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Yesterday Target in Australia removed copies of Grand Theft Auto V from its shelves due to its depictions of violence against women. That’s right, the supermarket chain has removed the game off of its shelves after selling the game for an entire year thanks to a Change.org petition requesting the retailer to do so. Now, just a day later, another Australian retailer, Kmart has joined Target in the boycott and has also removed the game from its shelves.

Target issued a statement yesterday claiming that its removed the game from sale due to feedback from customers. The statement read: “We’ve been speaking to many customers over recent days about the game, and there is a significant level of concern about the game’s content,” said Jim Cooper, general manager of corporate affairs. “We’ve also had customer feedback in support of us selling the game, and we respect their perspective on the issue.”

“However, we feel the decision to stop selling GTA5 is in line with the majority view of our customers,” he continued.

Despite this decision, the retailer said it would continue to sell other R-rated content in its stores, including other video games and DVDs. “While these products often contain imagery that some customers find offensive, in the vast majority of cases, we believe they are appropriate products for us to sell to adult customers,” added Cooper. “However, in the case of GTA5, we have listened to the strong feedback from customers that this is not a product they want us to sell.”

Though it seems like the decision was made out of the blue, it actually comes following pressure from a Change.org petition which has gained more than 44,000 signatures. The petition focuses on the act in which the player can find and kill sex workers for a reward, something which the petition creators feel is a bad influence on young children – a demographic which shouldn’t be able to get a hold of the game anyway.

“It’s a game that encourages players to murder women for entertainment. The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get ‘health’ points – and now Target are stocking it and promoting it for your Xmas stocking,” the petition said. “This misogynistic GTA V literally makes a game of bashing, killing and horrific violence against women.”

If you thought that was bad, another retailer Kmart has also decided to stop selling the game this morning.. “Following a significant review of all content in Grand Theft Auto Games Kmart has taken the decision to remove this product immediately,” read a statement that was provided to KotakuAU. “Kmart apologises for not being closer to the content of this game.”

Following the removal of the game from both stores, it appears copies of other Grand Theft Auto titles are also being removed, with GTA 4, and Episodes from Liberty City are also being removed with one retailer employee saying that the games are being “stealth removed.”

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below.

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