Take-Two Interactive Software CEO Strauss Zelnick said Monday it’s wrong to blame gun violence in the United States on entertainment, pushing back against President Donald Trump’s suggestion that “gruesome and grisly video games” played a factor in recent mass shootings in the country.
Both comments come in the wake of two attacks in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that left dozens of people dead.
“The truth is it’s disrespectful to the victims and the families to point the finger at entertainment,” Zelnick said in an interview with “Mad Money’s” Jim Cramer. “Entertainment is part of people’s daily joy and it’s consumed worldwide and it’s the same worldwide [that] gun violence is uniquely American and that has to change, and that will only change if we address the real issues.”
Zelnick did not go as far as to spell out what he thought those real issues are. Shares of a number of video game producers saw their stock prices fall as much as 6% in one session last week following Trump’s comments.
There is no evidence to back the claim that games are causing mass shootings, CNBC reported.
Federal officials have labeled the tragedy in El Paso a case of domestic terrorism because the suspect allegedly wrote online that the shooting, which was carried out in a Walmart store, was intended to counter a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” White supremacy and mental health are said to be other motives behind the incident.
In response, Walmart ordered its chains to remove signs and gaming demos that promoted video games with violent themes. However, the company made no moves to address how it sells firearms in its stores.
Both shootings, which occurred in the same weekend, have reportedly left 31 people dead and thrust gun control and rights back to the top of political debates.
Take-Two is the maker of the popular video game series Grand Theft Auto and NBA 2K. Grand Theft Auto V has reportedly become one of the game publisher’s top-selling games with almost 100 million units sold since its 2013 release.
WATCH: Cramer chats with Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick
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