Sony Computer Entertainment beheaded a live goat at a launch event for ´God of War II´ in the UK. Further, attending members of the press were challenged to reach inside the still warm carcass and devour the raw innards in a competition to win a PlayStation3.
The unlikely story was broken by the UK´s Daily Mail. The current issue of the country´s Official PlayStation 2 Magazine has published a set of pictures showing the horrific act. In one of them, below, the beheaded goat has subsequently been pixellated. Hostesses at the event were bare-chested.
Copies of the magazine have already been mailed to subscribers. Newsstands are supposed to carry it from Tuesday (May 1st), but, apparently, the entire circulation of 80.000 has been recalled following the outrage.
Sony has apparently apologized for the event. However, there is no word yet on SCEE´s virtual press office.
According to the article, even a Member of Parliament has commented on the event and condemned it.
Has Sony finally lost its mind? There will surely be dire consequences for the company in the wake of this incident.
Sony has been criticized for a number of its advertising campaigns in the past. There were racist and illegal graffiti ads promoting the PSP, as well as a fake fan blog. This latest incident is by far the most serious, though, likely implicating lengthy legal proceedings, as well as a public outrage that will further damage the reputation of a company struggling to get back on its feet.
EDIT The title of this post may be misleading and some of the above information inaccurate, I am afraid. According to Kotaku and, perhaps after an update, the original article, the goat was not actually killed on site, but ordered from a butcher shop. It was then stuffed with other meats.
EDIT Interestingly, Dave Karraker, Senior Director of Corporate Communications at SCEA has issued an official response regarding this incident, although it really should have been up to SCEE to make that statement. Here it is:
The event was a theatrical dramatisation with a Greek mythological theme and, as part of the set dressing, a dead goat was provided by the production company from a qualified local butcher. Following the mainstream popularity of shows such as 'I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of here' a series of challenges were set for the journalists.
The 'warm entrails' referred to in the invitation and in the Mail on Sunday article was actually a meat soup, made to a traditional Greek recipe and served to attendees in china bowls direct from the caterers. There was never any question of journalists being able to touch the goat, or indeed eat the soup direct from the body of the goat, as one report has alleged. The goat was returned to the butcher at the end of the event.
Also, animal rights group PETA has mentioned this story on their blog:
When a company of Sony's stature goes out of its way to commit an act of senseless violence for a promotion, you have to start questioning whether they have any concern at all about the message they're sending to fans. Sony is evidently recalling the entire 80,000 print run of the PlayStation magazine in which this story featured, though it's frankly a bit late for the victim of the stunt at this stage.
Source: The Daily Mail
Image source: Official PlayStation 2 Magazine
Thanks to: Cheswick, Joystiq
See also: FOX News