The Bully Lawsuit: Florida Attorney Sues To Stop Release of Controversial Game

Dennis Faas's picture

Has Florida lawyer Jack Thompson been in the hot sun too long? Or was he the victim of a childhood bully? Whatever the case may be, Thompson is now targeting a bully of a different kind -- the controversial new PS2 game, Bully.

Bully is being released by Rockstar Games (Take-Two Interactive), the company behind the much-debated Grand Theft Auto titles.

Rockstar got into huge trouble last year when a hidden sex mini-game known as "hot coffee" was uncovered in the PS2 and PC versions of GTA: San Andreas. The reason for the controversy: the "hot coffee" segment -- initially believed to be inaccessible by gamers -- was not revealed to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). If the ESRB had known about it, San Andreas's "M" (for Mature 17+ gamers) rating likely would've been bumped up to an "A" (for Adults 18+). Rockstar removed the bit from subsequent re-releases of the game to retain its original "M" rating.

Now Thompson is demanding an advance copy of Bully from Take-Two and Wal-Mart because he believes the game could be a "fraud" in violation of Florida's "nuisance law." If that's the case, the attorney plans to prevent it from ever seeing the light of day on store shelves.

Wal-Mart has entered the picture because Thompson is lambasting the giant retailer for pre-selling the game, possibly to minors, before ratings information has been made available by the ESRB.

"Is it a 'Mature' game not appropriate for anyone under 17, or is it a 'Teen' game sold to everyone," Thompson questions. "The ESRB refuses to say and appears to be withholding from the public the rating of the game in order to quell controversy for its corporate collaborator, Take-Two ... This withholding of rating information from the public about a game that the ESRB has had for over a year is outrageous, made more so by the fact that Wal-Mart is actually pre-selling Bully with no rating whatsoever for the game, to anyone of any age!" (Source:

Thompson's claim that the ESRB has had Bully "for over a year" is a bit suspect. While the game has indeed been floating around for quite a while, it has been plagued by numerous delays. Therefore, it would be irresponsible for the ratings board to grade the Rockstar product for content before receiving a final or at least near-complete version.

Thompson is apparently buying into the fears that Bully will be a "Columbine simulator" where crazed kids shoot down their fellow classmates. However, the newly released trailer for the game paints a very different picture. You don't actually play a bully who torments other children; instead, you're the victim of a bully who decides to strike back.

It's the dream scenario of every kid who has ever been picked on in school.

Thompson, however, refers to the video footage as an example of "sanitation" and "part of a propaganda effort" by Rockstar. (Source:

You can judge for yourself by viewing the Bully trailer here.

Jack Thompson also believes that the company behind Bully is trying to bully him. The Florida lawyer is accusing Rockstar of being behind several recent phone calls from "Peter," who accused him of sexual deviancy and made life-threatening comments. It's "a new wave of successfully orchestrated harassment" by Rockstar, according to Thompson. (Source:

Thompson's full complaint can be read here.

The court is unlikely to grant Thompson his request for an advanced copy of Bully. (Source:

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