Roblox is finally taking notorious YouTuber Benjamin “Ruben Sim” Simon to court over his alleged attacks on the gaming social media platform and its young fans. A lawsuit filed in California court on Tuesday wants the longtime banned player to pay $US1.6 million (around $2 million) in damages and stop harassing Roblox employees and players.
First reported by Polygon, the lawsuit contains a number of allegations against Simon, who has been making and profiting from Roblox videos since 2010. Those videos run the gamut, featuring him doing everything from sexually harassing players he encounters in the game to making public “terrorist threats” against the company during its annual convention.
According to Roblox, this led the company to have to temporarily shut down its Roblox Developers Conference in San Francisco last month after Simon reportedly posted about police searching for “Islamic Extremists” at the event. The company claims this cost it $US50,000 ($69,525) to investigate the false reports.
Here’s some other stuff Simon is accused of in the lawsuit:
- “Glamorizing the April 3, 2018 active shooter and murder at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California and threatening/taunting a copycat act of terrorism at Roblox headquarters in nearby San Mateo, California”
- “attempting to upload a nude image of himself with only a lampshade covering his genitals”
- “using racial and homophobic slurs, creating and using inappropriate accounts with sexual names”
- “attempting to upload a sex game”
- “attempting to upload pictures of Hitler”
Simon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While Simon has been banned from the platform for years, Roblox argues he continues to gain access to the game through alternates and fake accounts, and still routinely harasses the company’s staff with libellous comments. Simon’s YouTube account currently has over 700,000 subscribers, and he currently makes over $US600 ($834) per new video uploaded to his Patreon.
Although his behaviour isn’t necessarily exceptional when it comes to the wide-world of toxic online gaming, it’s especially problematic for Roblox, a company valued at over $US45 billion ($63 billion) thanks to its huge popularity among kids. Just last month, the company announced it was revising its community standards to ban politics and romance from the platform to promote itself as a safer and more welcoming place for younger players.
Earlier this year, CEO David Baszucki told Axios that Roblox uses “2,000 real life humans” to review content that might violate its terms of service, but stuff slips through anyway. The platform has recently been accused of struggling to moderate sexual content and being a “playground for virtual fascists.”
Roblox has also been accused of exploiting child labour for profit. An investigation by YouTube documentary group People Make Games in August looked into how the platform uses the lure of making money as a developer to entice young players to join, even while the majority of them never see a dime for the effort they put in. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.