Kmart Pulling All Grand Theft Auto Titles From Australian Shelves

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Following the announcement that Australian retail store Target would be removing all copies of Grand Theft Auto V from stores due to the game’s depiction of violence against women, it has been reported that Kmart Australia will be pulling all versions of the game from its shelves.

Reports Gizmodo, Kmart Australia has said they have decided to stop selling all GTA titles “following a significant review of all content in Grand Theft Auto Games”. This reportedly includes all Grand Theft Auto titles, including Grand Theft Auto V, Grand Theft Auto 4 and its various spin-off episodes. ”Kmart apologises for not being closer to the content of this game,” added the retailer in a statement.

Though GTA V has been available In Australia for more than a year, the push for its ban comes after the game was re-released with new features for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, including a controversial first-person mode. A recent petitionwhich obtained over 41,000 signatures, called on Target to withdraw the game because of its depiction of violence against women. It was launched by a group of survivors of sexual violence who said the game sends a painful and dangerous message.

“It’s a game that encourages players to murder women for entertainment. The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get ‘health’ points – and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking,” the petition reads.

In response to the petition, Target released a statement announcing they will “stop selling the R-rated video game Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA5) following feedback from customers about the game’s depictions of violence against women.” It is understood that this action will only relate to versions of Grand Theft Auto V. 

Target said it will continue to sell other R18+ rated content ,“however, in the case of GTA 5, we have listened to the strong feedback from customers that this is not a product they want us to sell.” Target Australia and Kmart Australia are both owned by retail company Wesfarmers.

While the first person mode isn’t explicitly referenced in the petition, according to the founder of the Stop Demand Foundation, who convinced NZ Warehouse Group to pull the game, it is the introduction of this new feature in the updated version of the game that provided the catalyst for her group to act.

“GTA has always been a deeply misogynistic, hyper-masculine game that reduces women largely to strippers and prostitutes,” she told Kotaku. “However, the new 1st person interactive mode released globally last week significantly ratchets up gamers’ experiences.”

Fans of the game have already taken to social media to complain about the retailers’ decision. “So you’re suggesting you are above the decision making skills of adults, and the classification board? Crazy decision,” responded one customer on Twitter to Target’s announcement. “The rating clearly states R 18+ “high impact themes and drug use”. If you don’t like it, don’t play it,” wrote another.