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Kmart Australia Joins Target In Pulling GTA 5 From Shelves

Australian Targets and Kmarts have banned GTA 5 from store shelves in response to sex worker's petition.

Kmart joins Target in the ranks of Australian retailers refusing to sell Grand Theft Auto 5. After a petition on Change.org that has now reached over 46,000 signatures caused Target to pull GTA 5 from their shelves, Kmart has now followed suit in refusing to sell the game.

This isn't the first time Australia has been the center of game controversy and it hasn't been the best place for gamers with it's more expensive prices and infamy for banning violent games. With the recent changes to their rating system, primarily the addition of the R18+ rating, there was some hope that less games would be banned and instead labeled as R18+ but it looks like the Targets and Kmarts of Australia are caving into censorship.

The petition organized by "women survivors of violence, including women who experienced violence in the sex industry" brands GTA 5 as a "sickening game" and claims that it "encourages players to commit sexual violence and kill women." 

"...interactive entertainment is today's most compelling art form and shares the same creative freedom as books, television, and movies. I stand behind our products, the people who create them, and the consumers who play them." - CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software

Only a day after Target pulled GTA 5 from store shelves, Kmart followed suit saying: "Following a significant review of all content in Grand Theft Auto games, Kmart has taken the decision to remove this product immediately. Kmart apologizes for not being closer to the content of this game."

In a prepared statement Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software, publisher of GTA 5 stated that "interactive entertainment is today's most compelling art form and shares the same creative freedom as books, television, and movies. I stand behind our products, the people who create them, and the consumers who play them."

The ban limits itself to Australia, as Target US is entirely separate from Target AUS and has chosen to continue selling the game as "there are as many defending the right to buy the game as there are who want it removed."

The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association of Australia, similar to our US Entertainment Software Association, frowned upon the decision in an official statement:

"Over the past few decades videogames have taken their place alongside film, literature and television as a medium capable of entertaining all ages, including the ability to sustain complex and mature themes for an adult audience that rival similar works in other media. As a result, IGEA are surprised by the recent removal of a popular R18 game from retail shelves given the average age of a gamer in this country is 32. Games should not be treated any differently than books, music, television, or movies rated R18.  IGEA's members are proud of their compliance with the National Classification Scheme and believe that consumers, which includes parents and caregivers, should be allowed to make informed decisions for themselves."

Published Dec. 5th 2014
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