VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – President Donald Trump plans to meet with video game industry representatives as he considers responses to gun violence after the Florida school shooting that killed 17 people.
The White House says attendees at today’s meeting include representatives of the Entertainment Software Association, the Entertainment Software Rating Board and the Parents Television Council. Others represent the Media Research Center, a video game distributor, a software company, along with the author of a book linking mass killings to violent video games.
Trump has repeatedly referenced the violence in movies and video games during his public comments about guns and school safety since last month’s Florida shooting even though decades of research have failed to find such a link.
“It’s preposterous, it’s more theatre, it’s a way for Trump and his cronies at the NRA to distract people and get another entity out there as the potential culprit for why people are into so much destructive violence in [the US],” says Victor Lucas, host and executive producer of Electric Playground.
“What makes it so ridiculous is that, obviously, this is the same entertainment that is available worldwide and the data suggests there aren’t these hellacious, awful, grotesque school shootings and mass shootings anywhere else in the world like there are in a place where guns are so readily available, especially these weapons of war, these assault rifles,” he tells NEWS 1130.
The Entertainment Software Association of Canada takes a similar position.
“Video games are enjoyed around the world and numerous authorities and reputable scientific studies have found no connection between games and real-life violence,” says ESAC in a written statement ahead of today’s meeting.
“We are deeply concerned about the level of gun violence in the United States. Video games are plainly not the issue: entertainment is distributed and consumed globally, but the US has an exponentially higher level of gun violence than any other nation. The upcoming meeting at the White House, which ESA will attend, will provide the opportunity to have a fact-based conversation about video game ratings, our industry’s commitment to parents, and the tools we provide to make informed entertainment choices.”
Lucas says one of those tools is the rating system employed by the industry.
“If you are a parent and you are letting your young kids play violent video games, you are not doing your job as a parent,” he says. “There are weird videos on YouTube, there is terrible television, there are awful movies kids can see in the theatre. You need to be a participant in what your child is consuming.”
Lucas adds that the Canada is a prolific exporter of video games to the US and it is an industry to be proud of.
“We are fantastic at making video games and to see buffoons ad others try to take video games and prop them up as something bad drives me crazy.”