Donald Trump’s administration produced a horrifying, blood-spattered video showcasing extreme video-game violence — and the YouTube clip has quickly become an internet hit.
Less than 24 hours after the White House uploaded it to YouTube, the gory and ultra-violent video has been viewed more than 600,000 times. The video was screened during President Trump’s meeting Thursday with game-industry execs, watchdog group reps, lawmakers and other attendees, and released on YouTube afterward.
Trump has suggested that video games may play a part in leading to mass shootings like the attack in Parkland, Fla., high school last month in which 17 people were killed. However, there’s never been any evidence that fantasy video-game violence correlates with real-world violence, as the game industry has pointed out.
The White House’s video-game violence reel was supposed drive discussion of whether “games that graphically simulate killing… desensitize our community to violence,” according to the press office. Critics have viewed the meeting as an irrelevant sideshow to the real issue of enacting meaningful gun-law reforms.
The video now ranks as the White House’s No. 5 most-viewed video on YouTube since Trump took office, topping the official video of his January 2017 inauguration. The account’s most popular video is of Melania Trump decorating the White House last Christmas, with 2.9 million views to date.
The 88-second video depicts numerous violent deaths including beheadings, clubbings, and stabbings, as well as people’s heads being shot off and a mass shooting with automatic weapons. The White House moved the video to “unlisted” status (meaning it does not appear on the channel or in searches) shortly after uploading it.
Why the video has gone viral is open to interpretation. Many viewers may simply be curious about what the White House decided to cherry-pick as examples of appalling video-game violence. But the montage has also drawn fans: A Newsweek writer, for example, called the video “awesome,” saying that it’s a “tribute to why people love video games.”
The games included in the video are all rated “M” (for mature audiences only, age 17 or older) by the video-game industry’s Entertainment Software Rating Board. The titles include “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” “Wolfenstein: The New Order,” “Dead by Daylight,” “Fallout 4” and “Sniper Elite 4.”
The Entertainment Software Association, a trade group that represents game publishers, has a standing statement on its website on the issue of whether video games contribute to real-world violence. “Violent crime, particularly among the young, has decreased dramatically since the early 1990s,” the ESA’s statement says in part. “During the same period of time, video games have steadily increased in popularity and use, exactly the opposite of what one would expect if there were a causal link.”
The White House’s video on video-game violence is below (and at this link). The video is unavailable on devices using YouTube’s Restricted Mode option for filtering out violent and other kid-inappropriate content, Polygon reported.
Warning: This video contains extremely violent and disturbing images.