Grand Theft Auto's Hawick district 'could destroy' real-life town's reputation, says councillor

Naming one of the dilapidated districts in Grand Theft Auto 5 "Hawick" could destroy the real-life Scottish town's reputation, according to the city's councillor David Paterson.

Paterson told BBC News that the name's use could "destroy the reputation" of the real town, referring to it as "adverse publicity" that Hawick does not deserve.

"I am absolutely disgusted — there is a lot of history and a lot of good things happening in the town," Paterson said. "We have got a lot of good things planned for this coming year. It is going to destroy the good reputation of the town.

"Why did they pick on Hawick?" he added. "It is a lovely town.

"It is perceptions, it is how people will perceive the town. They might perceive Hawick in a bad light and Hawick is a lovely place — a lot of people are very, very proud of Hawick."

Hawick's Member of Scottish Parliament John Lamont has invited Grand Theft Auto 5's producers to visit the town in an effort to show them the its atmosphere. He noted that the developers "clearly do not know Hawick well."

"Not only is [GTA 5] a game which includes violence, sex and drugs, but the game's producers themselves describe the area of Hawick in the game as having a 'drug addict hipster vibe,'" Lamont said. "While some may take the view that any publicity is good publicity, I am sure that many local residents will see this as an insensitive move from Rockstar North. The game undoubtedly portrays Hawick in a bad light and is likely to sell tens of millions of copies over the next year.

"Hawick is one of the most beautiful towns in Scotland and I am sure that by showing them the town and telling them of its proud history they will realize the mistake they have made," he added.

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