Boston Common Asks Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority (MBTA) and State Governor to Halt Advertisements of Violent Video Games on Public Transportation

BOSTON, MA – Boston Common Asset Management, together with its clients, submitted a letter to Massachusetts State Governor Mitt Romney requesting that a current ad contract with the Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority for Grand Theft Auto video games be allowed to expire without renewal.

Grand Theft Auto is an interactive series of video games that promote violence, display graphic sexual acts, and use racial stereotyping. In order to score points, players avoid and kill police officers, solicit and beat prostitutes, and hunt for drugs. In light of the recent surge in violence in the Boston area, we feel it is particularly irresponsible of the MBTA to act as a billboard for products that promote urban violence. The advertisements have been running on the outside of MBTA Green Line trolleys and the Commuter Rail since January 3, 2006.

Boston Common Asset Management was the primary filer of a shareholder proposal with Wal-Mart Stores in 2005, asking the retailer to strengthen its policies regarding the sale of violent video games to minors. The Economist Magazine explored the issue of violent video game use by children in its August 4, 2005 edition. Please feel free to read our letter to the editor.

Boston Common’s request to Governor Romney was also forwarded to Thomas Menino, Boston City Mayor, John Cogliano, Massachusetts State Secretary of Transportation and MBTA Chairman, Daniel A. Grabauskas, MBTA General Manager, Kenneth E. Reeves, Mayor of Cambridge, and Kathleen M. O’Toole, Boston Police Department Police Commissioner.

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For more information please contact: Dawn Wolfe, Social Research and Advocacy Analyst, Boston Common Asset Management, (617) 720-5557
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