Drug Policy Alliance: Google Should Follow Apple’s Lead and Remove Video Games Glorifying the Drug War in the Philippines

President of Philippines Rodrigo Duterte
President of Philippines Rodrigo Duterte (Source: Yahoo.com)

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—November 30, 2017

By: Hannah Hetzer

The President of the Philippines is responsible for a brutal drug war that has killed thousands of people in his country. He is also the protagonist in a series of online video games that glorify these murders. In these games, players act as Duterte and score points by eliminating “criminals”, “zombies”, and “people infected by drugs”, echoing the stigmatizing language used by Duterte himself in reference to people who use drugs. Up until yesterday, these games were widely available on Apple’s app store, as well as on Android’s Google Play store. Yesterday, Apple quietly removed the games from its store.

The removal of the games from Apple’s store comes after the Asian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ANPUD) released an open letter in October to Apple CEO Tim Cook calling on Apple “to immediately remove apps (games) that are promoting murder, extrajudicial killings, violence, and the war on drugs in the Philippines.” The letter was signed by 131 organizations, including human rights and drug policy reform groups.

Meanwhile, the Google Play store continues to host the offensive and gruesome games (some rated “E” for “Everyone”) glorifying President Duterte’s drug war. In September, we called on Google to take down these games.

Sign this petition: Tell Google Play to Remove Games That Glorify Duterte’s Horrific Drug War in the Philippines

President Duterte has championed a campaign that is responsible for the extrajudicial killing of more than 12,000 people, showing his complete disregard for due process or human rights. It seems pretty clear that these games violate Google Play’s policy, which says, “We don’t allow apps that lack reasonable sensitivity towards or capitalize on a natural disaster, atrocity, conflict, death, or other tragic event.” Google should follow Apple’s lead anremove the video games that capitalize on the real tragedy that is unfolding in the Philippines.

Hannah Hetzer is the senior policy manager of the Americas for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Related:

Drug Policy Alliance Blog: Google is Capitalizing off Duterte’s Horrific Drug War in the Philippines

By: Derek Rosenfeld, September 12, 2017

When a sitting president likens himself to Hitler, it should get your attention. Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, has proudly said he’d “be happy” to exterminate 3 million people who use or sell drugs in his country. His horrific campaign to rid the Philippines of drugs has led to the extrajudicial murders of more than 12,000 people in the last year. Meanwhile, the Google Play store is hosting all these games (some rated “E” for “Everyone”) glorifying the president’s sickening, murderous drug war. It’s time for Google to take down these games.

We first noticed this after our friends at Release pointed it out on Twitter, and it was amplified by Transform’s Steve Rolles.

There are several games pitting Duterte against “zombies,” capitalizing on his stigmatizing and inhumane reference to people who are struggling with addiction – people he was saying he wanted to get rid of en masse should he become president. He actually said this last year: “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.” The top game has over 1 million downloads and 33,000 reviews.

Here’s another game where you “help Duterte eliminate people infected by drugs.”

After you look at these photos captured by The New York Times you can begin to feel the gravity of the situation in the Philippines. Parents are losing their children, children are losing their parents, and out of the 12,000 murdered, 3,800 were killed by police. Three teens have been killed in the last month, two at the hands of police. Duterte has vowed to pardon police who kill in the name of his drug war. More than a million people have turned themselves in out of fear they might be killed, and are being subjected to overcrowded, horrendous conditions. Duterte even had Senator Leila de Lima, the country’s most vocal political opponent to Duterte’s drug war, arrested –– a terrifying sign that he will do nearly anything to silence those voices speaking out in defense of human rights.

Before he became President of the United States, Donald Trump praised Duterte for his war on drugs. Just last week, the U.S. pledged $2 million to the Philippines to help fights its drug war, ostensibly not just to fight limit the supply but also to help reduce the demand.

It seems pretty clear that these games violate Google Play’s policy, which says “We don’t allow apps that lack reasonable sensitivity towards or capitalize on a natural disaster, atrocity, conflict, death, or other tragic event.” In that vein, we are demanding that Google recognize the ongoing atrocity happening in the Philippines and that they remove these apps from their store immediately.

Join us and sign this petition telling Google Play to remove these despicably insensitive games.

Derek Rosenfeld is the social media and media relations manager for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Source: www.drugpolicy.org