Jack Thompson has been given a Freedom Award by America’s Freedom Festival in Utah County, a move that GamePolitics says “ignores a troubling list of negatives that stretches from Orem to Salt Lake City.”
Thompson, described in the Deseret News as “a lawyer dedicated to protecting children from violence, obscenity and pornography in the media,” was given the award for his dedication to the freedom of families, according to America’s Freedom Festival Director Paul Warner, who said Thompson put his own career at risk in his fight to keep obscenity out of the media. Warner credited Thompson with having lyrics by 2 Live Crew declared obscene, having the Body Count track “Cop Killer” removed from stores “worldwide,” and for forcing Howard Stern off public airwaves.
“For 21 years I have opposed the criminal distribution of adult entertainment to children because Jesus said if any of you should cause one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for you that a millstone be tied around your neck and you be cast into the uttermost depths of the sea,” Thompson said in his acceptance of the award. He added that despite the persecution and ridicule he has faced in his life, he would do it all over again with even more fervor than before.
But as Dennis McCauley of GamePolitics points out, Thompson’s Freedom Award overlooks aspects of his life and career including being found guilty of 27 offenses, among them knowingly making false statements and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, for which he has been recommended for a ten-year disbarment. Thompson also inclused of gay pornography in his court filings and called for the impeachment of the Utah Attorney General when it was suggested a videogame bill Thompson authored would be unconstitutional.
“There seem to be two possibilities here. One is that the selection committee did not conduct due diligence on its nominee,” McCauley writes. “The other is that they didn’t care. Perhaps the committee was aware of Thompson’s issues but chose to believe that they are part of some vast cultural conspiracy against him waged by liberals, the videogame industry, the Florida Bar, Florida Supreme Court, U.S. District Court, gays, shock radio, Blank-Rome, various judges, the Alabama Bar, etc. But at some point the idea of a conspiracy that vast becomes silly. What’s happening to Thompson now seems more like a judiciary consensus on the man’s conduct.”