EA has released a statement acknowledging they did not properly address alleged sexual harassment by a member of its community partnership program. Lyndsay Pearson, General Manager for The Sims, posted the statement to Twitter on March 7the, a full four months after the situation was brought to the attention of multiple Sims team members.
The influencer who was reported for sexual harassment was a member of EA's Game Changer program, a community partnership program that granted certain YouTubers special access to game content, EA events, and the game's development team. The YouTuber, who goes by the handle Dylan Simz, was accused by multiple minors of sending them unwanted sexual fantasies, and even exposing himself on camera.
Simz has listed his birth year as 1991 on several social media accounts, which would make him about 27 years old.
In a report by Kotaku, several underage boys describe how Simz used his status as a Game Changer to harass them. One boy, "Stuart," started talking to Simz when he won a giveaway for the Sims 4 Get Famous expansion. The teenager told Kotaku that Simz started sending him sexual messages soon afterward, and persisted even after Stuart repeatedly told him to stop.
Stuart soon met another minor who said he also had been sexually harassed by Simz. When he realized this was not an isolated incident, Stuart got permission from the other teen to report Simz to the Sims 4 team on both of their behalfs.
In December 2018, Stuart contacted The Sims' community manager Kate Olmstead, who handles the Game Changer program. When he didn't get a response, he contacted Steve Lansing, a developer who helps with official streams, who did not seem enthusiastic about helping solve the issue. Eventually, Lansing directed Stuart back to Olmstead, who said she would have a private conversation with Simz.
When the two teens became aware that Simz was targeting another minor in the Sims community, they decided to try another tactic. The pair approached Tabitha, a Sims YouTuber with 215,000 subscribers, and gave her permission to publicize their experiences in the hopes that the problem would finally be addressed.
After Tabitha posted a video publicizing the information, several more underage boys came forward to say that Simz had harassed them, including one who said Simz pressured him into having an online 'relationship' where Simz would repeatedly expose himself on camera without consent.
Since the information became public, Simz has stepped down as a Game Changer and deleted most of his social media. He has not responded to Kotaku's requests for comment.
According to EA's statement, they have launched an investigation into the incident as their "process to properly investigate and escalate anything of this nature was not followed." They also say they have contacted the authorities and will be connecting with those affected to "offer support."