Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick called recent comments tying mass shootings to video games both irresponsible and disrespectful to victims and their families. Zelnick was asked to comment on comments from US President Donald Trump and other members of the Republican party. Trump and company chose to blame a recent mass shooting on video games and entertainment's encouragement of a "culture of violence." Zelnick dismissed the idea, noting that entertainment is consumed worldwide, but gun violence is "uniquely American."
Zelnick provided an interview following the June quarterly fiscal reporting of Take-Two. A request for comment on Trump's statement was offered quickly. Zelnick's first thought, it must be noted, was sympathy for the victims and their families from the past week's several mass shootings. Speaking for Take-Two, Zelnick said, "We're just sickened and saddened by these senseless tragedies." The final comment in his response was a call "to address the real issues."
The full reply by Zelnick provides further detail regarding Take-Two's attitude regarding recent Republican comments:
"We’re just sickened and saddened by these senseless tragedies. That said, blaming entertainment is irresponsible. Moreover, it is highly disrespectful to the victims and their families. The fact is entertainment is consumed world-wide...but gun violence is uniquely American. So we need to address the real issues."
While Zelnick didn't provide further comment specifying what he believed the "real issues" are, they can be likely be insinuated by his description of "gun violence" being the core issue to address.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Zelnick's comments echo a sentiment shared by former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton earlier on Monday. Clinton said on Twitter that, "People play video games in virtually every other country on earth. The difference is guns." Clinton also said the same thing about mental health. She then retweeted a post from her husband Bill Clinton calling for the reinstatement of a ban on assault weapons as well as the introduction of universal background checks. The original ban was passed during Clinton's presidency but was blocked from being extended by Republicans in 2004.
It's not surprising given Trump attributed violent culture to both video games and the internet, but online sentiment continues to stand in opposition to the US President's statement. #VideogamesAreNotToBlame has held the #1 trending topic on Twitter in the United States. Reddit's front page is filled with memes and factoids mocking the idea that video games could be contributing to violence. The online community is showing surprising solidarity on the topic. Though, as Zelnick implies, focusing on the idea at all rather than addressing the "real issues" contributing to mass shootings may have been the point in the first place.