President Trump Holds "Listening Session" on Violent Video Games

Donald Trump - January 16, 2018 - Getty-H 2018
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A representative of the Parents Television Council said that Trump seemed "genuinely interested" in getting the opinions of video game makers.

On Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump spent about an hour holding a listening session and round-table discussion about violence in video games with industry executives, lobbyists and other stakeholders.

Melissa Henson attended on behalf of the Parents Television Council, a non-profit organization that believes violence in movies and television is a contributing factor in school shootings and other violent acts.

On a conference call with reporters after the meeting, Henson said that Trump "seemed to be genuinely interested in hearing from all sides and getting all perspectives." 

"He was asking questions," she said. "He wasn't proposing any solutions. He was interested in hearing what folks around the table would like to happen."

Henson said there was "respectful disagreement" during the meeting, as representatives of the video game industry argued that there's no link between violence in their products and actual violence, which the PTC contests.

"We expected the industry to say what they said today," PTC president Tim Winter said on the call.

Violence on television and in movies was not discussed during the meeting, Henson said.

President Trump discussed violence in the movies during a Feb. 22 meeting at the White House, held with local and state officials to address school safety in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

"You see these movies, they're so violent," Trump said at the time. "And yet a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn't involved, but killing is involved, and maybe they have to put a rating system for that."

A spokesman for the Motion Picture Association of America said the organization would not put out a comment on Thursday's meeting at the White House.