows seems unlikely given the anti-game attorney's refusal to agree to terms set forth by the event sponsor, Penny Arcade.

The primary bone of contention was Penny Arcade's desire to keep Thompson's appearance a closely-held secret, revealing it just prior to the actual debate in late August at PAX.

The volatile Thompson, however, blew that possibility sky-high late last week by revealing the ongoing debate negotiations to several media outlets. Kotaku was first to run with the story on Friday evening.

Having declined the terms of the debate, Thompson now says he blames Penny Arcade. In an e-mail to GP this morning he wrote:
I have repeatedly emailed... Penny Arcade and told them of my willingness, from the start and now, to engage in the debate.  They are the ones who canceled the debate, not I.
Their concern about "security" is absurd and a contrivance.  All they have to do is limit the number of admitees to 6000...  This is not rocket science. This is not going to be like the Stones at Altamonte, for Heaven's sake.  Real security, not Hell's Angels will be providing security.
What GamePolitics or others need to do is get to the bottom of why they really wanted to announce the debate one hour before it occurrs.  Now THAT would cause a stampede that would not allow them to have passes in the hands of those who want to go. 

I'm surprised, Dennis, frankly, that you have so naively taking this dodge.  I believe what happened is that they thought I would never accept the debate offer, and they planned to use that for p.r. purposes.

GP: As I said to Thompson in a reply to his e-mail, his contention doesn't hold water. How could Penny Arcade be using the debate for P.R. when it was their intent to keep it secret right up until PAX? What's more, Thompson was the one who revealed the debate proposal to the world, not PA.

As we wrote on Saturday, the anti-game activist missed a huge opportunity here. Despite all of the negative history between the embattled Miami lawyer and Penny Arcade (which includes Thompson's 2005 attempt to get the Seattle P.D. and F.B.I. after PA), the PA crew was ready to afford near-rock star (oh, the irony...) treatment to Thompson to make this debate a reality.

Sounds like there may be someone here who doesn’t want to debate but still craves the publicity. However, we don't think it's Penny Arcade.

GP POLL RESULTS: Despite its apparent demise, GP readers overwhelmingly would like to see a Thompson debate. Of more than 1,100 respondents to our recent poll, 74% favored a Thompson-Penny Arcade debate. 20% said no, and 6% were undecided.



history repeats itself.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, horror and true crime comics flourished, with EC Comics the most successful, artistically creative, and infamous publisher of such comics, many containing violence and gore. Targeting these and other comics, politicians and moral crusaders (without any basis of evidence) blamed comic books as a cause of crime, juvenile delinquency, drug use, and poor grades. The psychiatrist Fredric Wertham's book Seduction of the Innocent, concerned with what he perceived to be sadistic and homosexual undertones in horror and in superhero comics, respectively, raised anxieties about comics. This led the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency to take an interest in comic books. As a result of these concerns, schools and parent groups held public comic-book burnings, and some cities banned comic books.

i also seem to recall a similar action in the 80's about heavy metal music and in the 90s with rap. someday maybe people will learn from the past and maybe there wont be so many people making themselves look dumb.

The big question seems to be: Why didn’t Penny Arcade want to announce the debate until shortly beforehand?

Brian Crecente of Kotaku says the PA boys told him:

“They wanted to leave it as a surprise until the moment the grey-coiffed head of Jack appeared under the limelight so as to prevent way too many people trying to pack in a room that could never hope to hold everyone who would want to witness this epic event, but Jack wanted to put out a press release about the appearance.”

This is confirmed by Thompson himself:

“Penny Arcade said that it was concerned that too many people would want to go if word got out too widely that Thompson would be at the event.”

Is that the only reason for keeping it a secret? Maybe, maybe not. To me, it sounds like a combination of crowd control and a fun surprise for the attendees.

Andrew Eisen

Now that I look at it, I wouldn't want to see Jackie Boy spin facts endlessly (after all, that's what his debates consist of). Knowing him and his press releases (which are notorious for dropping my IQ), not to mention his TV appearances (I was not surprised to see him on a news channel like FOX), I don't know if I could handle any more spin from this guy. So I'm half-happy to see the debate gone.

Click on the hyperlink in my name and we'll celebrate, hmm?

chip Says:
"“Their concern about “security” is absurd and a contrivance.”
In a room full of gamers? Isn’t he the nitwit who thinks people who play games are violent?"

Hahaha, good point Chip.

Silly Thompson. He's such an attention whore that even the prospect of a debate has him foaming at the mouth for PR, sending out the initial "spill the beans" email. The guy loves online drama that much.

Thompson must be EXTREMELY ignorant if he thinks normal security is going to stop at least 200-6000 pissed off gamers.

Jack is just passing the buck.

Jack's refual to do a debate has been brought up before. Namely the fact that Jack refused to honor his own "I'll debate anyone in the industry" challenge because when someone did want to. Jack would not do it unless he was paid roughly $3000 for the speaking arrangement

And if anything Jack "taking his ball and going home" has done nothing but strengthen PA's side of the arguement.

And I hate to be self depreciating of Gamer's in general, but one thing rings true for this in that you can never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

And BTW Altamont is a horrible analogy for this. Altamont was 300,000 people at a raceway in Alameda and a group of drunk/drugged up Hell's Angels

Watch the footage of the concert and you can see every person in a Hell's Angels jacket is out of it. The footage of the incident at altamont:

To me, it seems to me that the security that PA is concerned about is not Thompson's, but that of the event as a whole. Think of it this way: if the debate were to happen under PA's conditions, then PAX would draw its usual (read: large, but manageable) number of fans, who would then be treated to a special extra. No problem.

If the debate were to take place under Thompson's conditions, however, with an announcement and plenty of media coverage beforehand, the number of people coming to PAX could possibly swell to the point of becoming unmanageable, with a larger-than-usual amount of party-crashers as well. And if just one out-of-control group of rowdy, cramped attendees manages to cause some major disturbance, then it's bye-bye venue for any future PAXs, and Krahulik and Holkins have both stated that they are extremely happy with the large venue they have now, and would presumably want to avoid trying to find a new home for the event.

If you think about it this way, PA's probably just trying to avoid a circus, and taking the long view of keeping PAX successful over many years rather than the short one of boosting attendance to dangerous levels for this one year.

Thompson should not be elevated to the point of relevance. His career is on a downward spiral as he has alienated nearly every organization and city government that might agree with his stance. Let him fade into obscurity and let's start dealing with real problems, such as New York. By the way, has anyone heard anything about what happened to California's legislation yet?

To me, the secrecy has nothing to do with security, but with attendance. Clearly, it is obvious that MANY MANY gamers want to see JT make a fool of himself. With that knowledge in hand, PAX tickets would be in such demand, or so many would be admitted that the quality of PAX would dramatically decline. Without the knowledge of this 'superevent', PA fans will be buying PAX tickets, not irate gamers looking to throw a tomato at JT.

Oh, and JT is retarded, or just remembers events incorrectly. Only an idiot would refuse all terms, none of which were outlandish in any way, and then blame it on them...

Of course the security concern is justified:

Jack is a polarizing public figure in front of an audience of people quite in favor of that which he so rabidly spins vitriol and lies against.

Of course, if I were there, Jack would be in no danger from me.

As a matter of professional courtesy, I'll even go ahead and *assume* that he'd be in no danger from The1Jeffy. ;)

But can you make a similar guarantee about each and every one of *thousands* of people? Of course not. That's a fool's bet. You're MUCH safer assuming someone would try to make trouble.

Jack has received death threats before, which of course I, and I assume 99% of the people here utterly condemn.

PA's plan was a smart one. They didn't need the debate to sell tickets. They were going to sell out anyway. Why invite people who might want "to shut that guy up about games" using anything else other than reason, facts and logic, the three weapons Thompson fears above all else?

@ Boffo97

Thanks! :D

I don't assume anything. All I do is stand behind our history as gamers, and state that a minimum of security would have been more than adequate. There's more security in going to most sporting events in the US, than what I suggested. The secrecy was nothing but a PR move, however, and it blew up their plans.

@Black Manta...

Can you contact me by e-mail ???



Nekojin Says:

June 5th, 2007 at 1:01 pm
Jer: A mediator-controlled debate is the only way that Thompson will shut up long enough for his opponent(s) to get a word in edgewise to combat his propaganda.


Let's see. There was that radio interview that John Bruce did last year (?) and a guy from NIMF called in and John Bruce wouldn't let the guy get in a word and John Bruce kept trying to change the subject to something other than what he and the hosts had been talking about (Bully).
And there was that court case before Bully came out where John Bruce was acting up in the courtroom.

I'm sure others can think of times where John Bruce didn't want to act intelligently, even with a moderator/referee/judge.

NW2K Software

I can't see this as a win for JT - the security question is quite simple, really. There's a nut in every crowd, as was said earlier, and this is the equivalent of inviting a Klan member to an NAACP convention to debate his racist views. You don't think some nutbag wouldn't blow the Klan dude away? Its the same with games, and although gamers don't have the history of inequality and injustice that African Americans have in the 'States, people of EVERY walk of life are good at convincing themselves that they're being persecuted.

Security was a GREAT idea, and limiting a 20,000+ attendance event to 6,000 people would be idiotic at best.

Thompson's only interest in this whole thing was to say "I wanted to debate and they canceled on me! They're AFRAID!" Nothing could be farther from the truth - if JT wants to debate at a gamer's convention, he must learn that he cannot dictate every term. The bottom line is that the people who ORGANIZE the convention have the power, and the convention will go on without him. With the facts about his involvement in the open, and his un-acceptable terms aired here and elsewhere, JT further proves what a coward he is, at least to those of us who can read between the lines. Of course, he'll lie 'till the end of the world to say that PA canceled the debate, but even if they did we couldn't blame them because they cannot in good faith agree to JTs unreasonable demands. Even in his lies he is his own worst enemy. He must adapt to the reality of the situation or prove himself an inflexible, pathetic old man who still fails to comprehend how many gamers there are out there.

I'd imagine the security concerns are primarily in regards to crowd control, and for the event as a whole. I doubt Mr. Massacre Chaser would be in any danger of harm, unless you count someone nailing him with a rotten tomato as harm.

Announcing it well in advance, with plenty of coverage is just going to attract people that want to boo JT. Which with a figure like Jacko, is just begging for an unruly crowd, which is just asking for someone to get hurt.

Announcing it just beforehand on the other hand, would draw a large but manageable crowd with no time for anyone to talk themselves into causing a scene.

The problem is that while the safest route is good PR for Penny Arcade, it's poor PR for Jack. Jack would be unable to handle himself well in a debate in this venue. He'd come in a distant last against whoever he was debating, and the guys at PA would be able to say they got Jack to come debate at PAX where he was treated civilly but lost the debate.

The reverse is also true. It's in Jack's interest to trumpet his appearances from a couple of standpoints. The likely boost in attendance would mean he'd get to boast about how he debated in front of x*10 number of people in the future instead of just x number of people. Plus given it's Jack, and given the coverage, you'd almost certainly get some idiot making a scene. You know, obscenities, rotten food, that sort of thing. That'd boost Jack's standing regardless of how he did in the debate as he could distract by pointing at the immaturity. Plus with the increased overcrowding, you increase the likelihood of someone getting hurt by accident. Which would be bad press for PA and PAX.

So I'd say that the security concerns definitely exist. But the lack of compromise that killed this had more to do with PR concerns.

I guess being the "senior" citizen that he is (and I'm using that term *loosely* and rather derisively), old age does bring a touch of paranoia that everyone's out to get him.

Well, I think Thomspon has a valid point and put it over well.

Any competent security team will make sure there's a safe path for him to avoid the crowds and make sure there's an escape route, and that's just for a worst case scenario.

The no pre-publicity term might have been a good ideabut it's not one that Peny arcade should have imposed unilaterally. They obviously have their reasons. Thompson has a clear and perfectly understandable desire to make sure he's heard.

Unfortunately squigs, the "Security teams" are not there SOLELY for jt.

The "security teams" are volunteers and they have to watch an estimated 30,000 people. They can not be worried about jt also. They are not there to escort him around as he makes a fool of himself, they are not his personal body guards, or any of that.

The only thing clear and understandable about jt's desire is to make a scene where he can get press, that is all he cares about, this was never about a true debate, not in his intentions anyways. If there is a will, there is a way. He very clearly does not have the will.

Wait, I thought GP wasn't going to give Thompson a platform anymore? Right? Am I crazy or did I not read that previously?

Yeah, kinda what I thought. Can't stop reporting on someone who'se your biggest draw. Even if he is the world's most uninformed ambulance chaser.

>> His point was that his refusal to debate would be used by PA (”they thought I would never accept the debate offer, and they planned to use that for p.r. purposes.”). You seemed to have completley missed the mark with “using the debate for P.R.” as his contention was that his *refusal* would be used as PR.

And this comment system just cut out my entire post. Great.

Suffice it to say that offering a legitimate debate to Jack Thompson is an exercise in futility, as he has no interest in it. His only interest is in situations he can reframe to his benefit in order to get attention and, by extension, money.

[...] Everybody’s favorite lawyer Jack Thompson is at it again: he cancelled a debate with Penny Arcade and is now blaming them for cancelling it. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Apparently, PA was keeping the debate a secret before it would happen at PAX 07, but it was actually Thompson who revealed to Kotaku that he was going to be at the event exchanging words with the people who he threatened with the FBI. [...]

Guys, look. He found a way to pussy his way out of it. He knows he has no legitimate debate, and that TV crews will probably be at the event. So he griped about the terms until it was not worth trying.

Congratulations John Bruce Thompson. You are the biggest lying pussy assed piece of shit on God's Green Earth.

I'm personally glad this fell through. I don't think anyone should give Jack Thompson any more publicity than he already gets. The sooner he disappears from the public spotlight the better we all would be. His 15 minutes are long over...

Are you kidding? Jack is my bestest friend in the whole world. I mean, come on. If Jack Thompson is the guy who is trying to crush your hobby under his ineffective crazy little thumb, then what do you have to worry about? All this guy needs is a gamer sidekick to be there where stupid shit comes out of his mouth so that it can be immediately(Or soon there after) disproved.

Wacko jacko needs to chill penny arcade just set rules and he did not want to follow what a loser

jack is a slag

How could Penny Arcade be using the debate for P.R. when it was their intent to keep it secret right up until PAX?

Post-PAX, Dennis. Without advanced notice given to outside media, Thompson may have been afraid of wildly skewed reports on how the debate might have gone.

I also want to cry foul on the "security" claims. Let's be honest, a lot can happen over the course of an hour. The initial decision wasn't exactly secure in and of itself. Convention officials could have announce JT's debate, phone calls would have gone out, and someone's freaked-out maniac friend could easily have shown up with a weapon and attacked our fearless pundit. The only difference between their plans then and the situation now is when Mr. Maniac Friend buys his ticket.

The problem is that Jack, at these places, sets out to deliberately insult and demean gamers in general, what Jack was HOPING for was to push some kid until he lost his temper, and then blame it on computer games, kind of Ironic considering his behaviour on TV over the 'Massacre Chaser' comment.

That was why Jack wanted the thing to be more public before the day. I don't see 6000+ people, including non-IT related reporters, deliberately miscontruing the events of the debate in their own favour, it would be impossible with that many people present, so I don't buy that line of reasoning.

Basically, Jack wanted to promote himself and make as much money as possible from the debate, whereas Penny Arcade wanted a serious intelligent debate. When they refused to turn PAX into 'The Jack Thompson Show', he pulled out.

Does anybody else see the irony in what he's trying to fight for?

If he thinks that people are not willing to own up to their own incompetence for being unable to regulate their children's gaming, and that people are making games for violent-training reasons...

What makes him think that suddenly, these same "irresponsible" people take the responsibility to go out and vote? Especially when the stronger half can easily just shoot it down and let it continue?

Power lies in who has the better sized wallet sometimes.

If he's fighting against video games, he's fighting Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Three of the biggest companies around. And to think they'll go down quietly is misguided at best. Lawyers will shred him if he even tries to go so far as to ban a large majority of video games. And his success rate for doing nigh anything is less than stellar.

So, if he was sane and logical, he'd see it this way: "I am in a situation where I could rally the masses and the masses would get crushed, and I'd be the scapegoat".

Rather, he sees it as "Video Games are Evil! Surely Good will come along and vanquish it if I keep trying! Or maybe if I send the FBI at it."

Wake up Jack Thompson, we're gamers; we outrank you in terms of numbers, and enough of us are quite within voting range. And those who aren't have parents who probably like said games. They ARE the ones buying them or providing the means for them.

I mean, its not even just the fact that he's got huge corporations and we're ready to knock his ass to the ground before he can do anything: His own worst enemy is himself. His tactics aren't worth a damn; his debating skills are shoddy, and slanderous at best. I recall a debate with him and Co-Host Adam Sessler from G4's X-Play, and he clearly won in terms of logical arguing.

He called out the FBI over a Webcomic. He goes out of his way to threaten a Webcomic, and then when they fight back, he ran to his corner and said "Stop harrassing me!", throwing out lawsuits at whomever tries and fails miserably.

Does he have ANYTHING going for him? Who is still signing this guy's paychecks? He's deluded into his own world, and for some reason people are just refusing to knock some sense into him, indulging his insane ramblings.

He's got no sense of decency either. Within the Virginia Tech shootings, he immediately dove upon it and said "VIDEO GAMES DID IT!" At least give the people involved a chance to mourn. Or at least let people find some evidence supporting the claim.

Why this man goes on with his life is beyond me. At this rate, he'll either snap (worse than now, mind you) or have a heart attack.

Simply stated... Jack Thompson: He's an indecent human being trying to fight indecent games that are only as such to certain people, but he's fighting the problem and not the source, which is irresponsible parents and/or workers at stores. And thats sad.

This is a fight he simply cannot win without destroying video games entirely. And he can't. Nobody really can, save an act of god. Either society changes its ways or it doesn't.

Untill that time, Jack Thompson, if you read this, take the time to reflect; Is it REALLY worth the effort your feeble mind is putting forth? I'm 17, and I bet $20 that I could debate your head off in mere minutes. I bet another $20 that my 11-year-old cousin could do it.

[...] The end is near!~ So, I saw this youtube video featured on Headline News over the weekend, plugged it in, and watched it. Laughed until I felt my girlfriend lactate, then got curious about the significance of Headline News featuring youtube. So, I set aside one minute and thirty six seconds to perform an extensive search on youtube. I was looking for a youtube video of Headline News featuring a youtube video. Finding it, I decided that it fit in to the twenty third quatrain of Nostradamus, and also some stuff in revelations, like 42:23, 5:23, 69:420 or something like that. As soon as the epiphany hit me, I thought it was important enough to give all of you a heads up, kind of like an early warning system of things to come. It can only get worse. Next thing you know, Fox will feature something from Penny Arcade. __________________ Φ [...]
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :


Which group is more ethically challenged?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Adam802 - 7:12am
Adam802Possible plea deal in Yee case: - 7:11am
MattsworknameInfo, Im with goth on this, the moment people start saying "You can but you shouldnt" thats a slow slide into censorship07/01/2015 - 6:05am
InfophileIn other words, you stopped when you found out it was arguing for a position you disagreed with, but before you found out why.07/01/2015 - 5:29am
Goth_Skunk"In short, anyone can write a rape scene—but should they? Chances are, the answer is no." And that's where I stopped reading.07/01/2015 - 5:11am
InfophileRelevant to our discussion of rape in fiction yesterday: - 4:58am
Mattsworknameof players, over and over for the last seveal years. Among non RPG games, which make up the vast majority of current games, I think that you still see a large scale disparity between male and female in the AAA industry.07/01/2015 - 1:36am
Mattsworknamewilson. Out of RPG players yes, thats true, and in pc ciricles im not suprised, but RPGS make a small fraction of Console games these days and while pc gaming is seeing a resurgance, MMOs are actually retracting in size , as shown by WOW losing millions07/01/2015 - 1:33am
Matthew Wilsonhere is the study to prove it. - 1:17am
Matthew Wilson@matt wrong over half of rpg players, both singleplayer and mmos, are female.07/01/2015 - 1:15am
MechaCrashRight, women don't usually play AAA games because none are aimed at them because they don't play them because none are aimed at them because okay you see where I'm going with this.07/01/2015 - 1:11am
MattsworknameI think the better path is this, more games built to give you the Choice of playing as male or female, and give the females good voice actors07/01/2015 - 1:08am
Mattsworknameup more then a fraction of the AAA games industry, but they make up a much larger part of the moble market.07/01/2015 - 1:04am
Mattsworknameandrew is right, to a point, as you are seeing a slow increase of women in games, but the sales shows that the lions share of gaming money comes from a male demo, and while andrew is right that it is changing, it's gonna be a LONG time before women make07/01/2015 - 1:04am
Andrew EisenI think more professional gamblers should get into games publishing. They'll play the odds but they'll also take risks to maximize profits.06/30/2015 - 11:57pm
Andrew EisenAt the end of the day, the ball is rolling and it's rolling in the right direction. Maybe not as fast as we'd like, but it is moving. All we can do is play the games that interest us and make our thoughts known.06/30/2015 - 11:55pm
Matthew Wilsonits unfortunate that the dataset is so tiny for female leads, and is a mixed bag, so money people get the wrong idea.06/30/2015 - 11:54pm
Andrew Eisen"Duke Nukem Forever sold poorly. See? Games staring white guys don't sell!" Pretty silly thing to say.06/30/2015 - 11:50pm
Andrew EisenOr, at the very least, that gamers aren't turned off by female leads.06/30/2015 - 11:49pm
Matthew Wilsonyou would think games like metriod, portal and tomb raider would show that it work, but hopefuly those knew ones will.06/30/2015 - 11:47pm

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician