California State Senator Leland Yee isn't fond of video games. To make sure everyone knew, he authored 2011's failed bill to ban the sale of violent video games to minors. The bill, as you might remember, fell apart; the Supreme Court eventually ruled it unconstitutional, saying that games deserved the same level of protection as other forms of art. Yee wasn't happy. He put out a press release stating that "the majority of the Supreme Court once again put the interests of corporate America before the interests of our children."
At the time, that statement seemed delusional--and a little bit sad. But today's events change the tone of that press release, as it has just been revealed that Yee is under arrest on public corruption charges. I think I speak for everyone when I say: hahaha oh my god this is absolutely hilarious. And it serves as a reminder that pretty much anyone this vocal against video games may be a little bit crazy.
Yee's 2011 press release continues: "As a result of their decision, Wal-Mart and the video game industry will continue to make billions of dollars at the expense of our kids' mental health and the safety of our community." If only Yee knew that a mere three years later, he'd be handcuffed based on allegations that he took campaign money in exchange for facilitating deals with arms dealers and Chinatown gangsters. It's fun to imagine the faux righteousness Yee wrote his statement with while (allegedly) being on the take. Honestly, he's starting to sound like a Grand Theft Auto character.
"It is simply wrong that the video game industry can be allowed to put their profit margins over the rights of parents and the well-being of children" is literally the next line in his press release. That's actually what it says--I'm not making any of this up. Oh, Yee. Yee, Yee, Yee. You might have wanted to word that a little better, is all I'm saying.
None of this should really be all that surprising, because the loudest anti-game lobbyists have a proud lineage of doing crazy things. The last flag-waving, chest-pounding activist to make as much noise as Yee was Jack Thompson, who spent years doing everything in his power to take down the industry. He went on TV, publically screamed at Rockstar, and tried to destroy the gaming industry. The result? He was permanently disbarred by Florida's Supreme Court for inappropriate conduct (which included fabricating information).
In case you're wondering, Thompson later claimed he wasn't disbarred, then tried to sue Facebook because of course he did.
It'll be some time until we know exactly what was going on with Yee. He's likely going to plead not guilty, and then there will be a trial, and then we'll find out whether or not he was as corrupt as the people who arrested him think he is. And I'm sure there are plenty of totally honest people out there that totally hate video games but aren't going to do anything insane. For now, though, let's take this opportunity to appreciate the irony for a few minutes. I think we've earned it.