Daily Star apologises for Raoul Moat Grand Theft Auto cock-up
On 21 July, UK newspaper, The Daily Star, printed a story claiming that a Raoul Moat version of Grand Theft Auto was in development, and ran a mocked-up picture of the cover. It was an article that angered the gaming community and, it has transpired, GTA's developer Rockstar Games.
According to Computer and Video Games, the Star has now removed the offending article from its website, printed a full retraction and apology, and has donated a "substantial amount in damages" to a charity of Rockstar's choice.
However, it seems the author of the piece, Jerry Lawton, is unrepentant. Writing on his Facebook page, he stated: "[Jerry Lawton] is baffled by the fury of adult gamers! These are grown (?!?) men who sit around all day playing computer games with one another who've today chosen to enter the real world just long enough to complain about my story slamming a Raoul Moat version of Grand Theft Auto!"
"You would think I'd denied the Holocaust!!! Think I'...ll challenge them to a virtual reality duel....stab....I win!!!"
So, in response to complaints about a story in which he vilifies a fake game for glorifying violence, he threatens to "stab" gamers who challenge his version of events. His personal views on adult gamers aside, the irony of that alone is staggering. You couldn't make it up. Well, he might give it a go.
Obviously, The Daily Star was a bit more careful with its statement: "On 21 July we published an article claiming that the video games company Rockstar Games were planning to release a version of their popular Grand Theft Auto video games series titled 'Grand Theft Auto Rothbury'.
"We also published what we claimed would be the cover of this game, solicited comments from a family member impacted by the recent tragedy and criticised Rockstar Games for their alleged plans".
"We made no attempt to check the accuracy of the story before publication and did not contact Rockstar Games prior to publishing the story. We also did not question why a best-selling and critically acclaimed fictional games series would choose to base one of their most popular games on this horrifying real crime event".
"It is now accepted that there were never any plans by Rockstar Games to publish such a game and that the story was false. We apologise for publishing the story using a mock-up of the game cover, our own comments on the matter and soliciting critical comments from a grieving family member".
"We unreservedly apologise to Rockstar Games and we have undertaken not to repeat the claims again. We have also agreed to pay them a substantial amount in damages which they are donating to charity".