Los Angeles, CA – Actor and Internet personality, Wil Wheaton, has been indicted by federal prosecutors on charges of promoting and hosting a robot fighting ring.
Prosecutors allege Wheaton kicked and electrocuted robots that weren't performing well, as many as fifteen robots. "He just blew their circuits," said US Attorney Bob Schrumpkin.
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The news shocked fans of Wheaton's, many of whom are robot owners themselves. Christie Cho of Simi Valley said, "I have an Aibo and a Poo-Chi and I love them. I can't believe the cruelty. I'll be putting my DVD of Stand By Me up on Ebay."
Wheaton contends that nobody gets hurt in robot fighting, and that people just don't understand. "It's deeply ingrained in the geek culture. We see nothing wrong with it," said Wheaton. "We get together, drink a few Red Bulls and watch the robots fight it out. I don’t see what the big deal is."
Violet Tamagotchi, President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Robots (PETR), picketed outside Wheaton's home. She doesn't buy the "part of our culture" argument. "Asimov said robots can't hurt us, so why does Wheaton hurt robots? I thought Wil embraced technology, not destroyed it," she said.
Protest signs urged the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) asking to suspend Wheaton from the actors' union.
"We're surprised and saddened by this news on Mr. Wheaton. While there is a long history of abusive behavior by actors, it's usually with production assistants and not robots. This goes beyond anything we've ever seen," said a representative from SAG.
Many openly wondered if Wheaton would ever act again. "I don't know, when people see how geeky this is, they might not believe him in a non-nerd role. That could ruin him," said Chip Scoop from the Hollywood Reporter.
In a robot fight, two remote controlled robots with various weapons face each other in a battle to the death. Often, the loser is so badly hurt that they must be destroyed. If convicted Wheaton could face 25 years in prison, or face "The Electricator" fighting robot in a human-robot death match.
Nikolaj Borg contributed to this story.