Joe Biden, the former vice president of the United States of America, is currently campaigning to be the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential election. In an interview with the New York Times, when asked about the expanding power of Silicon Valley during Obama’s time in office, Biden found himself discussing a meeting with “the leaders of Silicon Valley,” and one unnamed game creator evidently left a sour taste in his mouth.
“And you may recall, the criticism I got for meeting with the leaders in Silicon Valley, when I was trying to work out an agreement dealing with them protecting intellectual property for artists in the United States of America,” Biden says. “And at one point, one of the little creeps sitting around that table, was a multi- —close to a billionaire—who told me he was an artist because he was able to come up with games to teach you how to kill people…”
This off-hand comment is not the first time Biden has expressed a distaste for violent games. In 2013, as vice president, he spoke about the possibility of applying additional taxes to violent media. He was also seeking to meet with members of the games industry to discuss the links between games and gun violence, and an open letter published at the time implored him not to blame games for real-world violence.
An interviewer asks if he’s referring to video games, and Biden continues, “Yeah, video games. And I was lectured by one of the senior leaders there that by saying if I insisted on what Leahy’d put together and we were, I thought we were going to fully support, that they would blow up the network, figuratively speaking. Have everybody contact. They get out and go out and contact the switchboard, just blow it up.”
The “Leahy” line is likely a reference to Vermont senator Patrick Leahy, although the context is not entirely clear from Biden’s response.
Biden recalls that one of the Silicon Valley people he was meeting with described them as “the economic engine of America,” which he took issue with. “As I added up the seven outfits, everyone’s there but Microsoft. I said, you have fewer people on your payroll than all the losses that General Motors just faced in the last quarter, of employees. So don’t lecture me about how you’ve created all this employment.”
“The point is, there’s an arrogance about it, an overwhelming arrogance,” Biden said, referencing the idea that Silicon Valley was bolstering the economy.
It’s not clear which meeting, or developer, Biden is talking about. Kotaku has theorized several identities for the “creep,” but there’s no definitive answer.