Target Australia has announced plans to remove Grand Theft Auto V from stores effective immediately in response to customer complaints. The move comes after a number of issues were brought forward to the retailer via petition, with many citing the “game’s depictions of violence against women” as the primary cause for concern.
In a press release, the company’s Jim Cooper — General Manager of Corporate Affairs — weighed in on the decision to pull Rockstar’s controversial blockbuster from the shelves.
We’ve been speaking to many customers over recent days about the game, and there is a significant level of concern about the game’s content. We feel the decision to stop selling GTA 5 is in line with the majority view of our customers. While these products often contain imagery that some customers find offensive, in the vast majority of cases, we believe they are appropriate products for us to sell to adult customers.
However, in the case of GTA5, we have listened to the strong feedback from customers that this is not a
product they want us to sell.
Alas, this isn’t the first time that the studio’s opus has found itself in hot water, given the controversy that arose when GTA V‘s torture scene was first unveiled. Nevertheless, Target’s decision is likely a result of the recent Change.org petition to remove the sandbox title from store shelves — a petition that accumulated over 41,000 digital signatures.
Combine that with Australia’s renown, no-nonsense policy to censorship and the rest is history, really. That said, the country has altered its approach to game ratings over the past couple of years. Prior to January 2013, any video game that was deemed to be more intense, violent or offensive than the MA15+ category would have no way of making it to store shelves Down Under; though this ceiling has been broken thanks to the R18+ rating.
One way or the other, it appears Target Australia has labelled Grand Theft Auto V to be too extreme even for such an adult classification. But is this a fair move from the retailer? Or has it been forced into a corner by the power of the ever-growing consumer? We’ll leave that to you to decide.