Mass Effect-bashing Pundit Backs Off

January 17, 2008 -
What a week gamers shared with conservative talk show host and author Kevin McCullough (left).

On Monday GamePolitics reported that McCullough had wrong-headedly trashed Mass Effect, treating the popular and well-regarded 360 title with the kind of disgust usually reserved for snuff films.

On Wednesday we were outraged by McCullough's Thompson-esque bashing of "gamer nerds."

But now McCullough has backed off a good bit, even issuing an apology of sorts:
Based on the multitude of response by gamers who share my concern for decency in the entertainment of our children, it is obvious that I had been misinformed on at least two points of substance in my original column.

For this I DO apologize to the gaming universe!

...I still do concur with my original position that the objectionable content in Mass Effect is still offensive, and should be kept out of the hands of those under age.

GP: Well... To be honest, Kevin, your original position wasn't that Mass Effect was merely "offensive," but rather that it constituted digital sodomy and "virtual orgasmic rape." But we're glad you're willing to learn from other viewpoints (unlike some critics we know). McCullough continues:
Mass Effect fans have demonstrated that the three minute cuts on YouTube are only arrived at after hours of play. So in their argument the "percentage" of objectionable content is heavily outweighed by the overwhelming amount of content leading up to it. Point well made...

GP: While we respect and appreciate McCullough's about-face, the real take-away from this episode is the persuasive power of gamers when they unite against a common threat.

McCullough spent most of this week's radio program discussing the Mass Effect affair with some very level-headed gamers. It's worth a listen...


As I've said previously : forgive, but don't forget.

What a tool.

This is weaseling out in a classic sense.

I kind of get the impression that the reason everyone gave this guy such attention this week is because we were kind of bored...

I think it's more due to the massive umbrage "Gamer-Nerds" get when they see misinformation being thrust at a "protect-the-children" public who actually have the power to change laws. That and we LIVE off of arguing. (see how I'm arguing with you?)

That's still not an apology.

well, one shithead realised that we have power too. 1 down, a million to go.

I have a question... Are there actually going to be any consequences for what he did? I mean, he basically lied outright. Shouldn't he be punished for this? I mean, he is in a position of power and he has used it irresponsibly. Bioware should sue him for slander. The game was rated by the ESRB people and they gave it a fair rating.

Sorry, this guy just annoys me so much.

/end rant

Are there actually going to be any consequences for what he did? I mean, he basically lied outright. Shouldn’t he be punished for this?

Sorry, Fox News set a precedent. You can lie through your teeth if you pretend you're "just reporting the news"...

I will accept his apology... in the spirit in which it was offered...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

Even though it's a step in the right direction, I still think his apology falls terribly short. Getting his facts wrong are one thing, but generalizing "Gamer-Nerds" is quite an other. I was personally offended by his statements of people like me being "sexually repressed" and then recommending that we go hire prostitutes.
That said, I listened to his radio show as well. He sounds less crazy when there's someone there to go, "wait a minute, sir!" What does this all mean, well, like GP said, we won. Someone said something hateful and obtuse about us, and we struck back. Gratz guys!


well, THAT lawer is laying lo2w because of the impending results of his debarment trial. so technically, were bored, but were stil angry. and bioware can still sue, so they should.

I'm really impressed that he didn't get caught up in the hate mail I'm sure he received in copious amounts.

Yeah, I have to agree with Skyler here. This guy really decided to chum the water of hostility and now he expects everything to be all hunky dory because he apologized for some of what he did. He has quite a lot of apologizing to do, not only to Mass Effect (which he's doing at least), but also to the gaming community as a whole.

Anyways, it is nice to see this guy at least fessing up to being a clueless idiot, although why he has to say he was wrong on "at least two points" just seems weird. It just rubs me the wrong way, the way it sounds. But anyways, guess we'll take our victories where we can.

Hi might have apologized for some of the mis-information that he spewed forth but he never once apologized for the use of "gamer-nerd" in deragatory ways or for his editor telling those who came blasting into the site to "crawl back under their rocks".
The whole thing still doesn't sit well with me nor several others that I know and have discussed this with. He continued to spew mis-information... and then got pissy and decided to start name-calling. Then he backs off his previous comments by apologizing for some of the mis-information (and edited his original articles) but leaves the name-calling thing out in the open.

Guess this will become our next name... right behind pixelante.

You'll never be able to get him to cop completely, so take what you can get and be happy with it. The guy's a evangelical internet radio host, it's his job to be a thick headed prick. He got his, now leave him alone an let him go back to wallowing in mediocrity.

The apology is not good enough, what he needs to apologise for in insulting an entire sub-culture and spreading blatant falsehoods about a game he didnt do research into.

That said at least its a start, and I'm willing to take this small victory, since he is showing some movement unlike brick-wall-thompson

This "apology" was half hearted. But at least he ceded the argument and is leaving us alone.

But he also learned a lesson. The next time he wants to bash a game, he had better be informed.

So my suggestion to everyone is to take the apology at face value and leave this guy to his obscurity.

Are you serious?

In his "apology", he lied about what he even said in the first place. Are you just forgetting he said that gamers are likely to rape in real life, are perverts, desire beastiality, live in basements, and are nerds? Not a single mention of that in his 'apology'.

He flat out lied about the game. In his apology, he continued to lie about the game, about what he said, and made no mention of the slandering he did of gamers themselves. Now we should just leave him to continue pretending he is a journalist?

No, sorry, not for me.

Until he comes out and says he lied (or at least was wrong) about the content of the game, and about gamers, I intend to be his #1 fan, making sure every one of his postings reminds him that he has yet to apologize for his fake journalism and slander. From where I sit, that's about all I can do is be a constant reminder that the person is a liar.

Not only is this about games, and gamers, but journalism as well. Why do you think there are so many stupid people out there? Because of people like this guy dumbing everyone down. Why is it so common? Because people who know better let them get away with it.

You are a blogger and do a damn fine job at making informed posts. You are also a gamer. Why not take a stand for your passions instead of just saying 'meh.'.

Maybe it's because its an election year and printed lies are everywhere, but I can't stand it anymore. We shouldn't be letting stupidity off the hook so easily.

he apologized. wonderful. the guy is still an assclown.

Well said EZK. The real problem now is that Dennis spoke the Devil's name: "By Wednesday we were angered by McCullough’s Thompson-esque bashing of “gamer nerds.” ".

He shall appear in: 5...4...3...

I'm glad my email helped.. sorta.. His apology isn't really an apology. An entire rectification of the article would be more appropriate.


I agree. The industry standard is to publish a retraction and correction in the same place as and with the same prominence of the incorrect reporting. No one can tell from Mr. McCullough's "apology" what were the factual inaccuracies in his article. That's dirt-poor journalism.

"While we respect and appreciate McCullough’s about-face, the real take-away from this episode is the persuasive power of gamers when they unite against a common threat."

Amen to that :).

My opinion of McCullough remains unchanged. The manner in which he and his editor handled the situation was pathetic. I still think he's a jackass.

Of course, if he'd just said, "I find this game offensive for the inclusion of a 60 second sex scene" instead of lashing out at in the manner he did, I seriously doubt any of this would have happened.

His own irresponsibility caused this.

Jesus, don't dignify this shmuck by referring to anything he says as "a threat." Some uninformed wanker splooging onto a blog at townhall is a threat to the gaming industry & community in the same way a mouse farting is a threat to the polar icecaps.

Mass Effect is just a TASTE of what is to come in the next 1-5 years. More games will start depicting sex in mature manners (not like the juvenile Hot Coffee or Dead or Alive ways) as part of their narratives. When that happens more frequently, you can be damn sure the bible-thumpers will be out in full force...lying as usual.

We're in for quite a ride.

*sigh* And of course he can't apologize for any of the hateful remarks.

30 second cutscene, not 3 minutes...

This is what happens when the big N releases Pac Attack and Riot Zone on the Virtual Console. Everybody just gets bored and starts throwing rocks at each other.

I can't wait for the same people to start on movies next! Oh, then we're in fo... oh! Wait! They don't go after movies, do they? Well curses. Here was me thinking that these people actually cared about the youth, stability and "morality" of this world rather than just venting about how much video games are the cause of all the 'moral decay' thats in this world.
What a load of BS. If that arsehole really cared about all the things he said he'd be going after all the big movie production companies. Oh, no! Wait! They're too big for him and his small mind! So, like all doucebags who couldn't get a date for the dance, he thinks up some retarded idea to and blame video games.

I hole-heartly agree with what Steve is going to do. Keep commenting on that lying bastards 'news' about how he doesn't know how to do anything right.
The cunt.

Hey Jack imitator, I would recommend looking to the nearest church for support, being a christian myself I see plenty of uninformed catholic activism, which, like Jack's "crusade" end's very humorously

still though, who knows, a bunch of uninformed people grouped under a sensationalist? you never know mr Obvious Jack Imitator

This “apology” was half hearted. But at least he ceded the argument and is leaving us alone.

But he also learned a lesson. The next time he wants to bash a game, he had better be informed.

So my suggestion to everyone is to take the apology at face value and leave this guy to his obscurity.

EZK: You of ALL people should know he most likely has not learned his lesson and that he still probably will be right there pushing.

Papa Midnight

@Jack Thompson (if this is you but I doubt it)

You have a better chance not getting your bar revoked than taking down the industry. By the way, how is your ethics trial going?

@the article
Well, at least McCollough is backing off of us. His apology, if you want to call it that, is not sufficient enough.

Of course, he'll be back. Did public display of a complete and utter lack of knowledge of games, gamers, violence in American society, and the relationships between the three ever stop Jack Thonpson? Or Dr. Phil? Or Hillary Clinton? Of course, not. When ya shake the tree and good fruit falls off, ya keep on shakin'.


If you do that, you will basically end up helping him. Do you honestly think he cares if the people who watch/listen/respond to him do so in a positive or a negative manner? As long as people give him the attention (negative or positive), he'll take it. The best choice for someone like that is to ignore that person, rather than bringing him to the limelight.

He still thinks that games shouldn't have mature content.

So he is still an asshat.

@Xlorep DarkHelm:

I vote for bringing him into the limelight for all to clearly see him for what he truly is.

why do these people even bother to get involved with things they dont understand? this is just like that RE5 thing that happened awhile back when some blogger called it racist even though the game isnt even out yet. you would think if they take what they do seriously, they would do some fucking research.

Very well said.

I don't neccessarily take great offense to his bigoted insults as they felt like a two year old could have constructed some better rocks to fling, but I DO take offense to his call for the censorship of an entire medium based on HERESAY and blatant LIES in a single example from that medium.
Until he covers all his bases and REALLY appologizes for his blatant display of bigoted ignorance/malice, McCollough is still a massive d-bag in my book.

Unacceptable apology.

Reason: Sarcasm.


Column has been pulled! Whether he did it, a suit did it, or townhall management did it, I don't know. But the original column is gone.


He apologized not out of respect, but fear... The first few words of his blogtalkradio ; "The gamers of the country are mad at me.. Find out why."

If in Russia, people kill each over Lineage 2, imagine what would happen to this sore loser in America...

You know, if it's really under your skin, has a publicly-traded corporate parent, Salem Communications (right-wing, Christian-conservative radio; 4th largest radio-owner in America). Go pull a Jack Thompson: buy one share of their stock and then proceed to hound and harrass them on the issue until they tire of you and drop Mr. McCullough.

"It is obvious that I had been misinformed on at least two points of substance in my original column."

That's why people are angry at you. You wrote a column based on hearsay; you overheard someone in Starbucks talking about the sex scene in Mass Effect and created an *entire game* in your head in order to rant about it in your column.

Suppose a photo lab guy took in a roll of your film and discovered a photograph of someone who wasn't your wife, enjoying a drink at a party. Just a friend of the family or something. He then writes and publishes a tirade about the sex games you play with your mistress. Would you accept "sorry, I was misinformed"?




That's a story worth following up on.

I don't even own an X-box... that isn't something that I concern myself... I have a life to live! I DO real things with my time

Its like McCullough is battling with the morality you get with being human and his ultra concentrated, cultivated outright evil. His knee jerk reaction is to be an asshole and the overwhelming response of logic gave his human heart a small spark, which has in vain tried to fire up.

@ Steve

That is hillarious. Another point for our side.

I hope he learned his lesson.

On a side note, I looked at Ann Coulter's latest colum called "The Elephant in the Room" It is all about how Republicans should vote for Romney, solely because he is being attackedthe hardest by the Democrats. She makes no comments on his policies or anything other than he is being hit the hardest by the Democrats.

The guy says that gamernerd is a term of endearment...
But in his radio show he still propogated the stereotype of gamers as anti-social losers by saying that the reason he doesn't play games is that he has a life --- which seems to consist mainly of saying that sex is teh eval!!! On his radio show he said that an adult bookstore was going to open near a school and he wanted to videotape the people that went into it and put the tape online. Nice...

He also kept focusing on gay and alien sex. I mean I've heard of people against gay sex but now there's something wrong with alien sex???? OK...

But if it has been pulled (an implict admission of its inaccuracy) without any stated reason as to why it was pulled, then that's about as jenky as the "apology."

When I heard this guy had a radio show, I thought he meant it was a nationally syndicated radio show, not an internet radio show without commercials or sponsors.

He still hasn't apologized for calling us wannabe-rapists.

He just pulled an "It's not my fault! I got bad advice! It was my two friends!"

In short, he's still lying and not taking responsibility for his own actions. These two elements make any apology from him worthless. He's not sorry about what he did, he's sorry he got caught and he's trying to diffuse the situation without admitting culpability.

Does that sound like a sincere apology to you?
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Which group is more ethically challenged?:

Shout box

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E. Zachary KnightSo if it is going to turn out to be a bad scene, why even bother writing it?07/01/2015 - 8:07am
E. Zachary KnightMatts, Goth, The article, and others I have read making the same conclusion, state that most people fail in their attempts to write rape scenes without being overly offensive or overly incompetent in their attempt.07/01/2015 - 8:07am
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

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