31 October 2019
Two publications designed to encourage people to commit terrorist acts against innocent people and minority groups have been banned, Chief Censor David Shanks announced today.
The document said to have been shared by the terrorist who killed two people in Halle, Germany earlier this month has been classified as objectionable under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993. Also banned is a video game that puts the player in the role of a killer called ‘Brenton Torrent’ with the game play consisting solely of the murder of defenceless people.
“These publications promote killing and terrorism and serve no positive purpose,” Mr Shanks said.
Mr Shanks declared the 35 minute long livestream of the fatal Halle as objectionable on 10 October. Two people were killed in the attacks, one outside a synagogue and the other in a kebab shop, which were livestreamed by the killer on gaming site Twitch. Now the related documents are also illegal.
“I used my call-in power in order to classify the instructional documents reportedly shared by the killer before his attacks. I have classified these as objectionable as they clearly aim to help teach and encourage others who are willing to commit similar atrocities against innocent people.”
Also today Mr Shanks announced a video game [“The Shitposter” from 2 Genderz Productions] that celebrates the livestream of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch is classified objectionable.
“The creators of this game set out to produce and sell a game designed to place the player in the role of a white supremacist terrorist killer. In this game, anyone who isn’t a white heterosexual male is a target for simply existing.
“This game is cheaply and crudely made, with little or no appeal in terms of the challenge of its gameplay. Everything about this game, from the name of the shooter character down to its purchase price ($14.88 – embodying the “14 Words” white supremacist slogan and ‘88’ the recognised code for ‘Heil Hitler’) makes it clear that this is a product created for and marketed to white supremacists who are interested in supporting and celebrating white extremist attacks.
“This isn’t the first game of this type we have seen, and in fact in April of this year I spoke to media about another crude and vicious game that promoted mass murder by the same ‘Brenton Torrent’ character. At that time I said that I did not see any point in giving the producers of this game the attention that they were seeking by classifying it. I also explained how we had reached out to the gaming industry to ensure that this toxic product was not given promotion and a platform.
“This has now changed. The game producers appear intent on producing a ‘family’ of white extremist games, and they have established a revenue stream, with customers from New Zealand and from around the world able to purchase the games from the producer’s website. I could not ignore this game given the very real concerns around this latest game that were raised with me. Having assessed it now it is clear that this game promotes and celebrates white extremist mass murder. The games producers will try to dress their work up as satire but this game is no joke.
“It crosses the line.
“Most New Zealanders will find this game abhorrent and will not want to come across it, even accidentally. I have reached out to New Zealand ISP’s to notify them of my classification of this game, and to ask that they consider what steps they can take to protect their customers from this illegal content.
“For the public, the message is simple. These are illegal, terrorist-promotional products designed to spread hate and encourage killing. Don’t support, purchase or distribute this stuff. If you come across it, report it to the Internal Affairs Digital Safety team. If you hold copies of them – delete these now.”
Internal Affairs’ Director Digital Safety, Jolene Armadoros, urges New Zealanders to think about their online safety.
“We are committed to keeping New Zealanders safe from harm through the prevention and detection of objectionable content, and by educating Kiwis on how to keep themselves and their whānau safe online,” said Ms Armadoros.
“Sharing, hosting and downloading objectionable content is an offence under New Zealand law, if you are concerned something you have seen is illegal, email firstname.lastname@example.org”
MEDIA CONTACT Maggie Tait 0273 469 570