As the most public - and pivotal - opponent of an adults-only video game rating in Australia, Michael Atkinson is a rather public figure. Just don't call him a crook. You may end up being sued by him.
Last year, a user-submitted comment on an Adelaide-based website called Atkinson a "crook". That's it. It had been submitted by Dean McQuillan, a man brave/stupid enough to use his real name. Despite the website removing the comment from public view, McQuillan has for his troubles been sued.
Let's just spell this out. A member of the public, posting a harmless comment on a local website, has been sued not just by a State government politician, but by a state government attorney general.
Atkinson's lawyers say the term was "highly defamatory", and are after $20,000 in "damages". They've obviously never looked over a video game website's comments section before.
What a world we live in. And people wonder why Australian gamers get so worked up about this guy.
In other Michael Atkinson news, it's also come to light that a group claiming that video games are as bad for you as smoking (and which picked up serious national exposure with that "revelation" earlier this week) is, surprise, being heavily supported by Atkinson. Financially. Every year the group's actions in providing additional, voluntary ratings for media products receives backing from the South Australia Attorney General, with 2006 figures revealing his office had already ponied up AUD$33,000 in government funding.