In a wide-ranging New York Times interview, Vice President Joe Biden recently suggested that video games “teach people how to kill.”
The remarks came as part of a broader conversation about regulating Silicon Valley. The Presidential hopeful tried to make the case that he and the Obama administration had been tough on Big Tech. He cited the campaign to pass the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011, as well as the push back he got from Tech executives, recounting one tense meeting in particular.
Representatives from several industries were present, but Biden saved his most biting remarks for the makers of video games. He specifically mocked “one of the little creeps sitting around the table” who claimed to be an “artist.”
[Joe Biden]: And you may recall, the criticism I got for meeting with the leaders in Silicon Valley, when I was trying to work out an agreement dealing with them protecting intellectual property for artists in the United States of America. And at one point, one of the little creeps sitting around that table, who was a multi- — close to a billionaire — who told me he was an artist because he was able to come up with games to teach you how to kill people, you know the ——
[Times Opinion writer Charlie Warzel]: Like video games.
[Biden]: Yeah, video games.
Neither Biden nor his campaign have identified the “little creep” in question. The folks at Kotaku made a case for EA’s former CEO John Riccitiello. After he resigned Riccitello was sued for sexual harassment.
This isn’t the first time Biden has criticized video games. As TechSpot points out, the Vice President proposed a tax on violent titles in 2013, though that particular idea did not have the support of President Obama.
There have been numerous studies of whether video games promote violent behavior, and the answer is mostly no. But the video game industry is still problematic in a number of ways, including the queasy relationship between video game makers and people like gun lobbyists and military recruiters.