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EA apologises for delay in dealing with Sims community sexual predator

"We are disappointed in how events have unfolded and we own our responsibility to that," says The Sims general manager

The Sims general manager has issued an apology over how her team handled sexual harassment accusations relating to a prominent community member.

In a statement released last week, Lyndsay Pearson admitted that there was a breakdown in the process, and pledged to do better in future.

"We sincerely apologise for the delay in taking the right actions here," said Pearson. "We are disappointed in how events have unfolded and we own our responsibility to that."

In December last year, the development team was made aware of allegations relating to a Sims Game Changer.

Game Changers is a "community partnership program" fronted by Electronic Arts which provides early access to content, along with influencer training. This grants them a certain position of influence within their respective online communities.

Several underage boys claim that the Game Changer in question was a predator who used his influence within the community to sexually exploit them.

Speaking with Kotaku, two of the victims told of how they took their complaint to community manager Kate Olmstead, who failed to respond initially to their direct messages over Twitter.

They then approached developer Steve Lansing, who ultimately just referred them back to Olmstead.

Only then was action taken, and shortly afterwards one of the boys received an apology from the accused, who claimed to be unaware of how old he was at the time.

However, the accused remained part of the Game Changers program, and several months later it was revealed that he was still harassing underage boys.

The two victims who originally raised their concerns to Olmstead then approached YouTuber Pastel Sims, who took their story public.

In a video discussing the allegations, Pastel Sims accused the company of turning a "blind eye to children getting targeted and harassed."

"They knew what was up, and it makes me sick to my fucking stomach," she said of The Sims developer.

According to Pearson, an investigation was launched when the issue first came to light in December last year, and even confirmed the nature of what happened.

However, during this investigation, the process to escalate appropriately was not followed.

"The actions taken at the time were clearly not sufficient, and not in line with our values as a company," she said.

"An appropriate response would have been to immediately dismiss the Sims Game Changer and take additional steps to ensure our community was protected."

Pearson confirmed that the "appropriate authorities" have been contacted, and that the Game Changer has been removed from the program. Moving forward, Pearson said The Sims team is investigating the breakdown in its process and "ensuring our entire team learns from this."

"The safety and security of our community is very important to us," said Pearson. "So is your trust. We appreciated your shared commitment to protecting this space.

"The relationship we have with our community and Game Changers is paramount, and something we don't take for granted. We should have done better. We will do better."

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