Take-Two Interactive owns Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar and is publishing the upcoming title. The letter was delivered to Strauss Zelnick's lawyer, per a past settlement that only allows Thompson to communicate with Take-Two via counsel.
Thompson's meandering letter compares Strauss to a Hitler Youth, quotes scripture, accuses him of causing the death of three Alabama police officers, questions if the Boy Scouts ever awarded him a Ted Bundy merit badge, and wishes the chairman's mom a happy Mother's Day.
The complete, unedited letter follows:
Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two Chairman's Mother
New York, New York Via e-mails to intermediaries
Re: Your Son, Strauss Zelnick
Dear Mrs. Zelnick:
Your son, as you may know (or maybe you don't know), is Chairman of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., whose most popular video games are the Grand Theft Auto murder simulator games banned in some countries but sold to children here.
Your son last week was reported to have said the following about Grand Theft Auto IV, due to be released Tuesday, April 29: "We've already received numerous [GTA IV] reviews, and to a one, they are perfect scores. My mom couldn't write better reviews..." Taking your son's thought, I would encourage you either to play this game or have an adroit video gamer play it for you. Some of the latter gamers are on death row, so try to find one out in the civilian population who hasn't killed someone yet.
What you will see in your son's game, if this iteration of GTA is anything like its predecessors, is incredible interactive violence aimed at police officers (whom you can shoot in the head and see the blood spray), innocent bystanders (whom you can run over with your car just for the heck of it), and of course the plentiful female prostitutes you can have sex with and then filet with a knife or stomp with your feet in order to get your money back. Experts note that the recent plethora of cop killings is caused in part by your darling son's entrepreneurial energy. There are three policemen dead in Alabama because of Grand Theft Auto. I was on 60 Minutes about it. I hope Strauss has provided you with a flat screen tv to see the grief of the bereaved families that fills the screen.
The pornography and violence that your son trafficks in is the kind of stuff that most mothers would be ashamed to see their son putting into the hands of other mothers' children, but, hey, your son Strauss has recently assured the world that he is "a Boy Scout, everybody knows that." I'd love to see the merit badges that Scout Troop handed out. Is there a Ted Bundy merit badge? If so, your loving son deserves one now. It should be red and green, for obvious reasons.
With Passover having just come and gone, it is appropriate to note the following from the Old Testament, Proverbs 22:6:
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Mrs. Zelnick, did you train up your son, Strauss, to make millions of dollars by pushing Mature-rated video games to children? Any kid can go right to little Strauss' corporate web site and buy GTA IV with no age verification. Strauss is even marketing the new Grand Theft Auto IV on World Wrestling Entertainment tv shows seen by millions of kids. If you trained up Strauss to do this, then shame on you.
But maybe the explanation for your son's corporate sociopathy is to be found in Old Testament Proverb 29:15:
"The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."
Maybe you, Mrs. Zelnick, were so taken by your handsome son that you spared the rod and spoiled the child. That would explain why he has brought you, by the way he presently acts, "to shame."
There's another mother you would do well to talk to. Mrs. Crump in Alabama had a son who was a police officer. He's now dead because a teenaged boy unwittingly trained himself to kill him on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. She has a grief she carries every day that only a mother can know.There are other such mothers in the heartland of America whose inhabitants your son simply sees as commercial targets.
Your son, this very moment, is doing everything he possibly can to sell as many copies of GTA IV to teen boys in the United States, a country in which your son claims you raised him to be "a Boy Scout." More like the Hitler Youth, I would say. Happy Mother's day, Mrs. Zelnick, which this year is May 11, two weeks after your son unleashes porn and violence upon other mothers' boys. I'm sure you're very proud.
"I sent it to Strauss Zelnick's lawyer," Thompson clarified to Diehard GameFAN. "I have no idea who his mother is or where she is.
"You're familiar with the concept of "shame," right? He can show it to his mother or not, but of course he won't because he wouldn't want his mother to know what he does and how he harms other people's kids."