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British tabloid The Daily Star published and has since pulled and apologized for an article regarding a fake Grand Theft Auto video game based on real shootings and will pay damages to the series’ publisher which will be donating the money to charity.
Writer Jerry Lawton’s article was based on a mock-up of box art he found depicting a GTA game based in Rothbury following the events of the manhunt to apprehend Raoul Moat, a man who shot three people including a police officer, killing one, and eventually committing suicide. Lawton presented the game as being real despite only having a mock-up of box art to back up his story.
Members of the video game community immediately brought Lawton’s lack of research into question causing the tabloid to pull the story. The Daily Star has since apologized to GTA publisher Rockstar Games for criticizing the company for a fake game and admitted the article lacked research.
“We made no attempt to check the accuracy of the story before publication and did not contact Rockstar Games prior to publishing the story. We also did not question why a best selling and critically acclaimed fictional games series would choose to base one of their most popular games on this horrifying real crime event.”
The Daily Star representatives said the tabloid will be paying “a substantial amount in damages” to Rockstar Games which the company will be donating to charity.
Before the tabloid issued its apology, Lawton criticized the video game community via Facebook for drawing attention to his story.
“Baffled by the fury of adult gamers,” Lawton wrote. “These are grown (?!?) men who sit around all day playing computer games with one another who’ve today chosen to enter the real world just long enough to complain about my story slamming a Raoul Moat version of Grand Theft Auto! You would think I’d denied the Holocaust!!! Think I’ll challenge them to a virtual reality duel….stab….I win!!!”
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