Backbench MP Keith Vaz – better known within the game community for his frequently objectionable outbursts on violent game content – has made a last-minute exit from the Westminster eForum debate where he would have faced a number of execs in the game industry.
Vaz had a panel seat booked alongside the likes of EA’s Keith Ramsdale and Tiga CEO Richard Wilson, but at the eleventh hour event organizers announced he “couldn’t make it”.
Today’s Whitehall eForum event had featured various panel discussions with guests such as David Braben, Eidos’ Ian Livingstone, game enthusiast MP Tom Watson and shadow culture minister Ed Vaizey.
Attendees jeered upon hearing the announcement that Vaz wouldn’t be joining them, and the crammed meeting room was evidently filled with industry execs who wanted to ask Vaz to explain his frequent colouring of games as evil.
Vaz quickly became the subject of ridicule from his fellow panelists as well as audience members. Ian Livingstone was Vaz’s last minute replacement for the panel, and the Eidos Life President took his seat and began to pejoratively recite the kind of soundbites Vaz is known for.
“Games are evil, games are terrible, games are turning children into killers,” he joked.
It became clear as discussion unfolded that Vaz was probably right to send a sick-note; Ed Vaizey joked that he should now be called “Keith Chavaz” after remarks recently made by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez that games are evil, hellish, not nice and so on.
“Hugo Chavez has jumped on the Keith Vaz bandwagon,” Vaizey joked.
On a slightly more serious note, Vaizey made it clear that he thought Vaz was “totally wrong” about the industry.
“Tell him that the Parliament website has a videogame on its front page,” said Vaizey, “and no one has been killed yet. “
EA’s Keith Ramsdale said it was a shame Vaz had not shown up. “You want to understand where his head is now after being so negative about the videogame industry,” he said.