Speaking at the BMO Capital Markets 2014 Technology & Digital Media Conference today, Slatoff claimed that people who find individual pieces of content offensive should simply not buy that product.
The petition, from women who had previously experienced sexual violence and violence in the sex industry, stated that GTA 5 "makes a game of bashing, killing and horrific violence against women" and "links sexual arousal and violence." The petition attracted almost 50,000 signatures and led to Target and K-Mart in Australia pulling GTA 5 from their shelves.
"It's one thing for someone to not want to buy a piece of content, which is completely understandable," Slatoff said. "And that's really the solution. If you don't like it and it's offensive to you, then you don't buy it."
In Grand Theft Auto 5, players can perform sexual acts with sex workers, and then beat and murder them. The game allows for violence against many in-game characters.
If you don't like it and it's offensive to you, then you don't buy it.
Slatoff argued that the petition and its results were an infringement on free speech. "For a person or a group of people to try to make that decision for millions of people... We have 34 million people who bought Grand Theft Auto, and if these folks had their way, none of those people would be able to buy Grand Theft Auto," he said. "And that really just flies in the face of everything that free society is based on. It's the freedom of expression, and to try to squelch that is a dangerous and slippery slope to go down."
Slatoff said the retailers' decision and the petition was not a big deal to Take-Two's business overall. "It's really more disappointing for us in that regard than it is in the context of our business. Our business is going to be completely unaffected by this; it doesn't make a difference to us. At the end of the day though, it's not something you want because it's a poor leadership decision."