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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Michael ChandraYou want a debate? Build a wall between you and the poisoned well. Make clear you despise it, despise the behaviour. Then get into the other issues you are troubled with, and don't say a single word again about the poisoned well.09/19/2014 - 3:46am
Michael ChandraAnd someone claiming #notyourshield was to be taken serious, when chatlogs show they wanted it going to hide even more harassment behind? Yeah, not buying a word you're saying. You poisoned your own well.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael Chandraallegedly fired over giving a game a mediocre review and the company threatened to pull ads? Sorry but I ain't buying this.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael ChandraBut people arguing this is horrible and just about ethics, even though there's very little support that journalistic integrity was actually violated here, while they never spoke up when a journalist was09/19/2014 - 3:43am
Michael ChandraIf people start with condemning the way GamersGate was used as a misdirection, then use a better hashtag, that would work in convincing me they mean it.09/19/2014 - 3:43am
Andrew EisenOoo, this one came down to the wire! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/749082525/nefarious09/19/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenI don't doubt that many are truly interested in journalistic integrity. The problem I'm often seeing is they seem to have no idea how or where to talk about it.09/18/2014 - 11:46pm
Andrew EisenDidn't word that well. Busy at work. I've seen people claim that GamerGate is solely about ethics and transparency in games journalism and then go on to show that what they're really after is silencing those who talk about gender issues in games.09/18/2014 - 11:45pm
Kronodebate. Becaus apparently people who only post on Reddit are supposed to police twitter before they're allowed to question anything about the people involved.09/18/2014 - 10:40pm
KronoI highly doubt many, if any are using journalistic integrity as a cover for harassment. The people harassing are essentially trolls. They aren't interested in subtle. More often it's othe other way around. People use "but X is being harassed" to shut down09/18/2014 - 10:38pm
Andrew EisenAnd exacerbating everything is the fact that all the cries of ethics violations have been obnoxious and easily proven false.09/18/2014 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenProblem is, I would imagine, the sheer number of people who are using journalistic integrity as a cover for their harassing actions or only bringing it up on the false pretense of journalistic integrity.09/18/2014 - 8:47pm
Andrew EisenHaving said that, I can certainly see how one would be frustrated if they truly just wanted to talk about journalistic integrity and someone said they were one of the people harassing Sarkeesian, Quinn and others (though I've seen no examples of that).09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoThat's been the common refrain, that talk of journalism ethics is just an excuse to harass people.09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoLines like "like a partial compromise with the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion." are taring everyone questioning the ethics as a harasser.09/18/2014 - 8:43pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Except, none of the articles were talking about gamers complaining about journalist ethics, let alone called them white male misogynists. They were talking about the gamers who were harassing others.09/18/2014 - 8:36pm
Kronomakes plenty of sense. It's rather hard to dismiss someone as a white guy running a sock puppet when they've posted proof they're a woman, or black, or another minority.09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat any critics of journalists were white guys that hated women, and could be dismissed as such. It seems to have helped some. It's kind of difficult to maintain the white guy narrative in the face of a bunch of women and non-white guys. So the tag09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat, someone vented on a #gamergate 4chan thread about being dismissed like that. The suggestion they got in return was to organize their own hashtag in response, with #NotYourShield being suggested. Thus the tag came into use to combat the undercurrent09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronomuch more general problem. And while several of the articles were fairly tame, they spured a bunch of people to dismiss any critics of the journalism involved as misogynistic men. Usually with insults aimed at the geek stereotype. After about a week of09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
 

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