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ESA, ECA in row over E3 keynote speaker

The choice of Texas Governor Rick Perry as E3 keynote speaker has sparked controversy and allegations of politicising the event

GamePolitics - a website run by the Entertainment Consumers Association - and the Entertainment Software Association are currently in a row with each other over the choice of keynote speaker for this year's E3.

The keynote address will be delivered by Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose qualifications were called into question by GamePolitics when Perry's selection was announced several weeks ago.

Yesterday, Wired reported that Governor Perry affirmed comments of controversial minister John Hagee who said in a sermon that those people who don't live according to Christian values are "going straight to hell with a nonstop ticket."

"In my faith, that's what it says, and I'm a believer of that," Governor Perry told the Dallas Morning News following the sermon. He later clarified is comment by stating: "That's what the faith says. I understand, and my caveat there is that an all-knowing God certainly transcends my personal ability to make that judgment black and white."

Following this news, GamePolitics called upon the ESA to rescind the offer.

The ESA responded by sending a letter to Joystiq.

In the letter, the ESA's senior director of communications, Dan Hewitt, wrote: "If the ESA posted a blog and called it a news site, journalists would rightfully balk and it wouldn't pass a smell test. Remarkably, GamePolitics doesn't face the same scrutiny even though it's funded by the ECA and tainted with anti-ESA vitriol. At the end of the day, calling GamePolitics a news site is as laughable as saying there's a Cuban free press."

GamePolitics responded by indicating that ECA president Hal Halpin has insisted that the site retain its editorial independence since it was acquired in October 2006.

"I suspect that, given its current difficulties retaining member companies, the ESA is uncomfortable with the level of scrutiny directed at it by some news outlets," said GamePolitics' Dennis McCauley in a communication to Joystiq.

"Ultimately, an organization like the ESA is judged by its performance, and, right now, it's fair to call that performance into question. When a politician is keynoting E3, that's worth questioning. When the politician has made divisive comments, like those attributed to Gov. Perry, that's really worth questioning."

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