Trade Group Pushes Back Against Trump’s Claim Video Games Incite Violence in Society

In the aftermath of separate mass shootings over the weekend that left 31 people dead and scores wounded, the Entertainment Software Association is pushing back against claims by President Trump and some lawmakers that violence in video games fuels violence in society.

Trump Aug. 5 condemned the attacks carried out by two shooters in their early 20s armed assault weapons.

“Our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” the president said, without calling for tougher gun controls and/or outlawing assault-style weapons — the latter done in New Zealand following the slaughter of Muslim churchgoers by a white nationalist earlier this year.

Trump also called for greater focus on mental health and the end of glorifying violence in society, including “the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.”

Indeed, many games enable first-person shooter scenarios that mimic shooting an assault-weapon at people.

For ESA, whose publishing members include Electronic Arts, Nintendo and Activision Blizzard, the comments hit too close.

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“Numerous scientific studies have established that there is no causal connection between video games and violence,” the ESA said in a statement. “More than 165 million Americans enjoy video games, and billions of people play video games worldwide. Yet other societies, where video games are played as avidly, do not contend with the tragic levels of violence that occur in the U.S.”

Regardless, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), minority leader in the House, told Fox News that many video games dehumanize human life.

Complaints about violence in games isn’t a partisan issue. Hillary Clinton in 2005 co-sponsored a bill that would have made it illegal for minors to purchase video games.

“We’ve watched from studies shown before of what it does to individuals,” McCarthy told Fox News. “When you look at these [shooting] photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others.”

Hulu Pulls Ads From ‘The Laura Ingraham Show’

Hulu has pulled TV commercials from “The Laura Ingraham Show” on Fox News following the conservative host’s tweets mocking a high school student survivor of the recent Parkland, Fla., shooting.

“We’d like to confirm that we are no longer advertising on Laura Ingraham’s and are monitoring all of our ad placements carefully,” Hulu said in a March 29 Twitter post.

The subscription streaming video service, co-owned by The Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox, Comcast and Time Warner, joined a growing group of advertisers (including TripAdvisor, Expedia, Wayfair and Johnson & Johnson) that have pulled spots.

The controversy involves David Hogg, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who survived the Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) mass shooting where gunman (and former student) Nikolas Cruz allegedly killed 14 students and three teachers with an assault weapon.

Hogg, along with other students, has become a face of the tragedy and emerging gun control activist, speaking out on national media. He is a founding member, along with 19 other students, of the “Never Again MSD” advocacy group that has spearheaded movements against gun violence, including the March 24 “March for Our Lives” demonstration that attracted hundreds of thousands of protesters nationwide.

Ingraham, along with other conservatives in the media, have criticized Hogg as a mouthpiece of a liberal agenda aimed at curbing gun rights they claim are guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution.

But Ingraham went one step further, attacking Hogg personally on social media.

The former MSNBC host, who worked as a speech writer for President Reagan, clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and guest-hosted the former “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News, called Hogg a “whiner” for not getting accepted into UCLA, despite reportedly having a 4.1 grade point average.

“David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it. (Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA…totally predictable given acceptance rates.),” Ingraham tweeted, linking it to an online story about four universities that reportedly rejected Hogg’s college admissions application.

“In our view, these statements focused on a high school student, cross the line of decency. As such, we have made a decision to stop advertising on that program,” a spokesperson for TripAdvisor.com said in a statement.

Home furnishing company WayFair, in a statement, said it supports open dialogue and debate on issues – with restrictions.

“The decision of an adult to personally criticize a high school student who has lost his classmates in an unspeakable tragedy is not consistent with our values. We do not plan to continue advertising on this particular program,” the ecommerce company said in a statement.

Ingraham – who courted controversy last month criticizing NBA superstar LeBron James’ comment about President Trump not understanding black people – made no comment of the Hogg controversy on her March 29 show and has apologized for her comment, tweeting:

“Any student should be proud of a 4.2 GPA —incl. @DavidHogg111. On reflection, in the spirit of Holy Week, I apologize for any upset or hurt my tweet caused him or any of the brave victims of Parkland. For the record, I believe my show was the first to feature David…”