Cooper Lawrence: "I Misspoke" about Mass Effect

January 26, 2008 -
The pop psychologist and author who so enraged the gaming community this week with her condescending attitude and false characterizations of BioWare's Mass Effect has 'fessed up to the New York Times.

Cooper Lawrence made her comments to the NYT's Seth Schiesel, who writes of the gaming community's intense reaction to Lawrence's Monday appearance on Fox News' Live Desk. From the article:
The Internet hath no fury like a gamer scorned...

Bound by global message boards, blogs, chat rooms and of course the games themselves, gamers are perhaps the single most intense subculture on the Internet — fiercely protective of their pastime and at ease with the byways of cyberspace...

Irate gamers have flooded the page on selling Ms. Lawrence’s most recent book, “The Cult of Perfection: Making Peace With Your Inner Overachiever,” sending its user-generated rating into oblivion... Many of the reviewers admit that they have not read Ms. Lawrence’s book.

Lawrence told Schiesel:
I recognize that I misspoke. I really regret saying that, and now that I’ve seen the game and seen the sex scenes it’s kind of a joke.

Before the show I had asked somebody about what they had heard, and they had said it’s like pornography. But it’s not like pornography. I’ve seen episodes of ‘Lost’ that are more sexually explicit.

Meanwhile, BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka told Schiesel:
We’re hurt. We believe in video games as an art form, and on behalf of the 120 people who poured their blood and tears into this game over three years, we’re just really hurt that someone would misrepresent the game without even playing it. All we can hope for is that people who actually play our games will see the truth.

GP: We're delighted to see that Cooper Lawrence has come clean. But we'd also like to know exactly how the Mass Effect beat-down was orchestrated by Fox News. As GamePolitics demonstrated in an earlier case regarding Halo 3, another pyschologist was briefed on what to say just before air time (see: How Fox Morning Show Sensationalized the Halo-in-Church Issue). Did something similar take place in this case?

So far we've received no answers to three questions we posed to Lawrence earlier this week:

1.) Did Fox News brief you on the game, and to what extent?

2.) Were you instructed by Fox News to adopt a position critical of the game for the program?

3.) What study from the University of Maryland are you referring to in your comments?


[...] She fessed up here. [...]

@J C
GP is bashing Fox News because of how the game was demonized blantantly and Lawrence was given false. Fox has a long history of this. Remember the Manhunt 2 coverage? Or the Halo church controversy?

You guys realize there is no way in hell Fox would let her use up airtime so she could say that they manipulated her into debating something she knew nothing about and how she along with fox grossly mischaracterized the sex scenes.

Our point has clearly been made and an apology in the NYT is the best we can get from her out this situation. Continuing to bark up this tree just makes us look like petty assholes - not going to help gamers' image.

Now if only there was a way to make Fox News suffer the same way.

Wait a minute, EA has Lawyers (muahahahahahahahahahahahahaha)

Wonder if she happened upon this site, and it played a part in her education.

all im going to say is that people make mistakes. lets just hope she learns from it, because what she took part in was textbook slandering. and i have no doubt she knew that from the start.

zippy derail mode GO!

this is how regulation should work not with bureaucratical red tape made by the goverment to feed the issenant machine but a backlash by the community, we do not need the government to protect the flow of money into itself over the needs of the populace, FCC get rid of it, liscneing boards good bye, IRS down sized, homeland sec back to the pit with you.

ack me trains!*rides a rail rider into the canyon below*

A summary of the study she referred to can be read in this blog post. He links to the Washington Post's coverage of the study and the first comment to the blog links to a blog post by the study's primary author. The actual study can be obtained here (I believe this to be the correct study).

Huh, so the way to get lying gamer critics to apologize and retract their statement and finally tell the truth is to hurt them financially??
Who could've guessed that....everybody? Oh ok…

Seriously we should go and review all books of these ‘experts’ when they lie up to months after apology, maybe after a while they’ll learn that lying doesn’t pay?

To everyone that says this is childish, you are mistaken, hurting someone financially to get them to stop doing what they are doing is a time honored tradition going back to when the first trading standard was established(thousands of years)…

As for this ‘expert’, she can complain to Amazon all she wants, I’ll keep posting one star reviews until she explains exactly how this attack by Faux News was designed and executed…

Although I recognize and am glad that she admitted to what she has done, she should still be harshly and permanently punished by whoever regulates psychologists, she should have her right to practice or call herself one removed and banned by law. She has admitted to behavior that is not professional, and as soon as someone does that they should not be allowed to call themselves one.

Fox should also be punished, and forced to pay a large amount of money, and anyone involved directly in the creation of that "news" should be as well.

[...] Thanks to GamePolitics for making me aware. [...]

Apology accepted.

On top fo that, she outted Fox News on their tactics. She likely didn't even know what the segment was to be about, and given as little info as possible to keep her as knee jerk as possible.

Looks like Lawrence is level-headed after all- she recognizes that gamers do have an influence on the press and media, and know how to right the wrongs. She was blatantly misinformed (oddly enough, just like the way the doctor at that one talk show that was comparing brain scans).

At least she came clean about her misinformation unlike certain other people who are too deluded with their ideas of "holy crusades", ahem...For now, EA and gamers no longer have to lash out because the panelist apologized, and Fox News no longer has anything to add at her behalf.

But I do think this kind of rumor-mongering shouldn't happen in professional journalism. Passing on second-hand information and calling it research? That's just like writing up some bullcrap at the last minute before English class and turning in a barely done term paper. Fox sure likes to procrastinate on topical stories.

[...] Source: Cooper Lawrence: “I Misspoke” about Mass Effect Bookmark it: [...]

I wish people wouldn't let her off the hook so quickly. She went on national TV and started to bash something she had no knowledge of. In her "apology" she states that she asked someone about the game and they said it was like pornography. Did she do her own research and find out for herself? No.

If she really wants to make a proper apology, she needs to go back on fox, on the exact same show. While on the show, she needs to defend the game against the exact same panel. This followed by an apology for acting as an expert in an area where she knows nothing about.

Well, you know what would fix all this?

Keep making games and getting more kids to play them, so in 20-30 years, this'll be over and done with people who actually know about games in charge.

In the meantime, Fox News is just going to sensationalize and misrepresent anything they feel like.

Until Fox apologizes and corrects it's previous "news story," I won't be happy. I respect that Ms Lawrence corrected her mistake, and am no longer P-Oed at her, but Fox still has to correct itself

Seriously, guys, the Amazon thing is dirty pool, not to mention infantile.

Exactly how are people who bash a book they've never read any better than someone who bashed a game she'd never played?

Battle not with monsters, lest you become one.

After loudly and passionately decrying a game she's never seen in her life on national television, her "apology" is nothing more than a little blurb in a newspaper? What a great human being, just the kind who should write books telling people how screwed up they are and how they should change.

Awfully funny way to misspell 'lied about the contents of' ... but ok. (Still doesn't excuse her from not doing research, though.)

I'm sure they told her what to say. I'm willing to bet a lot of news stations do that. A friend of mine, she had a friend who was in an interview about cosplay, and they told her what to wear and what to say; it was all set up, and in quite a biased way.

News stations have two goals. Ratings, and money.

But it's good to see she came out about it.

Hey Cooper - want to avoid this in the future? How about doing a little RESEARCH????

@Orange Soda

Though you do have to admit its funny that her book was slammed by a bunch of people who haven't read it. She give a derisive laugh when asked if she actually played the game to find this content. Well she isn't laughing now that people who haven't read her book have put down their judgment on it now is she?

You know, I was going over her statement and I realized something: SHE DID NOT APOLOGIZE. Rather she said that "I recognize that I misspoke. I really regret saying that, and now that I've seen the game and seen the sex scenes it's kind of a joke.

"Before the show I had asked somebody about what they had heard, and they had said it's like pornography. But it's not like pornography. I've seen episodes of 'Lost' that are more sexually explicit."

At no point does she say that she is sorry for her remarks or the pain that it caused our community. So I say that until she comes out with a real apology, I don't feel that anyone needs to ease up on anything anyone decides to do to her.

Until I hear the words "I'm sorry" followed by a laundry list of everyone involved with the game from the developer, publisher, retailers, players, and anyone else who took offensive at her offensive remarks.

And you aren't going to see such an apology either Ren. But we have to meet people half way on these issues. The fight that we are in to defend our hobby from its detractors isn't a sprint, its a marathon. Going further from the whole civil rights thing someone mentioned earlier, it didn't go from African-Americans being freed from slavery to being CEOs of companies overnight. Right now, we have to take what we can get.


I'm not surprised, actually. I think this is an issue that goes way beyond video games and Fox news. I think it's simply a side-effect of the way many/most news programs are run.

I wonder about any time a news network is doing a piece about some issue and has a couple of "experts" commenting on it. Just by watching the piece, do any of us have a way to know how much info the so called experts actually have, or how recently they were briefed? If it's an issue we aren't familar with, how can we know that they aren't making gross mistakes in what they are saying?

As for Cooper Lawrence... well, it's annoying that she spoke on national TV about an issue she didn't really have good information about, and I think she should have refused to go on the show unless she was given more info or more time to find out stuff for herself. So I'm still annoyed at her. But at least she's admitting the thing was a pretty much a joke now.


I work in the industry and everytime some stupid moron opens their mouth it hurts. It hurts our sales, image, and even my own reputation. I still get the occasional earful, scornful remark, or am simply avoided because other parents listen to these people and take what they say as gospel. I realize that blacks (as I like to be called because I was never in Africa and even if I was I would be an American African, but that's another debate) had a difficult struggle, but would you have told a black guy in the 20's that slavery only ended a few years ago, so the white people who raped your daughter isn't as bad because now you're free?

Just because change is slow to come doesn't mean we shouldn't demand respect from those who spit hatred.

"@Orange Soda

Though you do have to admit its funny that her book was slammed by a bunch of people who haven’t read it. She give a derisive laugh when asked if she actually played the game to find this content. Well she isn’t laughing now that people who haven’t read her book have put down their judgment on it now is she?"

No, it's not funny. It's childish, moronic, and not even the least bit original.

But I have the same opinion about Family Guy, most Adult Swim comedies, the average Will Ferrell movie, and other such stuff. My sense of humor lies elsewhere.

Besides, funny or not, there are better ways to get the point across, as I tried to express earlier.

Orange Soda,

If you want to engage in other forms of protest, then perhaps you should provide some examples. I have one:

Let her know how you feel. She has a radio show on M-F from 7p-10p Eastern. You can call her here and let her know how you feel:1-877-6-COOPER

Misspoke? Oy vey. For once, I wish folks would actually do some freakin' research before they started popping off with their false statements. Geez. I do find it funny the chick had to have her book totally ripped to shreds on Amazon before she'd come out and see what a complete tool she'd been.

"Besides, funny or not, there are better ways to get the point across, as I tried to express earlier."

There ARE other ways. They wouldn't have worked. But there are other ways. Or do you honestly think sitting down with her and trying to have a civil discussion like two adults would have been any more successful than it has been with Thompson?


"Just because change is slow to come doesn’t mean we shouldn’t demand respect from those who spit hatred."

You can demand all you want, but you are a fool if you think you will get it.


So I am a fool to hope? That's not what I learned watching Shawshank Redemption.

Any sort of peaceful protest is fine, in my opinion. Email, Phone calls, public speaking, assemblies, letters to the editor, other stuff. The point I've been trying to make is that however we protest, we should do it in a way that doesn't turn the reasonable people away. Honey and not vinegar, etc.

I strongly disapprove of playing dirty. Protest however you like, just keep it clean. If people want to smear gaming's image, the best thing to do is to keep that image clean. There's no point in demanding respect if you haven't earned it.

As far as Lawrence Cooper goes, I think it'd be beating a dead horse to keep going after her. The point's been made. Keeping a grudge wouldn't accomplish anything. My argument is meant to apply to any such situation. As I recall, McCullough reacted badly to hatred, but became more reasonable once he heard arguments from people who were willing to be reasonable. It won't work on the severely closed-minded, but just because some are lost causes doesn't mean that others who take their position are also lost causes.

I can accept McCollough's and Lawrence's half-apologies, because they've at least gone so far as to admit that they've done something wrong, which is more than some people have done. I can respect anyone who is capable of admitting wrongdoing. I believe in giving the benefit of the doubt.

Orange Soda,

This does not affect just me, but my kids as well. Because I work in the game industry, there are parents out there who simply will not let their kids play with mine because they fear that because I work in the industry I let my kids play whatever games they want.

When I first discovered this, I became a more active parent in the school in an attempt to disspell those rumors, but so long as chicks like this can get on the air and spout lies, I have no problem with what other people are doing. Short of physical harm, I don't see anything wrong with people expressing themselves however they like.

Perhaps after this sideshow goes by the wayside, others will see how the community reacted and will think twice.

Well, we know one thing for certain: she didn't do any research before saying what she did. At least she came clean

Oh yeah, good job to Jeff from Spike tv, even if they did cut him off from making his last truthful statement that would have wiped away the crap/lies they said about Mass Effect

The detractors will of course claim this apology was bullied out of her. Its unfortunate that she couldnt have done her research before this happened.

Wait... SHE WATCHES LOST?!?!? 0.o
I mean, admitting her folly to the Press ALREADY negated my hate for her, but daaaaang, that is FULL of win!!!

/+10,000 rep

Do i think she really cares that she lied? probably not. but absolutely no one is going to buy that book from amazon so she wont much money as she would have normally.
But i have to give her credit for actually comming clean and talking out against the negative coverage.
so she learned her lesson...i guess

Lesson=Don't piss off the biggest consumer group out there.

I laughed so hard when I went to her amazon page the other day and all the tags relating to her were "liar, bigot, hypocrite, etc" It was simply hilarious.

Even though she admitted she was wrong, she will never get my respect for the simple fact that she couldn't youtube the scene beforehand. She was too lazy to do some research.

Why would anyone buy this liars book? They should be burnt to heat the homeless.

A letter emailed to Cooper:

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

I would like to commend you on your handling of recent events. most notably the fact that you actually stood up and admitted to the flaws in the Fox News Mass Effect fiasco. Of those individuals who blacklist video games for whatever reason, very few indeed have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and admit to it when they are in the wrong. You did, however, and that is a credit to you.

Of course, it is somewhat marred by the suspicion that you only apologized to end the Amazon review fiasco, as opposed to being sincere, but I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

I would like to remind you that, and I quote, asking "somebody about what they had heard" is not good research. This is essentially the real world equivalent of restricting your research to Wikipedia, which would have college professors raging mad. In this instance, it is especially worrying, as all it would have taken to view the scene in question was maybe five minutes on Youtube. I urge you to devote yourself to better research methods in the future to avoid another such incident.

In the interest of fair play, I would like to apologize for those individuals who have been vulgar or threatening in their responses to you. While what you did was wrong, such responses are going over the line of reason, and are a minority among the gaming community.

Finally, if you are reading this portion, I would like to enthusiastically commend you a second time for actually reading this entire email. The fact that you did again puts you a cut above the rest of the people the gaming community has been dealing with. Thank you.

@All the people accepting her "appology"
You all realise that she didn't appologize at all right? She is just blaming her actions on Fox's deliberate misinformation. Note that she only said this to the NYT. This doesn't excuse her own blatant lies, her own malicious statements about gamers and Mass Effect, her clear bias and bigotry that was purely fed by misinformation, and that she didn't even bother to take a second to RESEARCH her subject matter like a professional beforehand.
Don't accept a half-hearted 'I was wrong', when all that it is 'Well damn, you caught me lying.'

The NYT article unfortunately only paints half the picture in what has happened surrounding the Fox "News" shenanigans. There was (and still is) a serious grass-roots effort on the part of gamers as a whole, to make sure that this SLANDER is to be corrected or that those who participated in the SLANDER are publicly exposed for what they did.

I'm personally very glad that not only gamers themselves are defending their favorite passtime as a coheisive group, but that (FINALLY) game publishers and developers are going to be there at the defense as well. It's been far too long that our collective voice has been left unheard and unnoticed when things go bad in our direction, hopefully this is only the begining of a larger general turnaround in our favor.
To quote Starcraft 2 "It's about damn time."

Mispoke? Understate much?
Who did she ask about the Mass Effect sex scene that would say it's like pornography? Was it a priest? The very least she should of done was view the scene in question. At least then, she would have known what she was talking about.

This event has me seriously questioning the validity of all 24 hour news channels. IF they are going to do stories, they should spend much more time on the stories and allow the guests greater information on the topics (for example, telling them what they will be discussing a few days before their appearance). Also, allowing the guests a few minutes to discuss the topic amongst themselves to a let them feel in the gaps of their knowledge and build some respect for each other would help. It might avert future such situations. Isn't that right, darlings?

@ Artifex

Totally agree. I wonder how hidden it was in the NYT.

Also, I don't really think she's that important. Nobody even made her a wikipedia page, and every major famous person has a wikipedia page. She's only doing this for attention.

She's just an attention whoring feminazi. I really doubt this did any real damage to EA and Mass Effect. I hope EA does get something good from all this.

Average Gamer,

Claiming that you received false information and apologizing are two different things. If she were to actually apologize, I might consider giving her a break. However, she has not done so. Until she does, she will continue to be on my sh*t list and I will be more than happy to see every shady denizen of the internet take her down in anyway they see fit, short of physical violence.


She didn't realize her mistake, she is simply shifting responsibility from her to Fox. While I have my own problems with Fox, should we really be surprised by their tactics?

The gaming community is going after her for her specific attacks and gross generalazations about gamers in general (average gamer is 13 years old, yeah whatever).

Until I hear something far more substantial, I don't think anyone needs to ease up. In fact, I would be for ratcheting it up because this bs pr combover should not be tolerated. Also, this will hopefully have an effect on any other commenter who is looking to pimp their piece of sh*t book on Fox.

I'm not sure why Fox News (which I watch religiously) would knowingly say things about this game that aren't true. I mean, this is the type of stuff I expect from CBS, but not from FNC.

Ren, that's both incredible and disgusting. I can't even imagine what gossip and thought processes go on there. Good on you for trying the quash rumours like that in a constructive way.
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