In the age of social media, companies have to be able to quickly vet and evaluate any “influencers” they partner with to promote their brand online. Electronic Arts now acknowledges its process for making a mistake when the company was informed of credible allegations of sexual harassment by one of its members. The Sims Game changer social partnership program.
A Reported by Kotaku allegations of sexual harassment made by The Sims community members against the YouTube creator and Game Changer partner with online handle “Dylan Simz.” The report details multiple incidents where Simz allegedly shared indecent sexual fantasies with young men online and at least one instance where he sexually assaulted a fellow player on camera.
The report suggests that Simz’s position as EA’s Game Changer—which for him early access to in-game content and direct access to EA events and members of the game’s development team—helped him establish and maintain illicit contact with these alleged victims. “I know you’re friends with a lot of (big) game changers, and I have some friends who are friends with you, so I’m like, ‘Oh I’m going to lose friends over this too?’ Changer told Kotaku. “He told me ‘Oh, I’m a Game Changer, if you didn’t know,’ several times, so I think he knew that too.”
Last week, The Sims General Manager Lyndsay Pearson admitted in a Twitter post that members of The Sims The team first learned of the allegations against Simz in December. Although the team confirmed those allegations with Simz at the time, no action was taken against him until earlier this month, when those allegations began to gain more publicity within the community. Simz was finally removed from the Game Changers program on March 5, and has since deleted much of his social media presence online.
“The actions we took at the time (in December) were clearly insufficient, and not in line with our values as a company,” the statement read, in part. “The appropriate response would be to immediately remove (Simz) and take additional steps to ensure our community is safe.”
The EA said it has contacted the relevant authorities and is taking steps to improve its internal investigation procedures in cases such as these. “We will be adding strict guidelines on ethics and standards with all of our game changers,” Pearson wrote.
EA has previously faced criticism for its Ronku program, which pays YouTubers to promote multiple games, often without the required exposure.