TORY GOVERNMENT’S ‘SOFT TOUCH’ APPROACH TO EXPLICIT CONTENT FAILING
The SNP has demanded the UK government undertake an urgent review of how a game promoting necrophilia and rape appeared on a popular gaming platform.
Raising the issue with the Culture Secretary in the Commons today, SNP MP Hannah Bardell explained how the game enables players to verbally harass, kill, and rape women as they progress through the story. The game’s contents include violence, sexual assault, non-consensual sex, obscene language, necrophilia, and incest.
During First Minister’s Questions, Dundee City East MSP Shona Robison asked: "Does the First Minister share my concern that, in the week when we celebrate international women’s day, we have seen the creation of a video game entitled “Rape Day”, which enables players to verbally harass, kill and rape women as they progress through the story? Although it is positive news that the gaming platform Steam has decided not to distribute and sell the game, does the First Minister agree that we should send a clear message to other game developers and platform providers that such games have no place in our society in this day and age? Does she think that it is time for the United Kingdom Government to review the regulations in the area?".
Appearing on gaming platform Steam, the game involves the user playing as a menacing serial killer rapist during a zombie apocalypse. The game has caused a media storm, being widely condemned by women’s groups, charities and elected members in both Westminster and Holyrood - notably the SNP’s Hannah Bardell MP and Dundee City East MSP Shona Robison.
Earlier this week, the SNP Culture Media and Sport spokesperson Hannah Bardell wrote to the Secretary of State Jeremy Wright QC to demand answers on the issue. Since the intervention, Steam has now confirmed they will no longer distribute the game from their site.
Speaking after her grilling of the Secretary of State, Hannah Bardell MP said:
“For far too long, successive UK governments have adopted a soft touch when it comes to cracking down on content online that could incite sexual violence - it simply doesn't work.
“The content of this game is utterly perverted - it’s time for the UK government to undertake a full review into how tech companies and gaming platforms - specifically Steam - are able to get away with this kind of stupidity.
“The fact that this game made it to the development and approval stage is unforgivable. It’s even more concerning that, with many young people accessing sites like Steam, the risk of accidental exposure to this content is heightened, resulting in potentially irreversible consequences.
“The culture to seek forgiveness rather than permission is a stain on an industry that otherwise has the potential to be a real force for good. The UK Tory government must unequivocally commit to getting around the table and sorting this issue for good, including politicians from across the political divide and interested groups who have been appalled by this
“On the very week where we will celebrate International Women’s Day, the overarching question must be how an individual sitting behind a computer can come up with such utterly abhorrent material.
“The fact that this kind of game can be created at all should raise serious concerns to the UK government - these actions are morally corrupt and must be stopped.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
'Rape Day' game features 'murder, sexual assault, necrophilia and incest' -
Copy of Hannah Bardell’s letter to the Secretary of State -