Mass Effect SeXbox Critic Corrects Statements, Expresses Regret

By Chris Faylor, Jan 26, 2008 1:05pm PST Cooper Lawrence (pictured left), who recently appeared on Fox News' The Live Desk with Martha MacCallum and, despite never having actually played the game, attacked BioWare's Mass Effect (X360) for containing pornography and misrepresenting women, has now admitted that she was wrong in her criticism.

"I recognize that I misspoke," Lawrence, the author of several self-help books, told The New York Times. "Before the show I had asked somebody about what they had heard, and they had said it's like pornography.

"I really regret saying that, and now that I've seen the game and seen the sex scenes it's kind of a joke," she continued. "I've seen episodes of [the ABC television show] Lost that are more sexually explicit."

During the segment, which repeatedly and incorrectly informed viewers that the game contained full digital nudity and graphic sex, Lawrence was asked by games journalist Geoff Keighley if she had ever played the game. She laughed and answered, "No."

BioWare and its owner Electronic Arts, meanwhile, are not amused by the situation.

"We're hurt," said BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka, who noted the studio's belief in video games as an art form. "On behalf of the 120 people who poured their blood and tears into this game over three years, we're just really hurt that someone would misrepresent the game without even playing it. All we can hope for is that people who actually play our games will see the truth."

In a letter, Electronic Arts labeled the Fox News segment as "a new level of recklessness" and demanded th Fox News correct its errors. Fox News then invited the company to appear on-air and set the record straight, though EA has yet to determine if it will accept the invitation.

The gaming public pursued its own form of vigilante justice in response, initiating a smear campaign on Lawrence's latest book, The Cult of Perfection: Making Peace With Your Inner Overachiever. Online retailers that allow user-submitted reviews, such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel, were inundated with false and extremely negative reviews, many of which gave the book the lowest possible rating and have now been removed.

The accompanying text often highlighted the fact that users had not actually read the book, instead basing their judgment on unsubstantiated rumors--much like Lawrence had done with Mass Effect.

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