Blog Post

Google is Capitalizing off Duterte's Horrific Drug War in the Philippines

Derek Rosenfeld

When a sitting president likens himself to Hitler, it should get your attention. Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, has proudly said he’d “be happy” to exterminate 3 million people who use or sell drugs in his country. His horrific campaign to rid the Philippines of drugs has led to the extrajudicial murders of more than 12,000 people in the last year. Meanwhile, the Google Play store is hosting all these games (some rated “E” for “Everyone”) glorifying the president’s sickening, murderous drug war. It’s time for Google to take down these games.

Sign this petition: Tell Google Play to Remove Games That Glorify Duterte’s Horrific Drug War in the Philippines

We first noticed this after our friends at Release pointed it out on Twitter, and it was amplified by Transform’s Steve Rolles.

There are several games pitting Duterte against “zombies,” capitalizing on his stigmatizing and inhumane reference to people who are struggling with addiction – people he was saying he wanted to get rid of en masse should he become president. He actually said this last year: “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.” The top game (below) has over 1 million downloads and 33,000 reviews.

Photo via Google Play

Here’s another game where you “help Duterte eliminate people infected by drugs.”

Photo via Google Play

After you look at these photos captured by The New York Times (see one below) you can begin to feel the gravity of the situation in the Philippines. Parents are losing their children, children are losing their parents, and out of the 12,000 murdered, 3,800 were killed by police. Three teens have been killed in the last month, two at the hands of police. Duterte has vowed to pardon police who kill in the name of his drug war. More than a million people have turned themselves in out of fear they might be killed, and are being subjected to overcrowded, horrendous conditions. Duterte even had Senator Leila de Lima, the country’s most vocal political opponent to Duterte’s drug war, arrested –– a terrifying sign that he will do nearly anything to silence those voices speaking out in defense of human rights.

Photo via New York Times

Before he became President of the United States, Donald Trump praised Duterte for his war on drugs. Just last week, the U.S. pledged $2 million to the Philippines to help fights its drug war, ostensibly not just to fight limit the supply but also to help reduce the demand.

It seems pretty clear that these games violate Google Play’s policy, which says “We don’t allow apps that lack reasonable sensitivity towards or capitalize on a natural disaster, atrocity, conflict, death, or other tragic event.” In that vein, we are demanding that Google recognize the ongoing atrocity happening in the Philippines and that they remove these apps from their store immediately.

Join us and sign this petition telling Google Play to remove these despicably insensitive games.

Derek Rosenfeld is the manager of social media and media relations for the Drug Policy Alliance.

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