The entire print run of The Official UK PlayStation Magazine has had to be recalled following a front page report in British tabloid The Mail On Sunday, which alleges animal cruelty and debauched behavior at a Greek God of War II launch party.
Under a banner headline reading “Slaughter”, the story, which occupied almost the entirety of the front page, describes “Horror at Sony’s depraved stunt to promote PlayStation with decapitated goat.”
The article goes on to describe a European-specific launch party for the game God Of War II in Athens, in which a dead goat was allegedly used as a prop to promote the game. The Mail on Sunday claimed that guests were coaxed into pulling cooked offal from inside the goat’s stomach, while also being dared to pull live snakes from a pit, throw knives at targets and eat grapes being held by topless models.
The newspaper discovered details of the event from The Official UK PlayStation Magazine, after initial copies were sent to subscribers. The rest of the 80,000 print run of the issue has now been pulled from newsagents as a result of the furor.
The newspaper article features a statement from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, which admits that ”an element of the event was of an unsuitable nature. We are conducting an internal inquiry into aspects of the event in order to learn from the occurrence and put into place measures to ensure that this does not happen again."
Sony claims that the animal was not specifically killed for the event, but obtained from a local butcher.
[UPDATE: A representative from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has told Gamasutra that its UK office "neither attended nor had any input into this event," which it classified as being "of an unsuitable nature."
"Whilst we pride ourselves on creating engaging experiences," the representative said, "we are committed to making sure these are appropriate in nature and do not cause offence to either attendees or our consumers in general."
"We are conducting an internal inquiry into aspects of the event in order to learn from the occurrence and put into place measures to ensure that this does not happen again," Sony added.
Sony has also clarified some of the events that were alleged to take place at the promotional party, saying:
A goat was not 'slaughtered' at this event. An animal carcass was supplied from a butcher as a set dressing for an event based upon Greek mythology.
The event was organised by a Greek production company and was neither aimed at nor attended by UK media. In keeping with the theatrical nature of the event, the attendant media were invited to eat a bowl of food that purported to be from the animal - but in fact was a cooked traditional Greek dish (a meat stew as I understand it, to reinforce the illusion).
It is categorically untrue that "guests were invited to reach inside the goat's still-warm carcass to eat offal from its stomach."
As I said we in the UK had nothing to do with this event, and nor did any UK media attend. We were shocked to see the article in the official PlayStation Magazine (Contrary to what the Mail On Sunday implied of course, this is a publication licensed by us [for logo usage] but created, edited and published independently by Future Publishing), and immediately (we did this Friday morning - we did not do this 'after' the Mail On Sunday contacted us, as has been reported) took steps with Future Publishing to recall the publication and remove the offending article.
Unfortunately some advanced copies of the publication may have gone out to subscribers in the interim. The writer of this article did not attend the event and has portrayed the theatre as a literal occurrence. This is not a true representation of the event, but nevertheless we realise the imagery and the inaccurate description of the event would cause offence and have thus taken action to stop it from circulating.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe does not in any way, shape or form condone cruelty or mistreatment of animals. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe takes the sensitivities of the general public and issues of animal welfare very seriously and is sorry for any offence or distress the event or perception of this event may have caused.]