Twitter user @lostblackboy (known as New York Times journalist Jamal Jordan) tweeted about a shooting game that his nephew was playing on his iPad that concerned him.
One of the missions, called “Breaking News,” featured a mission to kill a journalist who was going to be receiving information from a police officer.
The game, called “Sniper 3D Assassin,” is available on various app stores for mobile devices, as well as the platform Steam for PC.
My nephew let me play an iPad shooting game with him. He chose the mission: It’s called “Breaking News,” and the objective is to shoot a journalist who just received documents from a police officer.— Lil Uzi Hurt (@lostblackboy) May 18, 2019
The goal is to make the journalist “famous in a different way.” pic.twitter.com/nQy4Hzq97r
After he posted about the game, Huffington Post spoke with Jordan about why the mission was problematic and the effect it had on his nephew.
Jordan told them:
“My nephew is 10, and we had a very long talk after.”
Many people were concerned with the mission’s theme.
WTAF? Also, I’m glad it was eliminated.
— Tina Hoggatt (@tinahoggatt) May 19, 2019
I know you had to have a quiet little talk with neph after that, because … I’d have nearly flipped a table.
— Greg Greene (@ggreeneva) May 18, 2019
Well, this is horrifying.
— Lauren Hard (@laurenhard) May 18, 2019
Shortly after Jordan spoke with Huffington Post, the game’s developers, TFG Co., removed the level from the game.
A couple of days ago, I tweeted about a game called 3D Sniper Assassin. It had a level called “Breaking News,” centered around shooting a journalist.
HuffPo saw my tweet, asked some questions and now the level has been removed. https://t.co/8jCNEO1PD3
— Lil Uzi Hurt (@lostblackboy) May 19, 2019
TFG Co. Chief Technology Officer, Michael Mac-Vicar, said of the removal:
“Our game Sniper 3D Assassin is fictional and is intended for mature audiences. At TFG, we work to create games that bring fun and entertainment to users all around the world.”
“As such, we take feedback from our players very seriously. After listening to our community today, we have decided to remove the mission ‘Breaking News’ from the game.”
Death threats toward journalists are unfortunately not rare, especially in recent years. In 2018 alone, 34 journalists were murdered, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
This includes the five people who were killed by a gunman who opened fire in the offices of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland last year.
It is ideal to think of the message that a game will send before releasing it, but kudos to TFG for listening to public feedback and making swift changes.