Far-right Kenosha vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse announces shooter video game targeting media

On June 23, Kyle Rittenhouse, the fascist gunman who shot and killed two people and injured another during protests against police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, 2020, announced he was lending his name to a new game video.

The shooting of Kyle Rittenhouse’s turkey allows players to “[p]Play as Kyle Rittenhouse to destroy fake news turkeys in a simple shooter for all ages!

Among the targets: “turkeys” branded with the labels “fake news” and “MSDNC”, the latter being a portmanteau combining the liberal media MSNBC and the initials of the Democratic National Committee.

The ad and the game’s official website say proceeds from pre-orders, set at $10, will fund plans “to sue left-leaning media organizations for defamation.”

A video released by developer Mint Studios shows Rittenhouse posing with a nerf gun while claiming that “from the start” of filming he “did nothing wrong.” He goes on to state that the media has falsely smeared his name and that “it’s time to fight back against the fake news machine”. Right-wing pundits like Ann Coulter started promoting the game on Twitter.

Rittenhouse was acquitted in a Wisconsin courtroom in November 2021 for his vigilante killing spree. The World Socialist Website wrote at the time that the acquittal was a “judicial travesty”. We warned that the verdict would “embolde…violent paramilitary forces that have been cultivated in the orbit of Trump and the Republican Party” and promoted following mass protests against police killings.

The legal basis for Rittenhouse’s acquittal was fraud. Throughout the trial, the judge, who clearly sympathized with the defendant, ruled out any political context, such as Rittenhouse’s idolization of fascist militias and far-right causes.

The game’s silly premise aside, this is clearly part of an effort to associate the game’s developers with Rittenhouse and the far right in general. There are concerns, however, that the announcement of the video game is a scam.

Although pre-orders start at an above-average price, there’s no stated release date or window, and no explanation of what platform or storefront the game will release on – information considered essential. for game releases. This raises the possibility that the game is just a front to solicit political donations for the far-right vigilante, whose ‘lawsuits’ against ‘left-wing media’ are baseless and unlikely to pass legal scrutiny. .

The promotion of such violent propaganda by Rittenhouse and his ilk is tied to the broader ruling class assault on democratic rights, which is only heating up. The public promotion of a shooter featuring a fascist gunman targeting the media is a serious provocation and indicative of rising violence within the far right.

The game’s debut came on the same day as a pair of reactionary Supreme Court rulings that expanded the license to carry concealed weapons and restricted the ability of defendants whose Miranda rights were violated to sue the police. in damages. The repeal of the right to abortion on June 24 followed closely.

There are longstanding ties between the video game industry and the military and the far right. Write in 2020, the industry publication Rant Game noted that “the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and other branches all have a level of investment in the gaming world.”

“Due to failures of traditional recruiting methods,” the publication explains, “the U.S. military doubled down on digital recruiting efforts and found unconventional ways to reach potential soldiers.” Now, “[b]By accessing some of the most popular esports games on the web, it has direct access to thousands of gamers of all ages who could be valued recruits for the United States Armed Forces.

The far right has turned to the internet gaming community. In 2014, the “Gamergate” controversy, involving “very graphic and disturbing threats” (Washington Post) aimed at female game developers and other industry figures, produced real threats.

“The frenzy has reached extreme heights,” writes the Job. “In 2014, the Game Developers Conference received a bomb threat in response to a planned appearance at its awards show by Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist games critic. While her appearance went as planned, a months later, she canceled a speech at Utah State University after an email threatened to kill at the event.

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