Take-Two’s Grand Theft Auto Pulled From Australia Shelves

Grand Theft Auto V, the Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. game featuring gangsters swimming with sharks, was pulled from Australia's largest department-store chain after complaints about scenes of violence against women.

The decision is consistent with the majority view of customers, Jim Cooper, general manager of corporate affairs at Target, a unit of Wesfarmers Ltd., said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Target is Australia’s largest department-store chain by outlets with about A$3.5 billion ($2.9 billion) of sales last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Grand Theft was the second-highest selling video game in the week ended Nov. 22 with sales of 2.4 million copies, according to vgchartz.com, after it was released for the newest consoles from Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

“We have listened to the strong feedback,” Cooper said. “This is not a product they want us to sell.”

Alan Lewis, a New York-based spokesman for Take-Two, didn’t immediately respond to a message left out of office hours on his telephone.

A petition on website change.org has attracted more than 40,000 supporters, saying the product “makes a game of bashing, killing and horrific violence against women.”

Classification Board, which sets Australian content ratings for films, games and publications, banned sales of Grand Theft Auto III in 2001 after ruling that it was unsuitable for minors.

The R18+ rating given to the latest version of the series, which restricts access to adults only, wasn’t available for computer games in 2001.