Peter Dutton Just Casually Linked Grand Theft Auto To Toxic Behaviour Against Women

Peter Dutton Just Casually Linked Grand Theft Auto To Toxic Behaviour Against Women
Image: Today
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Australia has had a reckoning over the last couple of weeks, with Canberra centering the national conversation squarely on the treatment of women in Parliament House and around the country. But in an interview on Australian breakfast television, one of Australia’s most senior ministers drew Grand Theft Auto into the conversation.

The interview took place on Channel 9’s Today Show early Friday morning, as part of a segment featuring Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and the Federal Deputy Opposition Leader, Richard Marles. The majority of the interview was about the political situation in Canberra, and whether the Prime Minister had been politically damaged from the news of recent weeks.

Minister Dutton was quizzed about potential cabinet reshuffles and the environment in Canberra. The minister then spoke about his own personal situation.

“As a father of a 19 year old daughter and teenage boys, it horrifies me the stories you hear. And it’s not uncommon: young girls, hand up a skirt, on a breast etc, it’s completely unacceptable behaviour. For teenage boys, it’s incumbent on parents first and foremost, to make sure that we are teaching them the right values, the respect they need to have towards women.”

That’s all fairly straightforward. Where things veered off was when Minister Dutton said “the involvement of social media” and “the unfiltered content that teenage boys” should be as central to the debate of recent weeks.

“I think what we should demand is the same laws that apply in real life apply online,” the minister said. “So if you’re flicking through TikTok videos and there is content on there that is unfiltered, going into the minds of young impressionable boys and girls, then we need to think about what happens there.”

Dutton then specifically called out Grand Theft Auto, and said Australia needed to have a “broader conversation” about the societal impacts of games like Grand Theft Auto:

“If you’re playing Grand Theft Auto, as a 13 year old boy, and lets of teenage boys will do, you can go — in that game, not just, you know, drive cars recklessly, you can go for a lap dance, you can go and shoot police,” Minister Dutton said. “And so we need to have a broader conversation about the influences on those young boys, both in a family setting and a societal setting and particularly online.”

There was no explicit link drawn, or follow-up from the minister’s mention of Grand Theft Auto. The deputy opposition leader also didn’t challenge the mention, either. But one of the country’s strongest advocates for video games, Labor’s Tim Watts, wasn’t prepared to let it slide:

He also noted that a review into Australia’s classification laws — which dictates what content is and isn’t available to Australians — had been completed last year, and a report of the review has been sitting on Communications Minister Paul Fletcher’s desk for almost a full year.

The minister’s point isn’t a new one. Politicians regularly, and frequently, question the potential link between violent video games and violent behaviour in real life. That question has been asked since the ’90s, when Congress hauled the makers of games like Night Trap and Mortal Kombat in for hearings.

As for the science, however, researchers have been investigating the link between video games and violence for decades. If the minister would like to have a national conversation, these 24 studies showing there was no link between video games and violence might be a good place to start.

If you want to review the interview in full, it’s in the video carousel on the Today’s website here.

Update: Media Watch has also posted the segment directly on Twitter:

Comments

  • Women have been dealing with toxic behaviour and sexual assault from men long before social media and video games existed.

  • “If you’re playing Grand Theft Auto, as a 13 year old boy…”

    If you’re playing Grand Theft Auto, a game rated R18+, and you’re a 13 year old boy, you’ve got sh**ty parental guidance.

  • All those accused men worked or aspired to work in politics. Clearly there’s a link between toxic behavior towards women and a lust for power.

  • Probably trying to hide his own sexual assaults. You know distract before his come out. Peter Dutton, is by my reckoning, the most corrupt member of the LNP. Was also probably corrupt as a Police Officer as well. No surprises. The man is a walking piece of shit, I mean that in the literal sense.

  • For the record, I detest the GTA series & find the visceral pleasure it’s designed to derive from its low-intellect player base to be mildly amusing. I choose not to play it, partly due to the fact that I just don’t find it fun, more so because I find it ojectionable on some semi-moral basis, which I won’t get into here. But, to each their own, if people want to pretend to rape & kill prostitutes and mass-murder innocent civilians and not-so-innocent police, have at it. You probably have some borderline mental issues and I find there are far better open world games to enjoy for myself, so our paths are very unlikely to cross online anyway.

    BUT, our very own howegrown SHitler (Godwin!) has absolutely no right to talk about women’s rights or family values in this or any context. With his very public record on human rights vilations, he was instrumental in condemning & often splitting up families for *years* in offshore comcentration camps. How is he even still in power??? Is his seat full of racist bogans & white supremacists? Why was he given a front bench seat on the cabinet ffs? Him, and Turnbully’s Comms Act (Metadata anyone?) is why I stopped voting for the so-called ‘Liberal’ party. The only thing liberal about them these days is the amount of bullshit they spread around the country.

    • “For the record, I detest the GTA series & find the visceral pleasure it’s designed to derive from its low-intellect player base to be mildly amusing. I choose not to play it, partly due to the fact that I just don’t find it fun, more so because I find it ojectionable on some semi-moral basis, which I won’t get into here. But, to each their own, if people want to pretend to rape & kill prostitutes and mass-murder innocent civilians and not-so-innocent police, have at it.”

      Ok, I’ll bite – well done on making some very simplistic assumptions about a franchise you’ve never played. Not since 2001’s GTA III has the series actually rewarded that kind of behaviour (the ‘rampage’ challenges were restricted to killing gang members after that point). The developer sets up the world, it’s up to the people playing it as to whether they drive on the road or the footpath.

      It’s actually possible (although difficult) to complete GTA IV without killing a single civilian or police officer.

      The characters in GTA V were definitely more on the ‘bad guy’ spectrum of things, but again, no requirement to senselessly murder civilians at any point in the game. It’s not possible to avoid police casualties in that one, but not a single civilian has to die through the player during the story mode.

      If you want to go after an offensive and violent game series, go bark up the ‘Saints Row’ tree instead…

    • The start of this comment is like one of those cringe fake copy pastas lol. I bet you’re a real hit at party’s.

  • I’ve seen some pretty shitty kids play GTA but their issues come from their junkie parents. Social media is an issue though, it governs their lives. Social suicide if you aren’t on it, subject to bullying from hundreds of teenagers you don’t even know because you are on it.

    The problem is, we haven’t figured out an answer to this issue other than don’t use it which of course brings us to the previous point of not using social media is social suicide.

  • Peter Dutton – ” For teenage boys, it’s incumbent on parents first and foremost, to make sure that we are teaching them the right values, the respect they need to have towards women.”

    Also Peter Dutton apparently -[reading between the lines] “I’ve been letting my teenage boys (now 15 and 16) play video games classified for adults R18+ for years”

  • Grand High Chancellor Dutton has been pursuing power for years now under the guise of tougher online laws and regulations, he’s not going miss a chance to trot that dead pony out.

  • So, Mr Dutton, playing GTA = Bad, but I’m guessing raping women in Parliament house and jerking off on their desks = acceptable? Funny how you wacky Liberal party members seem to be the Nadia Comaneci’s of mental gymnastics these days…

  • What a shameless and utterly offensive deflection… typical of a man in power to blame something unrelated else than tackle the real issue of violence.

    Victims of domestic violence will be happy Dutton solved 100 plus years of domestic violence is all attributed a single video game that’s 8 years old… wait, violence against women occurred before video games.

    You want to blame something, start with Alcohol… a lot of parliments complaints have functions where alcohol is served.

  • Dutton is a total and utter fucking moronic, racist, human rights and rule of law flouting, douchebag, scum-pile. Him attemtping to speak out about women’s issues (read: politicise) makes me fucking sick.

  • Didn’t his party just have a bunch of staffers outed for being misogynistic and degenerate pieces of shit? Did they all play GTA as well and that’s what he’s basing it on?

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