Grand Theft Auto's $20 Million Screw Up

Remember the hidden sex scene in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas? It was a terrible, amoral departure from the game's official content of endless murder rampages. And it's going to cost publisher Take-Two Interactive an astonishing $20 million.

The company and, more to the point, its insurance company are shelling out the money to settle a lawsuit from investors who claimed the company knew its programmers had hidden the sex scene in the game and decided to ship it anyway. Not a terrible idea; development is expensive, timetables are tight, and in any case the hidden scenes could only be unlocked with special software. But the company underestimated how strong America's Puritan impulses remain. Now it's spending 36 times what CBS was (unsuccessfully) fined for the crime of exposing America to Janet Jackson's nipple. It's just that inappropriate to take a break from your life of crime, for sex.