Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick offered up this statement to IGN about Target Australia’s decision:
We are disappointed that an Australian retailer has chosen no longer to sell Grand Theft Auto V – a title that has won extraordinary critical acclaim and has been enjoyed by tens of millions of consumers around the world. Grand Theft Auto V explores mature themes and content similar to those found in many other popular and groundbreaking entertainment properties. Interactive entertainment is today’s most compelling art form and shares the same creative freedom as books, television, and movies. I stand behind our products, the people who create them, and the consumers who play them.
“Following feedback from customers about the game’s depictions of violence against women,” Target Australia announced today that they will stop selling Grand Theft Auto V.
Likely stemming from a petition on Change.org with over 40,000 supporters, Target General Manager of Corporate Affairs Jim Cooper says they’ve been speaking to customers over the last few days about GTAV and “there is a significant level of concern about the game’s content.”
Adding how he respects the customer’s perspective on the issue, Cooper said, “We feel the decision to stop selling GTAV is in line with the majority view of our customers.”
Despite the removal of the R-rated Grand Theft Auto V, Target Australia will continue to sell other R-rated DVDs and games.
While these products often contain imagery that some customers find offensive, in the vast majority of cases, we believe they are appropriate products for us to sell to adult customers.
However, in the case of GTAV, we have listened to the strong feedback from customers that this is not a product they want us to sell.
A petition to get Grand Theft Auto V back on sale through Target Australia is also up, though only 180 people have supported it.
Rockstar has yet to make any comment on the matter.