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Rockstar to shut down GTA Online, Red Dead Online in support of Black Lives Matter

Take-Two Interactive Software shut down access to Grand Theft Auto Online, Red Dead Online, and several other games Thursday to support Black Lives Matter and demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd.

The game developer will turn off services between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. PT today to “honor the legacy of George Floyd” and support Black Lives Matter’s fight against racial injustice.

“To honor the legacy of George Floyd and in observance of his memorial service, today from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET, our labels, Rockstar Games, 2K and Social Point, will be shutting down access to their online games, Grand Theft Auto Online, Red Dead Online, NBA 2K, Dragon City and Monster Legends,” said Alan Lewis, vice president of corporate communications for Take-Two. “In addition, our Private Division label will respectfully suspend their activities during that time. George Floyd’s memory will serve as a reminder that racism and the violence it incites cannot be tolerated.  We are committed to supporting efforts to eradicate racial injustice and stand in solidarity with the Black community against this systemic issue that causes conflict and division in our society.”

In a follow-up tweet, Rockstar Games asked players to consider donating to funds that support families who have faced racism, Black-owned businesses, and protesters who have called for racial justice.

Following the memorial, we hope you will join us in further honoring the many victims of America's racial injustices by supporting their families, black-owned businesses, those marching on the streets, and coalitions through the organizations listed here:

— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) June 4, 2020

The U.S. is reeling from the tragic death last month of Minneapolis man George Floyd. Soon after this death, protesters took to cities across the country calling for an end to racism and police brutality against Black Americans. Four police officers involved in Floyd’s death have been charged, including Derek Chauvin, who held his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Chauvin is facing a second-degree murder charge.

Companies across the video game industry have come out in full support of the protests and Black Lives Matter. On Monday, Electronic Arts had planned to unveil Madden NFL 21 but ultimately canceled the event to support the movement. Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson said yesterday that the company would also donate $1 million to organizations that fight racial injustice and give employees an extra paid day off each to volunteer and create positive change in their communities.

Sony canceled a PlayStation 5 event this week, where it was expected to unveil upcoming games for the console, and Epic Games said yesterday that it would delay Fortnite Season 3 until later this month. Infinity Ward postponed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty Warzone Season 4 until further notice so players could focus on addressing racism.

Updated at 11:35 a.m. PT to include more details.

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Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology, video game, and entertainment journalist. He has been writing about the world of…
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