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Strauss Zelnick says if violent games caused gun violence, he wouldn't sell them

Take-Two CEO: "I wouldn't choose to market substances that would cause people to get sick"

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has joined those speaking out against comments made by US president Donald Trump last week suggesting that a string of recent US shootings were linked to the existence of violent video games.

Speaking on CNBC's Mad Money, Zelnick affirmed host Jim Cramer's suggestion that there was no statistical link between gun violence and violent entertainment.

"You and I are both fathers," he said. "We're sons, we're siblings. This is a terrible tragedy. A senseless tragedy. It's fun to talk about entertainment, but lives were lost. The truth is that it's disrespectful to the victims and the families to point the finger at entertainment.

"Entertainment is part of people's daily joy, and it's consumed worldwide, and it's the same worldwide. Gun violence is uniquely American. That has to change, and that will only change if we address the real issues."

Cramer then asked Zelnick if, should he find a statistical link between gun violence and violent games, he would stop selling violent games.

"In the same way that I wouldn't choose to market substances that would cause people to get sick," Zelnick replied.

Zelnick's comments are a response to remarks in a speech given by Trump last week linking "gruesome and grisly" video games to two shootings the previous weekend -- one in El Paso, Texas, and another in Dayton, Ohio. Both the IGDA and the ESA have since weighed in defending the industry, while Walmart is taking down violent video game displays following multiple shootings at its stores, though it still sells firearms.

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Rebekah Valentine

Senior Staff Writer

Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.