Rockstar to Temporarily Shut Down 'Grand Theft Auto Online' in Honor of George Floyd

GTA Online-Publicity-H 2019
Rockstar Games

The video game giant will halt access to 'GTA Online' and 'Red Dead Online' from 2 to 4 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Rockstar Games is going dark in the wake of nationwide protests following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck. The video game company tweeted on Thursday that it plans to halt access to its online games for two hours. 

"Black Lives Matter," said Rockstar in its tweet. "To honor the legacy of George Floyd, today, 6/4/20, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET, we will be shutting down access to our online games, Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online."

Since Floyd's death on May 25, anti-racism protests and demonstrations have occurred in Los Angeles and the rest of the country. Police officer Derek Chauvin, who was caught on video pressing his knee into Floyd's neck, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Three other officers who were at the scene were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. All four officers were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department. 

Other video game companies have also expressed support for the protesters by delaying releases as well as opening their wallets. 2K Games, a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive — which owns Rockstar — tweeted Wednesday that they have muted their channel "out of respect for what's going on in the world." The company further said, "We are increasing funding for our 2K Foundations program by an additional $1M and expanding its mission to help fight racial injustice and inequalities in black communities across the globe."

On Tuesday, Activision delayed new seasons of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Mobile and Warzone, writing on Twitter that "now is not the time" for these launches to drop. 

Similarly Epic Games delayed its Fortnite live event, dubbed The Device, until June 15, along with a delay of its Season 3 launch to June 17.