Leland Yee, the California State Senator who staked his reputation on protecting the young from violent video games after the Hot Coffee mod in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas first came to light, now finds himself in a bit of hot water. Today, California officials charged him with bribery and corruption.
Charges were filed and Leland Yee was arrested today, according to reports from KCRA-TV a local television station in California. In addition to serving as a State Senator, Yee was also running as a Democrat for the secretary of state of California.
Right now, little to nothing is known about the charges. However, Yee’s track record with video games and video gamers makes today’s arrest that much more baffling. As recent as last January of 2013 Yee went on a tirade against violent video games and those who play them, telling the San Francisco Chronicle that users who play violent video games had to “just quiet down.”
“Gamers have no credibility in this argument. This is all about their lust for violence and the industry’s lost for money. This is a billion-dollar industry. This is about their self-interest.” The comments were made in the run up to a vote for a bill that Yee introduced. That bill would have banned sales of violent video games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Call of Duty.
It’s a subject GottaBeMobile tackled late last year when Rockstar Games introduced its follow-up to GTA: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto V. If anything that game was slightly more colorful and filled with even more unsavory topics and violence than past versions of the game. Hot Coffee, the issue that prompt Yee’s bill, was a hidden and incomplete game mode that allowed players to simulate sexual acts in GTA: San Andreas.
The United States Supreme Court later ruled that such a ban was unconstitutional and that there was no conclusive evidence that violent video games made teens and minors act violently. That effectively killed Yee’s 2005 bill.
All told, it’s a very interesting situation that Yee now finds himself in. His opposition to violent video games was based completely on the idea that those games reinforced violent tendencies in those too young to be exposed to it. If Leland Yee is convicted he finds himself in the same place, effectively glorifying bribery and corruption with his own choices and position in the public spotlight.
Of course, that’s a big if and Yee is completely innocent until being convicted by a jury made up of his peers.