Soapboxers refer to specialized pedestrians in Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V whose primary function is to stand in designated areas of Liberty City and Los Santos soapboxing about their thoughts, be it religious preaches, conspiracy theories or simply outlandish expressions of their thoughts.
Types of Soapboxers
Soapboxers in GTA IV are generally classified into two groups.
The first are African American preachers who constantly warn about doom for humanity. They appear to be rather eccentric but delusional, their statements often lacking factual basis. Even so, they believe that what they're saying is true. They are most likely a play on the "bible belt" fundamentalist preachers who often come into large cities (such as Washington, D.C. and New York City) to preach "the good word" to anyone passing by. There are a variety of randomized character models of preachers, each with their own view on what hell is in store for those who are nonbelievers and heaven that those who believe will go to when they die; a handful of preachers may also hold what appears to be a religious book, but close inspection reveals it is simply a book also held by generic pedestrians.
The other form of soapboxers are White American conspiracy theorists who attempt to spread far-fetched conspiracy theories relating to the government and criticize the seeming conformity of society. They warn of how corrupt the government is (specifically, that of the United States) and how the government spies on them (stating on one occasion, for example, that the government has put "robots" into the drinking water). On other occasions, they tend to express they wish for a conspiracy-free society, and their unconditional love of everyone.
The locations of both soapboxers are usually the same, with both characters interchanged during certain times when the player passes by the same location. Common locales predominantly include landmarks in Algonquin, such as the Suffolk Church, Star Junction, the Algonquin end of Broker Bridge, Easton, Middle Park, hospitals, and opposite the South Bohan Safehouse. They can also almost always be found outside the South Bohan Safehouse.
They also both appear in front of the chapel and Alderney State Correctional Facility prison yard (although it is probably meant for preachers to only spawn here).
Soapboxers rarely appear alone, and are often accompanied by a crowd of other NPC pedestrians. They are often looked down upon by passers by, who usually abuse them verbally. Despite receiving constant insults, soapboxers tend to continue on with their soapboxing regardless, and may often be heard looping the same preach over and over again.
The only way soapboxers can be silenced is if the soapboxer is threatened with a weapon (with a weapon aimed at them), or is physically attacked by the player or NPCs (i.e. via punches, a weapon, or a simple vehicular accident) or if the player trigger a mission (for example Call Little Jacob for job). If the soapboxer manages to survive the initial onslaught, they will stop their preaching and attempt to flee. Also, just as normal pedestrians, if the player is to attack a soapboxer, they will either run away in fear or choose to fight back.
Grand Theft Auto V
In GTA V, many random encounters marked as friends appear soapboxing in specific areas of San Andreas, usually about aliens, government taxes, foreign people, cults, Vinewood movies or even preaching about the Epsilon Program. These soapboxers will be marked on the radar by a light blue point when the player gets close to them, and sometimes the protagonist can start a conversation with them, each of the protagonists will have a different conversation with each soapboxer. A few soapboxers cannot be interacted with, like Jesco White dancing, the mimes or the Liberty Preacher. Many of the soapboxers, when encountered for the first time, unlock their characters for use in Director Mode.
- Andy Moon
- Bill Binder
- Impotent Rage cosplayer
- Jesco White
- Pamela Drake
- The conspiracy theorists have unique writing on their shirts. Sometimes, when they spawn, their shirt will say, "The End Is Quite Close..." or "We're all fucked!".
- If the police arrest a soapboxer, he will get in the police car but immediately get out. The police will either try to arrest him again or ignore him.
- In GTA IV, soapboxers can even be found in places like Alderney State Correctional Facility, where no pedestrians are found except police officers.