President Trump is meeting with members of the video game industry tomorrow, March 8, to discuss violent video games. Despite the ESA previously saying that they had no word of such meeting last week, it seems that plans are finally coming together somewhat. We now have a partial list of who will be attending the meeting with Trump tomorrow.
The list of invitees include Robert Altman, CEO of Bethesda parent company ZeniMax will be attending. It should be noted that Robert Trump, the president's brother, will not be expected to attend. Another invitation went out to Strauss Zelnick, head of Take-Two, publisher of Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto and 2K Sports titles. The head of the Entertainment Software Association, Michael Gallagher, will also be attending.
The Washington Post reported that alongside members of the video game industry will be vocal critics of video games, such as Parents Television Council founder Brent Bozell and Rep. Vicky Hartzler (MO-R) will also be in attendance to the meeting.
Bozell once argued that video games which depict graphic content deserved as much scrutiny as the National Rifle Association, while Hartzler describers herself as an ardent support of the right to keep and bear arms, and has received political donations from the NRA during the 2016 election cycle.
Other lawmakers invited to the meeting include Representative Martha Roby (AL-R) and Senator Marco Rubio (FL-R) who announced could not attend due to scheduling conflicts.
"As we continue to work towards creating school safety programs that protect all children, the president will be meeting with video game industry leaders and Members of Congress to discuss violent video-game exposure and correlation to aggression and desensitization in children," said a White House spokeswoman. She added, "This meeting will be the first of many with industry leaders to discuss this important issue."
In the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting which left 17 dead, Trump said about video games, "I'm hearing more and more people say the level of violence in video games is really shaping young people's thoughts. And then you go the further step and that's the movies. You see these movies, they're so violent and yet a kid is able to see a movie if sex isn't involved, but killing is involved. Maybe they have to put a rating system for that."
The NRA has issued similar public declarations that violent video games, not guns, are responsible for warping the minds of developing children who then go out and commit violent crimes.
It is unclear whether the meeting will be televised, or if reporters are invited to sit in on the meeting, though the White House has shared that the meeting will take place in the Roosevelt Room starting at 11 am PT/ 2 pm ET. We will report on the events of the meeting as they arrive.
Trump follows his predecessor, President Barack Obama, in questioning the role of video games in gun violence. Following the Sandy Hook shooting in 2013, Obama asked Congress to pursue research on whether or not violent video games and violent behavior are linked.
However, according to The Daily Beast, Trump seems intent on pursuing policy that can blame video games for gun violence, with anonymous sources calling the meeting tomorrow "pointless," and a "stunt."
Check in tomorrow as we follow the events of the Trump administration's meeting with the video game industry.