To get online access to Rockstar Games,
the New York-based video games developer known mostly for its Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, and L.A. Noire
series, visitors are required to verify that they’re of a certain age,
presumably 18 years or older.
So it infuriates Jennifer Carter no end that a billboard advertising Grand Theft Auto V, the latest game in the GTA series launched last week, is located on the northeast corner of Figueroa Street and Cypress, within spitting distance of Florence Nightingale Middle School.
“I live in Highland Park and drive by Nightingale every morning on my commute to work,” Carter told Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch. “I can't help but notice the billboard directly in front of the school and what it is advertising.”
Although Carter concedes that Nightingale has “no say on what gets advertised” across the street from the campus, she said she e-mailed the school’s assistant principal, identified only as “Mr. Allwright” on the school’s website, on Tuesday “to ask for support to contact Rockstar Games and tell them to take the billboard down.”
She herself has done so, Carter said, but hasn’t heard back from the Soho-based company yet. “More voices will get the message heard,” she urged Allwright, adding: “I wanted to direct this e-mail to the principal, but I was unable to locate an e-mail address for her.” (Carter later told Patch that she did e-mail the principal.)
Carter, who grew up in Highland Park, said she understands “the difficulties administrators and teachers face to educate children in a low-income neighborhood where parental involvement and support is lacking, compared to wealthier neighborhoods.”
The point, she stressed, is that she can’t imagine parents from more well-off schools tolerating a billboard showing the crude image of a man pointing two fingers at his neck. "The billboard shows the guy with markings on his neck that read 'Cut Here,' insinuating that he's slitting his throat," Carter said.
“The gaming industry knows better, but unfortunately they seem to not care if it’s in a neighborhood where no one says anything,” she said, referring to the GTA billboard.
“I don't have a child at that school, nor do I have any connections other than being a local concerned resident,” Carter said in her e-mail to Allwright, adding that she’s waiting to hear back from the assistant principal.
Editor's note: This article has been slightly modified since it was originally posted.