Target Australia will pull popular R-rated video game Grant Theft Auto V (GTA5) from its shelves after an online petition slammed the game for encouraging players to “commit sexual violence and kill women”.
The petition, authored by former sex workers, has so far attracted almost 40,000 signatures.
It says the “sickening game” encourages players to kill prostitutes and calls on Target to stop selling it.
“Games like this are grooming yet another generation of boys to tolerate violence against women,” the petition said.
General manager of corporate affairs Jim Cooper said Target would no longer sell the game.
“We’ve been speaking to many customers over recent days about the game, and there is a significant level of concern about the game’s content,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We’ve also had customer feedback in support of us selling the game, and we respect their perspective on the issue.
“However, we feel the decision to stop selling GTA5 is in line with the majority view of our customers.”
Mr Cooper said Target would continue to sell other R-rated DVDs and games.
“While these products often contain imagery that some customers find offensive, in the vast majority of cases, we believe they are appropriate products for us to sell to adult customers,” he said.
“However, in the case of GTA5, we have listened to the strong feedback from customers that this is not a product they want us to sell.”
GTA5 is an award-winning game which set a sales record for entertainment products, passing the $1 billion sales mark after three days.