Jack Thompson Gets GTA IV Ads Yanked from Miami-Dade Transit

April 26, 2008 -

A complaint by Jack Thompson has prompted Miami's transit authority to remove ads for Grand Theft Auto IV from local bus shelters.

Miami thus joins Chicago as the second major US city to pull GTA IV ads from its public transit system in recent days.

GamePolitics reported on Thursday that Thompson had complained about the GTA IV ads to Miami Mayor Carlos Alvarez. The GTA IV ads were apparently removed sometime on Friday afternoon. Hugh Chen, Miami-Dade Transit's deputy director of operations, told GamePolitics on Friday evening, via e-mail:

The posters were removed after a review of our approval process and contract... Be assured that the circumstances around placing and removing  these specific posters were reviewed before action was taken. We are governed by our contract with our shelter contractor and County ordinances.

A spokesman for GTA IV publisher Take-Two Interactive said the company was still reviewing the situation. A spokesman for the ESA referred inquiries back to Take-Two.

For his part, Thompson wasted no time in crowing about the removal of the ads in a news release:

...Jack Thompson has today persuaded the Miami-Dade Transit System to pull all advertisements for the Grand Theft Auto IV cop-killing simulation game from its bus stops.


In the wake of this success, Thompson is proceeding to get all GTA IV ads pulled from all US transit systems since such ads clearly violate promises made by the [ESRB], found right at its web site, not to place “Mature-rated” game ads in venues that will be seen by teens. 

However, Thompson's contention about the ESRB appears to be incorrect. An ESRB spokesman told GP on Friday, "Considering the overwhelmingly adult demographic profile of mass transit riders... the placement of GTA IV ads in these types of outlets would typically not be in violation of [Ad Review Council] guidelines." Nor do the advertising guidelines listed on the ESRB website appear to support Thompson's contention.

Thompson may be confusing the ESRB ad guidelines with a 2002 report on the marketing of media violence by the Federal Trade Commission which addressed limiting the advertising of M-rated games in media where children constitute a specific percentage of the potential audience. The FTC report notes that the video game industry has a self-regulatory standard prohibiting print ads when children comprise more than 45% of the likely audience.

In his news release, the embattled Thompson also alleged a conspiracy between the video game industry and the judge who presided over his nine-day trial on Florida Bar ethics charges last November. That judge's recommendation on Thompson's future status as an attorney is expected in August.

GP: Readers, don't forget to Send Us Your GTA IV Bus Pix (Before they’re all gone)...


congrats Jack on the closest thing to a victory you will ever achieve.

Figures, he gets one victory in one town and already he's aiming higher than his influence actually goes.

I still don't get this whole "No Mature game advertisements where kids can see them", if the ad itself is like the GTA IV ads, completely innocuous in and of itself, I don't understand the whole concept that it will suddenly turn kids into consumerist Zombies, if there's nothing offensive in the ad itself, why pull it?

I'm glad to say that the bus stop just down the road still has the poster.
Hm... maybe I should go gank that while I still can?
Will send a picture later.

I'm sure nobody will know about the game now. With absolutely no coverage on this little known game, it's likely to be over looked entirely... just like the last one.

We know GTA is going to score. That's not the point. It's the principal of the thing.

Why are people still listening to this guy? One of these days, we're going to get him thrown behind bars, mark my words.

I'm positive they did it because they where worried about their max machines and email servers.

We need an edit soon :( i meant Fax not max.

protective * custody

On March 14, 2007 Take-Two filed a lawsuit to prevent Thompson from preventing the sale of Grand Theft Auto IV and Manhunt 2 to minors, claiming that Thompson's effort to block sales of its games through lawsuits violates the company's First Amendment rights.Responding, Thompson said, "I have been praying, literally, that Take-Two and its lawyers would do something so stupid, so arrogant, so dumb, even dumber than what they have to date done, that such a misstep would enable me to destroy Take-Two." On April 19, 2007, Thompson and Take-Two settled their suit, with Thompson agreeing not to restrict sales through any court worldwide of Take-Two's games, threaten to sue the company, or accuse Take-Two of any wrongdoing based on the sale of any of its games. According to one analyst, the settlement is likely to mute his public pronouncements and lawsuits against the company.

Surely pulling this ad falls into this category. Take-Two are in a perfect position to bend Jack over and **** him so hard he'll be ripped in half.

Take Two should wait until Jack is Disbarred before they take any action against him. That way he will have to actually hire a lawyer out of his own pocket.

Then when he loses he will be penniless.

@Rodrigo Ybáñez García
If that's not grounds for a harrasment suit I don't know what is.


entirely off topic but ill bite for the sake that im bored....

No that assumption is incorrect,however the number that are turning away from religion as they hit college and start learning about FACTS(you hear me benn stien?)of basic geology,biology and genetics.

With those Facts in hand they can start to deconstruct all the myths their parents handed down to them replacing them with how the real world works,however some never bother to learn this and just take the path of least resistance/laziness aka religion.this is where current generation fundamentalists keep coming from as their entire argument is "if I don't understand it and it doesn't fit what the bible says It must be wrong".

good example of this is the evolution debate in which general religion fanatics attack evolution as if it is not true.This tactic is the incorrect way to approach it as we all know changes over time is a fact,the theory part of it is how it works(much how like gravity is a fact but how it works is a theory...science has a hard time playing absolutes as you can see)The creationist debate is everything poofed into mid air with all features intact but have no evidence to back it up,nor any testing to even point to that thesis to begin with.example:

scientific method=observation>thesis>testing>hypothesis>testing>observation>do everything possible to disprove all previous work>theory>testing>theory>testing>theory>and finally pass it along to repeat until the community feels its a fact.

religion=observation from a book>theory>no testing>do everything possible to prove it correct>plug ears during debate>continue to spew unverifiable thesis>profit

Religions a whole works on the same wavelength of talking out its side while ignoring everything else in order to self propagate its control of the minds of those who follow them.JT works in the same fashion,blurt BS out to get his way while ignoring any and all facts.

Personally i would love JT to show up on GTA4 release day just to see how badly the lynch mob tears into him...


I only have his ComCast and it does not work. I already tried to e-mail him.

Whoop Dee Fucking Doo.

So what? GTA's so popular that Jack Thompson can't stop the sales from skyrocketing. If anything, they'll be more buyers who will buy it just to spite him.

JT's tactic will only work if said game was an indie title that desperately needs recognition.

So JT took down the bus ads. Big deal. Like those things actually work.

I did not feel an overwhelming need to write to the Miami officials to contest Mr. Thompson's letter. However, the moment I hear of something similar happening in Orlando I will be on the front steps of city hall waiting for an appointment as a follow up to my dozens of letters sent prior.

Speaking of which, I think I'll go GTA IV poster hunting today.

Wow, another of Jack's amazing "victories". Pity it will have no effect on the game or it's sales whatsoever. Anyone who plays games know it's coming out, as do everyone else due to the amount of promotion and airtime it's getting given by the alarmists and people who want to do your parenting for you. How many of the people on this site ever bought a game based soley on the fact that they saw an ad for it on a bus?

Him crowing about an achievement here is like a person boasting about stopping the tide because he has taken a spoonful of water out of the ocean. But that's Jack for you, the King Canute of modern times, railing and screaming at the tide while it pays him no attention and continues on it's way.

And I forgot to add, what would Thompson prefer be there?

I know, how about a nice wholesome ad for Hostel 2. No?How about a Saw 4 ad, I bet that'd be more appropriate. Hmm, nooo, let's advertise The Hills Have Eyes 1 and 2 unrated there, I bet THAT'S kid friendly.[/sarcasm]

Why does this guy keep referring to himself in the third person? At best it's mildly humourous, at worst deeply, deeply arrogant and infuriating.

Which sort of sums up Thompson entirely really...


Don't forget who we're talking about here

I'm becoming more and more worries about the games industry, why are the consumers having to protect it? When are they going to start protecting themselves? It's not like they don't have enough money or lawyers.

Give Thompson his due. He was able to take advantage of the ignorance, gullibility and political timidity of a few people in Miami-Dade and now the posters are gone. While it may have zero material impact on the sales of GTAIV, the fact remains that it's another indictment of videogames and "gaming culture" by grossly uninformed people in positions of power, and from that perspective it deserves a response. Jack is an ass and I'm happy to let him be one, but when he manages to convince people who don't know any better to drink his Kool-Aid, it deserves a reasoned and rational response.

And doesn't this contravene the same laws or regulations that the Chicago situation did?

C'mon, I was obviously joking. Seriously, would he be OK if the game only allowed you to kill criminals? I doubt it.

Congrats, Jack. Now you can use this career milestone to moving on to bigger and better things, like, oh I don't know, winning a case. As for your repeated allegations of conspiracy, remember this key phrase any lawyer worth his salt should know (which is why I'm telling you): "De minimus non curat lex".

For those not up on their latin, "The law disregards trifles".

The trifle, of course, being you, oxygen-waster.

Congratulations, Mr. Thompson. Contrary to the ass-backwards fairyland you live in, this is your only true victory over Take-Two EVER.

You took down some ads. No one cares.

Well, to his credit this is a victory in restricting free speech from a first amendment lawyer. Why did Fox call him that again?

Jack actually victorious? Someone check the temperature in hell. Methinks it's mighty chilly down there.

I'm going to regret saying this, but in the SPECIFIC case mentioned in the previous article, being near a Children' Hospital and park, I agree that the Ad was in the wrong place. However, removing it from every stop is ridiculous. All that being said, I look forward to flying choppers around Liberty City on Tuesday D:

Hey guys,does he realize he's bringing more publicity to the game by trying to ban it?

This is getting out of hand. I know that removing ads won't hurt GTAIV sells, but it hurts it's reputation toward non-gamers, and it's discrediting the gaming industry by not giving them the same rights. This should be an easy to win court case, but T2 isn't acting fast enough.

Miami-Dade transit obviously can obviously afford to miss out on the advertising revenue generated by the GTA4 posters...but two cities out of dozens or hundreds is Pyhrric victory at best.

@ TheEdge

Sometimes I'm convinced JT is a fictional enemy created by T2 for the sole purpose of creating free advertising through sensationalist news stories about murder simulators :P

This is ridiculous. I just e-mailed Miami-Dade Transit with this:

"I will first say that I am shocked that the Miami-Dade Transit would pull advertising for a video game simply because some shrew of a lawyer, Jack Thompson, threatened legal action or bad publicity. Thanks for putting up a good fight. Maybe next time, MDT might actually bring courage and integrity to the ball game. Does the MDT even realize the kind of misconduct Mr. Thompson is being sanctioned for by the Florida Bar? The MDT allowed an asinine lawyer, who once submitted pornography in a court docket (viewable to the public), to censor an ad which contains no obscenities. How does that happen?

Now that I've expressed my feelings about this decision, as a public citizen, I want to know the specifics. I want to know exactly what county ordinances the ads violated. Obviously, the advertisement was deemed suitable upon submission. What caused this decision to be overturned? I sure hope that MDT has a pretty damn good answer otherwise, it might just look like MDT bent over for some hackneyed ambulance chaser."

I'm sure everyone here wants to know what city ordinances the ads violated.

He might be responsible.
Or...someone ELSE might have complained about them and he is trying to take credit for it.

Think about this unlikely scenario. Something happens and a Rockstar/Take Two game is not released Wouldn't he try to cash in on the credit for having the game not released. In the form of a press release? Several press releases.

- Warren Lewis


Why did they give this man a victory?

The fire was almost extinguished. Almost. It was almost gone guys. ALMOST GONE!

But now, now an oiltanker has fallen on top of it.

I already feel sorry for myself. Sorry for the pain I am going to feel in the future when the results of this hit me.

All I have to say is that Monday will be a big day when it comes to Jack Thompson talking about GTA 4 in the news and so on.

Get prepared for alot of nonsense

I read the following somewhere, and Thompson needs to read the second sentence:
The right to free speech and free press does not include the right to subject unwilling individuals to sexual utterences, materials or displays they find obscene. Such unwilling persons, however, cannot deprive access to others who welcome such.

I find the Bible obscene, but you don't see me confiscating JT's copy

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」


I was kinda thinking the same thing. If there were a collective number of complaints, then the MDT's actions might make a little more sense. And I can't disagree that Thompson would try to take credit, or attempt to act like he is a key role when it comes to something he's interested in. (Points to the EA/T2 takeover volunteering).

Still doesn't change the fact that this whole situation is pretty dumb. I've seen plenty of R-rated movie posters on bus stops. How could a poster scar you for life unless you grew up as sheltered, sugar-coated, overprotected child that hasn't even experienced so much violence as a paper cut?

What worse about this though is that I know Thompson is going to try to use this as some sort credibility flaunt the next time he's on FOX NEWS.




"I seem to have lost my train of thought."

I think that, without doubt, a letter-writing campaign to express one's views might be positive. I include relevant E-mails below. Remember, your letter will be MUCH more influential if it is *cordial* rather than explosive.

mayor@miamidade.gov : Mayor
hch@miamidade.gov : Transit deputy-chief
hkapoor@miamidade.gov : Transit director

I know everybody else has said this already, but I will. Oh wow! Way to go, Jack. You managed to get a bust stop ad pulled. That's nothing compared to, oh, GTA IV ads on the sides of WHOLE BUILDINGS! And last I checked, those are still up.

So two major cities won't advertise on buses. There are dozens of others that will. Yeah, you may threaten to get them pulled elsewhere, but knowing your track record, odds are you won't get very far. You only got your way because it was your city and your state. I don't think other city legislatures in other states will be as inclined to listen to you.

And even if they don't, so what? It will still be advertised in magazines, comic books, the internet and television. And the news media's reporting on it is giving the game more free publicity than Rockstar and Take 2 could ever hope for, and your own antics are aiding and abetting them. You ought to know that prohibiting something only makes people want it more. How incredibly dense are you? No, don't answer that.

Judge Tunis in requesting an extension has granted you a stay of execution. Obviously you're enjoying it. Make the most of it, Jack, because your days as a "moral crusader" are now numbered.

What about the massive GTAIV ads in game shop windows ten feet from the bus stations? I went for a little walk through my local shopping area today and saw no less than seven different shops proudly advertising the game to anyone who cared to walk by.

It's all very easy getting the advert removed from places which aren't going to make money from product sales. God knows it happens in the UK often enough. But you'll never stop game shops from announcing they have the latest must-buy title, will you?

@Vake Xeacons

Assume the general American public is misinformed/ignorant, and then you figure in all the people who did not have video games in their early years, and that's a lot of people who would be sympathetic to Johnny Bruce Thompson.

Or, as was speculated earlier by Cecil475, it could have been some other people complaining and Johnny Bruce Thompson just tried to take the credit for it.

So wait.. These ads are now pure evil just because someone can LOOK at them? What the hell? It's an M rated game, but that adds don't show any violence, sex, or drugs, and you're telling me that the transit system needs to lose ad revenue because a teen or younger may see the ad?

Here's to hoping Florida and all its stupidity sink into the ocean a lot faster, now. This is beyond retarded, this is just pitiful.

Jack Thompson 1
Gaming Industry 100

Well done Jackhole. You're so close to absolute victory.

So what happens to the money that was paid to the Transit authority for displaying those posters? Will they try to keep it while also pulling the posters thus negating the whole purpose the money was paid for anyway? Im betting trying to get them to return the money will be like trying to get Jack Thompson to have some ethics.

It would be hilarious if the judge decided to release her decision the same week as GTA coming out, but it's not going to happen.

This is all an exercise in redundancy and ineffectiveness. Ads? Who frackin' cares about ads for GTA IV? The game has such celebrity, that ever if Take Two completely pulled every ad from every source, the game would still sell better than any other game this year. People already know about, they've known for months now. Internet, FTW!

Even more fun, all those public "announcements" warning parents about GTA IV is free advertising.


That wouldn't surprise me. Jack is known to be quite an opportunist.

Even if they take down some ads, this wouldn't change much. If they "reviewed" the poster before removing it, they must have a good reason (much better than Jack's letter).

Which reminds me, I didn't encounter any GTAIV ads in Québec (beside in the video games specialized shops). I see advertising only on Québec-made products (with a few exceptions) and tobacco warnings.

Dennis, I'd like to know what Jack said about the conspiracy. Something of the like "They're all after me since I predicted Columbine and I'm going to destroy them all. (Evil laughter...and chokes) I'm getting to old to be that nasty." This would be an interesting read (and something interesting to add to the still-growing pile of evidence against him).

So the GTA ads are bad but the Sopranos ads which feature an arm sticking out of the trunk of Taxis iplying that a body is inside are perfectly acceptable. http://www.adverbox.com/the-sopranos-hbo/
No double standard there at alll...

@ majestic_12_x

This is exactly what these agencies need. People actually questioning the rationale for why something is being done. If they can't come up with a satisfying answer, I would imagine that Rockstar could potentially sue them for large amounts of money. I can only assume that since its from public transportation that if they were sued and lost or setteled that we, the taxpayers, would be paying for this misstep.

I'd like to see that go on Thompson’s "win" column. "Increased taxes due to my own stupidity." Har har...

@ Kincyr

The Bible is in an incredibly graphic and mature book with stories of murder, war, adultery, torture, slavery, kidnapping, incest, and much much more. That’s a fact. I'm a Christian myself and will heartily agree that the Bible contains a multitude of very adult themed stories.

Yet, Christians teach their children what is in the bible from the time they are born. In elementary school they are exposed to these very adult themed stories and even encouraged to learn more and dive deeper into the scriptures.

By Thompson’s own rationale, he should be vehemently opposed to selling the Bible to minors.
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Andrew EisenPHX - Yep, we linked that interview last week. http://gamepolitics.com/2015/07/24/gearbox-founder-has-nothing-praise-aliens-colonial-marines-duke-nukem-forever07/29/2015 - 8:42pm
Matthew WilsonI did a clean install, and have had no issues, it seems they got this right07/29/2015 - 7:43pm
PHX Corphttp://www.gamnesia.com/news/randy-pitchford-on-aliens-criticism-it-depends-on-what-criteria-youre-using oh look, More Randy pitchford Shooting himself in the foot again07/29/2015 - 7:43pm
Craig R.And even then, I'd say upgrade, make your backup media, and then do a clean install07/29/2015 - 7:29pm
Craig R.Personally, I'm recommending people wait 2-3 months at least before upgrading07/29/2015 - 7:29pm
Matthew Wilsonthat being said I am not normal, I took the upgrade and made a recovery drive, than did a clean install. most issues in os upgrades come from doing the upgrade. doing a fresh install fixes that.07/29/2015 - 6:58pm
Matthew Wilson@james so far hone, no major issues encountered yet. the only issue ?I have is my second wifi adaptor does not work, but I have my built in one. that issue is on netgear to fix though with new drivers07/29/2015 - 6:46pm
TechnogeekSora, the entire reason those clauses are being added everywhere is that they WERE upheld. AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, back in 2011.07/29/2015 - 6:28pm
james_fudgeHow many crashes so far?07/29/2015 - 5:46pm
Matthew Wilsonmost likly not since windows is considered essential, so unreasonable tos wont hold up. that being said, I am using it, and its prity good.07/29/2015 - 5:11pm
Sora-ChanThe question on those is can they be held up in court. From what I can tell those kinds of clauses haven't been challenged in court yet.07/29/2015 - 4:40pm
E. Zachary KnightPapa, Of course thre is. That has now become a permanent part of the EULA boilerplate template.07/29/2015 - 12:56pm
Papa MidnightIn case anyone is interested, there is a clause written into Section 10 of Windows 10's EULA that provides for a Class Action Waiver, and restricts the user to Binding Arbitration.07/29/2015 - 11:15am
TechnogeekNo, that folder is what gets used for the upgrade process. I already had the upgrade go through on my notebook.07/29/2015 - 10:35am
Andrew EisenMatt - And AGAIN, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published? How is it not accountable to its readership (which, AGAIN, is primarily game industry folk, not gamers)?07/29/2015 - 10:10am
james_fudgeThat's the clean install, for anyone asking07/29/2015 - 9:23am
TechnogeekAlso, it's the upgrade that's available for installation now. You might need to forcibly initiate the Windows Update process before it'll start downloading, though. (If there's a C:\$Windows.~BT folder on your computer, then you're in luck.)07/29/2015 - 8:46am
TechnogeekAdmittedly there's more room to push for an advertiser boycott when you get into opinion content versus pure news, but keep in mind that reviews are opinion content as well.07/29/2015 - 8:46am
TechnogeekMatts: There's a difference between "this person regularly says extremely terrible stuff" and "I don't like the phrasing used in this one specific editorial".07/29/2015 - 8:45am
MattsworknameWait, is that for the upgrade or the clean install only? cause I was gonna do the upgrade07/29/2015 - 8:32am

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