The late Luke Perry is known for his starring roles on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Riverdale, but one of his most beloved roles was one of Criminal Minds‘ most vicious villains.
The actor made several appearances on the CBS crime procedural series as Benjamin Cyrus, a cult leader and statutory-rapist-turned-attempted-murderer who became major target for the members of the Behavioral Analysis Unit.
Born Charles Mulgrew, Benjamin grew up to become the leader of a religious cult known as the Separatarian Sect. He was identified by authorities as a perpetrator of child abuse and was revealed to be married to a teenage girl during his first appearance in Season 4.
When he was first shown in the series, Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Prentiss (Paget Brewster) are called in to meet with him but he holds them hostage. After Prentiss reveals herself to be the “sole” FBI agent infiltrating the sect, the man ends up beating her up badly.
Rossi (Joe Mantegna) attempts to reason with him and asks him to release the children he has captured but he refuses for his protection. He then prepares a mass suicide ritual to root out the unbelievers in his troop, but it is then revealed that it was a bluff.
Benjamin later agrees to let the children go, but hides the fact that the compound is rigged with explosives and plans to kill everyone. He is shot to death just in time to stop his plans momentarily and gives enough time for the agents and the children to leave.
However, his teenage bride picks up the trigger and detonates the bombs, killing herself and the other cult members.
The memory of Benjamin Cyrus returned in the Season 14 premiere, the series’ 300th episode, when Prentiss recognized the Believers cult they had encountered — and that had kidnapped Reid and Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) — as former followers of Benjamin’s.
Perry returned during the episode in terrifying flashbacks that fans over at the time as callbacks to the Season 4 episode.
“Actor Luke Perry, 52, passed away today after suffering a massive stroke. He was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophia, fiancé [sic] Wendy Madison Bauer, ex-wife Minnie Sharp, mother Ann Bennett, step-father Steve Bennett, brother Tom Perry, sister Amy Coder, and other close family and friends,” Perry’s publicist said. “The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning. No further details will be released at this time,” the statement concluded.
Many fans and co-stars have spoken out to express the grief, as well as sending messages of support to his family during this difficult time.
TOKYO (Reuters) – The high-profile case of ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn has shone a light in Japan on what critics call “hostage justice”, in which suspects can be held for months after arrest, but any reforms will likely be incremental and slow.
FILE PHOTO – Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, attends the Tomorrow In Motion event on the eve of press day at the Paris Auto Show, in Paris, France, October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo
Ghosn, a former titan of the global auto industry, who has French, Brazilian and Lebonese citizenship, was released on bail of 1 billion yen ($9 million) on Wednesday after being held for more than 100 days following his Nov. 19 arrest by prosecutors on suspicion of under-reporting his compensation.
In a scenario common in Japan’s justice system, Ghosn was arrested two more times on fresh suspicions, including aggravated breach of trust, each time allowing prosecutors to keep him in custody and interrogate him without his lawyers being present.
The term “hostage justice” refers to holding the suspect in custody while pressing for the “ransom” of a confession.
Ghosn’s case has sparked harsh international criticism of Japan’s justice system, in which 99.9 percent of people charged with crimes are convicted.
“The affair was reported abroad and many Japanese know that the Japanese criminal justice system is not necessarily at a global standard,” wrote former Tokyo District Court judge Takao Nakayama in the Nikkei business daily.
“In that sense, the Tokyo prosecutors opened a Pandora’s box,” he wrote. The article was part of a full-page spread headlined “What should be fixed in Japan’s ‘hostage justice’.”
Granting bail after indictment and ahead of trial is rare for suspects who, like Ghosn, maintain their innocence, with the stated reason being fears the defendant would flee, tamper with evidence or seek to sway witnesses.
Ghosn had to agree not only to stay in Japan but to having surveillance cameras placed at his residence and to limits on his mobile phone and computer use. His first two requests for bail were rejected.
“I do think that this has made the whole system, that most Japanese on the street don’t really know exists, much more visible and much more vulnerable to criticism,” said Tokyo-based lawyer Stephen Givens.
Domestic civil rights groups and lawyers including the Japan Federation of Bar Associations have long criticized a system they say gives too much power to prosecutors and is too reliant on confessions, some later found to have been forced and false.
Ordinary citizens – and media – often equate arrest with guilt.
“Japan is a country that respects authority and I think most people assume that when somebody is arrested, that there’s a reason for that,” Givens said.
“Media … are of that view – although I do think that some of the mainstream media are beginning to ask questions and present other views.”
Prosecutors have defended the system.
“Each country has its own culture and systems,” said Shin Kukimoto, a deputy public prosecutor, at a news conference in December.
“I’m not sure it’s right to criticize other systems simply because they are different.”
High-profile cases involving forced confessions periodically attract public attention, although no outcry has been sustained.
In a possible sign the issue was creeping onto the public radar even before Ghosn’s arrest, a private broadcaster launched in 2016 a television drama called “99.9 Criminal Lawyers” about defense lawyers fighting the odds against acquittal. The title refers to the conviction rate.
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Still, there is caution over prospects for change.
“I’m skeptical and it depends on what you mean by ‘change’,” said Colin Jones, a law professor at Kyoto’s Doshisha University.
“Courts are institutionally subject to foreign pressure. The trend has been a gradual increase in the rejection of detention warrants and we might see a trend toward incremental change,” he said.
“Rape Day” is an upcoming indie video game about rape and murder during a zombie apocalypse.
The game is scheduled for an April release on Steam, the most popular platform for PC gaming. “Rape Day” is under review, but its Steam store preview page features images of sexual violence.
Steam sells thousands of games regardless of their content, including sexually explicit games, as long as they aren’t breaking the law. The company earns 30% of the revenue for each sale in the Steam store.
Many are calling for the game to be removed from the store for glorifying rape, but the creator of “Rape Day” says the game is within Steam’s rules and is not a danger to the public.
“‘Rape Day’ is a game where you can rape and murder during a zombie apocalypse.” That’s the no-frills description of “Rape Day,” a game scheduled for release next month on Steam, the most popular storefront for PC video games, and the most commonly used video game platform in the world.
As the name implies, “Rape Day” is centered on graphic depictions of sexual violence. As a digital-only release, the game has no official rating, but it would fall deep within the realm of ESRB’s “Adult Only” rating. Like other games with explicit sexual content, “Rape Day” is hidden from regular Steam search results unless the user has allowed those sorts of games to be shown.
Those without a Steam account cannot see the game at all, but when logged in, a search of the word “rape” alone will show that the game has been excluded from the results. Steam gives the player an option to reveal unfiltered search results and preview the game for themselves, if they’re of age. The preview page for “Rape Day” shows 25 screenshots of the game, which include nude women being sexually assaulted and held at gunpoint.
Members of the press and the larger video-game community have only recently become aware of “Rape Day,” but the game has been live on Steam for weeks and is scheduled for an April release. In the past, Steam’s policy has been to allow games as long as they work properly and don’t break the law.
A game called “Active Shooter” stirred controversy after the Parkland shooting last summer for its depiction of a school shooting. Steam eventually pulled the game before it was released, but also put out a statement saying that games that were viewed as problematic would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they violate international law.
“We’ve decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling,” a company statement read last June.
With “Rape Day,” Steam is facing a new wave of criticism for profiting off a game that glorifies rape and sexual assault. While the game hasn’t been officially priced, Steam takes 30% of all sales made on the platform. The game is under review for its content, but is still available for preview and can be added to a user’s wish list.
“Rape Day” is a visual-novel game, meaning players choose from options in a prewritten story to progress through the game. “Rape Day” isn’t animated either; each scene is told with a sequence of still images, with written dialogue and story choices. The game is more like a choose-your-own-adventure book with multiple paths, compared with a traditional video game in which a player controls their character.
Steam sells dozens of visual-novel games with a variety of sexually explicit content. The genre was popularized by Japanese developers who used the style to weave layered stories on top of basic dating simulator games. While some visual novels choose to emphasize the visual rather than the story, the genre has produced plenty of engaging games.
Indie developers can use the visual-novel format to create compelling mystery or romance games without spending a ton of extra time and money on animation and voice acting. Others developers who are more interested in capitalizing on players’ basic desires for raunchy content will use visual novels as a cheap vehicle for selling pornographic images with fictional characters.
On the preview page, the game’s creator, who goes by the handle “Desk Plant,” promises more than 500 images in total, more than 7,000 words of written story, and “evil choices.” While there are different story paths, Desk Plant says the game should take about an hour to complete. The project has been in development for two years.
On the site, Desk Plant describes “Rape Day” as a dark comedy and power fantasy. The creator compared the “Rape Day” to best-selling games like “Grand Theft Auto” and “Hitman” that glorify violence, stating that most people would not be influenced by its depictions of sexual assault. The “Rape Day” site includes a page linking to multiple studies that deny a link between video-game violence and real-life crimes.
“Most people can separate fiction from reality pretty well, and those that can’t shouldn’t be playing video games,” Desk Plant wrote. “The point of games is to do things, or experience things that you can’t or shouldn’t in reality. If games and movies were just like real life, they would be pretty boring.”
Desk Plant said that “Rape Day” followed all of Steam’s policies and he disclosed the game’s offensive content before it was publicly listed in the store. The creator understands that Steam has the right to ban the game if it chooses, and will look for other ways to sell and distribute the game if that happens. If Steam bans Desk Plant from publishing other games in the future, the creator plans to start a new platform for pornographic video games.
“If both my game is banned and I am banned, then I will ensure that a content platform for all kinds of legal, quality porn games exist.” Desk Plant wrote on the “Rape Day” site. “I will ensure that it provides the stable foundation for the porn gaming industry to grow and flourish to be the billion dollar industry that basic biology would have it be.”
“Rape Day” puts Steam in a compromising position; the game unapologetically glorifies rape, and has little to offer in terms of actual gameplay. Even if Steam isn’t promoting the game, it would profit from every sale. While Steam has been reluctant to restrict content on the grounds of free speech, there’s not much moral wiggle room left in this situation.
More than 2,000 players are discussing “Rape Day” on the game’s Steam Community Hub, with clashing opinions on censorship, free speech, and the overall legitimacy of the game. We’ve reached out to Steam for further comment on the status of “Rape Day.”