Eve Online studio CCP Games has come under fire for banning real-world GOP politician Brian Schoeneman.
The veteran politician and Eve Online player ran for a seat in Eve Online’s in-game representative council and won, but was removed and banned from the game after CCP Games said it received evidence showing that the Schoeneman, who went by the name Brisc Rubal in-game, had breached a non-disclosure agreement with the studio. Schoeneman denies the allegation.
The massively multiplayer game has been the subject of many a write-up about its in-game politics and its unique gameplay, which encourages players to devote hundreds of hours every year to building a virtual community.
The game is unique in its implementation of a democratically elected council of players, called the Council of Stellar Management, which advises the developers on behalf of its many players. Each player elected to the council serves for a year.
Schoeneman, a lawyer and lobbyist for the largest maritime workers union in the United States, made headlines in gaming publications last year due to his real-world reputation after he ran for the position in Eve Online. He even went so far as to stage an elaborate campaign video.
CCP Games alleges that it caught the politician “sharing confidential information with a member of his alliance that was later used by another alliance member to conduct illicit in-game transactions.” The allegation was serious enough for other elected council members to report his transgression, prompting the studio to permanently ban his accounts. Two other players involved received one-year bans.
The developer says that his actions constituted “an immediate threat to the integrity of the CSM as an institution.” In-game politics is extremely serious business for anyone who dedicates hundreds if not thousands of hours immersing themselves in the sci-fi setting.
For his part, Schoeneman denies any wrongdoing and has since taken to Twitter to defend himself against the allegations.
For those asking, I do not know why I was banned from EVE and removed from the CSM. I have asked for clarification and have received none. I categorically deny any wrongdoing and look forward to clearing my name and having my reputation restored. #tweetfleet
— Brian W. Schoeneman (@BrianSchoeneman) April 8, 2019
He further elaborated on the situation in a Reddit post, where he condemned the studio for its lack of transparency and failure to communicate their decision to the playerbase.
“As an attorney and a public figure in the United States, my ethics and reputation are regulated by a code of professional responsibility and statutory law, unlike CCP’s opaque community team,” Schoeneman wrote. “As a licensed attorney for nearly a decade, I have never had a complaint filed against me. I have served in positions of public trust in the United States Government and have never had a complaint filed against me. The claims that I would risk my reputation by providing proprietary or otherwise confidential information to members of my own alliance for personal gain are false.
“These baseless charges have had an immediate and negative impact on not only my in-game reputation but my out of game reputation. I have spent the last year working hard on behalf of the community that elected me to represent their interests to CCP. I have done so diligently, attending more than 95% of all of the meetings and conference calls that have taken place. There is no reason why I would jeopardize all of that by violating my word, putting my reputation on the line, and risking all of this to provide a fellow player with an unfair advantage in the game.”
It is unclear how either Schoeneman or the studio will resolve the issue given the closed nature of Eve Online, but the politician says he plans to pursue “all avenues of resource available” to clear his name.