The Most Controversial Moments In Grand Theft Auto Series

The Grand Theft Auto Series has been one of the most popular and famous video game series of all time. Fifteen Grand Theft Auto titles has been released in the last 18 years and most of them were best sellers.

Despite the immense popularity of the game series, GTA had its fair share of controversies. Almost all of the titles released till date has drawn the attention of many people including parents, politicians, activists, enforcement agencies, etc, as they were offended by the contents of the game.


On the contrary, the developer Rockstar Games ignored every controversy and carried on making the game as they deemed fit. This is one of the reason for Grand Theft Auto’s immnese popularity and they thrived on that.

Infact Rockstar Games have filed a lawsuit against BBC for copyright infringement. BBC had planned a TV film named Game Changer starring Danniel Radcliffe based on Grand Theft Auto series. However, Rockstar Games aren’t keen on allowing them to do so.

It is hard to choose sides in case of Grand Theft Auto and the controversies surrounding it but the game series has had a major role in changing the complexion of gaming industry and pop culture. Nobody can ignore that.

Here’s a list of some of the most controversial moments that the series has ever faced.

Killing Hare Krishna


The killing of Hare Krishna movement pedestrians was one of the most controversial moments in the original Grand Theft Auto which was released in 1997. The Hare Krishna group were pedestrians with orange clothing and were found in groups.

The players could run over a whole line of Hare Krishna pedestrians to flash “GOURANGA” on the screen. “GOURANGA” means “Be Happy”.

This scene in the game infuriated many people and the Hare Krishna community as it was an insult to the peace loving Hare Krishna society and the whole movement.

Full Frontal


A cut scene in Grand Theft Auto: The Lost And Dammed featured a character named Tom Stubbs in a full frontal view while getting out of the bed. Tom was the protagonist Johnny Klebitz’s employer and a Liberty City Congressman in the game.

The scene was criticised by the parents community for featuring full frontal male nudity.

Killing Haitians, Racist Police & Riots


Depicting two rival gangs, the Haitians and the Cubans in the game became the reason for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City getting enbroiled in controversy. This act featured racial violence as both the groups were of ethnic race. The game also consisted missions where the Haitiabs were asked to be killed.

A lawsuit was filed for this and some content of the game was later removed. The game also came under scanner for fictionally depicting the L.A. Riots as Los Santos riots.



The latest version of the series Grand Theft Auto 5 also came under the fire from international human rights groups like Amnesty International and Freedom From Torture. The game depicted a torture scene in its “By The Book” mission.

The players of the game were asked to torture a suspected terrorist by FBI. The players had various methods at their disposal to torture the suspected person. They could even bring back the person to life if he died due to the torture by using a shot of adrenaline.

 Killing Prostitutes For Money


Prostitution itself is a controversial thing to be added in a video game. The Grand Theft Auto series has seen prostitutes from Grand Theft Auto 3 onwards. The players can interact with them and avail their services for a sum of money.

But the main controversy arised when the players were given the right to kill the prostitute after availing the service and take back the money. This outraged many communities and the game came under heavy fire from them.

Hot Coffee


Hot Coffee was initially a mod developed for PC by modder Patrick Wildenborg in 2005 for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.  The mod allowed the main protagonist CJ to have sexual intercourse with his girlfriend at her home. This created a lot of controversies as the rating of the game had to be replaced from “Mature” to “Adults Only”.

Later the mod also made its entry into the PlayStation and Xbox consoles. It took Take Two Interactive $20,000,000 to settle the lawsuit filed against ‘Hot Coffee’. The case was settled in 2009. This was by far the most expensive controversy that the series was embroiled in.


These are just some examples of the Grand Theft Auto series being embroiled in controversies. The series can seen its fair share of them and it would be impossible to list them all out. If you think we skipped a major one, feel free to let us know by using the ‘contact us’ page.