Warner Bros., the Hollywood studio headed by high-profile Obama fundraiser Barry Meyer has been planning a bigscreen adaptation of the violent third-person shooter video game Mass Effect.
Mass Effect was cited in media coverage of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting this month after social media users attacked the game’s Facebook page because Ryan Lanza, the shooter’s brother, “liked” the game on Facebook.
No verifiable link currently exists between the game and the mass shooting in Connecticut that claimed the lives of 26 people, including 20 children.
Nevertheless, as the Obama administration focuses on pushing new gun control policies in the aftermath of the shooting, Warner Bros.’ development of the Mass Effect film might raise new concerns about the motion picture industry’s role in disseminating violent content to teenagers.
“Mass Effect is primarily a shooter based game,” according to the pop culture website whatculture.com. “At every stage of the story, Commander Shepard and his two selected team members go to a new planet and at some point or another, start shooting…”
EA Games announced in May 2010 that Warner Bros., along with producing partner Legendary Pictures, acquired the film rights to Mass Effect and tapped the game’s executive producer to executive produce the film.
Screenwriter Morgan Davis Foehl was recently added to the Mass Effect project, Variety reported on October 24.
Warner Bros. CEO Meyer, like numerous other Hollywood executives, supported President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
First Lady Michelle Obama was the guest of honor at a fundraiser held at Meyer’s home in his gated community in Los Angeles on August 12. Tickets to Meyer’s fundraiser reportedly cost between $2,500 and $25,000, with proceeds going to the Obama Victory Fund.
Meyer reportedly told his guests to remember “why we’re involved in politics.”
“It’s to support a president who believes in all the things we believe in,” Meyer said.
Guests at Meyer’s fundraiser included fellow Warner Bros. executives, as well as executives from HBO and DreamWorks Animation SKG, among others.
Meyer is also a campaign contributor to Democratic California senator Dianne Feinstein.
Meyer is a board member of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and has also been a financial contributor to the MPAA Political Action Committee.
The MPAA, headed by former Democratic Connecticut senator Chris Dodd, has publicly supported the Obama administration’s gun control policies in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre.
Before Dodd began running the organization, the MPAA garnered scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission in the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine shootings for allegedly marketing violent content to teenagers.
Apart from the proposed assault weapons ban that Feinstein said she will introduce on the first day of the next Congress, it is unclear whether lawmakers will take any other steps, including a renewed look at the motion picture and video game industries, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting.