Jack Thompson Says He Won't Appear for July 4th Debate at SGC 09

June 30, 2009 -

It appears that a much-anticipated Independence Day debate between Jack Thompson and gamer/lawyer Mark Methenitis is off. (GP: however, see updates below)

Back in April Mark Methenitis announced that he would debate Thompson on July 4th at the ScrewAttack Gaming Convention in Dallas. In fact, Methenitis posted a reminder about the debate just yesterday on his excellent Law of the Game blog.

But an angry e-mail received a short time ago from Thompson indicates that he will not appear. The disbarred attorney was apparently upset by an event organizer's request for a two-line bio as well as a parody video (screen shot at left) posted on the Screw Attack website by a user. Here's a just-received e-mail from Thompson to Methenitis:

Mark, the goofs at ScrewAttack have managed to sabotage my debate with you this Saturday... Don't blame me.  I wanted to do  the debate. I would have used the $2000 to help me in bringing down The Florida Bar...

Here's a second e-mail from Thompson to a number of individuals at ScrewAttack:

Yesterday, I get an email... that I either I submit a "1 or 2 sentence" introduction of myself, or I won't be introduced.  I have spoken and debated on more than 200 college campuses, and I have never been introduced with 1 or 2 sentences.  Nobody can be introduced in that fashion...
 
Finally, I went to your site this morning and I have viewed [a since removed] idiotic [video] clip...  It is a gross misrepresentation... you know full well that the reason I wanted to do this event... [is] to debate the issues of violence in video games... 
 
Finally, how many references to me as a "butt" did you think you had to put into your adolescent video?  You even take a swipe at Christians in the video...
 
All you have managed to do, as related above, is make the event an impossibility.  I expected the event to feature some hostiility [sic]. What I did not expect was that the people putting it on would ratchet it up and in doing so create a security problem...

GamePolitics has a request in to Screw Attack for more information and to see whether, from their perspective, the debate and a planned open forum with Thompson are salvageable. Methenitis is hoping that the event will go forward but referred us to Screw Attack for specifics.

GP: If the SGC 09 debate is canceled, it will not the first time that a proposed debate involving Thompson and the video game crowd has ended in bitterness. See our coverage of similar events proposed for PAX 07 and GDC 08. Thompson did, however, complete a debate with game designer Lorne Lanning at VGXPO 07 in Philadelphia.

That said, it's rather difficult to believe that the debate would be lost over the length of an introduction. As for the Screw Attack user-created video, let's just call it ill-advised and unfunny.

UPDATE: Thompson has confirmed to GamePolitics that he is under contract to appear. An e-mail from Thompson to Methenitis, cc'd to GP, indicates that the debate may yet be salvageable.

UPDATE 2: Thompson has forwarded a copy of a conciliatory e-mail from Screw Attack which describes the video in question as user-created content; it has apparently been removed. Thompson, however, continues to make demands of the event organizers:

This thing will start to get back on track if the person in charge... makes a very prominent and public statement at ScrewAttack.com and to the media (yes, that even includes GamePolitics, which is run as if it were Strauss Zelnick's house organ) [GP: LOL] stating that ScrewAttack disavows that video, that ScrewAttack KNOWS that the reason Jack Thompson is taking a day out of his life and away from his family is that he cares about the ISSUES in this debate, and that anybody, ANYBODY, who says or does anything out of line at this event will be escorted from the event immediately...

UPDATE 3: Stop the presses! The debate is not canceled, at least not yet. Thompson and the Screw Attack crew have scheduled a conference call for tomorrow to - hopefully - sort out their issues.


Comments

Re: Jack Thompson Says He Won't Appear for July 4th Debate ...

He knows he would of gotten his ass kicked in the argument so he chose not to go haha.

Re: Jack Thompson Says He Won't Appear for July 4th Debate ...

Too bad hes under contract to do the debate, hahahahaha.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Jack Thompson Says He Won't Appear for July 4th Debate ...

I'm having second thoughts on whether JT actually should! I know how that sounds, but as big as a fiasco this is already turning out to be (before the actual fight starts), is this really going to make either side look good? Is this one even salvagable?

Re: Jack Thompson Says He Won't Appear for July 4th Debate ...

Once again, Thompson welches out of a debate against a qualified opponent by acting like a prima donna.  What a surprise.  Betcha didn't see that one coming.  

Re: Jack Thompson Says He Won't Appear for July 4th Debate ...

Any excuse to back out of an agreement.

 
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