Digitas Australia representative told the editor of Sausage Roll not to ‘mansplain’ during an introductory phone call back in 2019.
It’s been a little over a year since Sausage Roll launched and since then we’ve seen massive growth and exposure. Yet we needed to reach out to some of the biggest game publishers for support; whether it was press releases or review codes.
Electronic Arts forwarded us through to Digitas, a public relations firm that handles some of the biggest brands in Australia. The representative handling EA at the time was Naomi Csoke.
At first it was rather simple to get a hold of Naomi at Digitas, yet understandably she wanted a press kit on our site to gauge our performance and reach. Although we were only starting out, and weren’t expecting a super enthusiastic response, we provided her with the information she requested.
Her initial response was that it should be no problem and that EA would be happy to provide us with material moving forward. That — however — changed quickly.
After receving a plethora of generic ‘we will try to facilitate your request responses’ and the rare press release we sent her another email inquiring about our standings with EA. She requested that we call her to verify that we aren’t bots or trolls. This seemed very strange as we’d already provided her with our business information: address, phone number, tax info, etc.
Several months had past before we called Naomi at Digitas and at this point we were a pretty well recognised entertainment press. Our site had seen 500% growth since we first contacted them and we were cited by some of the biggest names in the industry.
Naomi explained that the size of our site didn’t matter (but why then demand to see our site stats?) and the reason why they had not yet fully supported us is because we hadn’t ‘established trust’ with Digitas yet.
“How do we earn this trust,” our editor asked in phone call with Digitas. Naomi went on to explain, and in great detail, how they only share sensitive information with ‘trusted’ sites as to avoid leaks and whatnot.
EA public relations tells editor not to mansplain. Photo posted by Digitas Australia with Naomi Csoke and colleagues
“You have our information and we’re happy to sign NDAs making us legally liable for any leaks,” our editor explained. Naomi sighed and continued to rant about ‘dangerous news’ websites kind of insinuating that Sausage Roll falls under this category.
Our editor added: “This isn’t the first time I’ve worked with EA, as you can see on my LinkedIn profile, I have many connections in the industry and have worked for many different games presses. This is unusual.”
Naomi seemed a bit bothered at this point, yet did not address the concern. She continued to talk about ‘trusted sites’.
“We will hold this line of communication and keep chatting and hopefully, in the future, we can work together. It’s easier to just call or text me rather than emailing me because I respond much quicker,” she added.
“So, you want us to become friends?” Our editor asked.
“No. Don’t interrupt me. I don’t like when guys mansplain. I’ve explained to you that we need to trust you before we can support you.”
The phone call concluded and, despite Naomi’s request to keep communicating with her, she never responded to a text, call, or even an email ever again. She did, however, continue to spam our inbox with outdated press releases… so there’s that.
Naomi Csoke of former EA Australia PR rep Digitas Australia told Sausage Roll editor not to ‘mansplain’.
At first we had no idea why Naomi and Digitas went from being so willing to support us when we were smaller, to not trusting us when we were much bigger. Perhaps it is because we’re not what you consider a ‘progressive’ pop-culture press. We are among the very few slightly conservative entertainment presses, if not the only, in Australia. Considering that she used the term ‘mansplaining’ makes us believe that her personal politics got in the way and that’s why she did not want to support us.
Suffice to say Naomi Csoke is no longer in charge of the EA brand (I wonder if her stand-off attitude has anything to do with that). The last email we received from her said:
Hope you are doing well and staying safe.
I wanted to send you a courtesy email to let you know that there have been a few changes to the team structure and who your point of contact will be moving forward.
[redacted] will be your new point of contact for anything press related for EA Games Australia.
Whilst Digitas will continue our working relationship with EA Games Australia, this new approach will allow you direct access to the source.
On a personal note, I wanted to say it has been lovely to work with you and should you need anything please feel free to reach out.
From the terrible experience we had dealing with Digitas we have no interest in pursuing things any further with EA. It was all very unprofessional.
Should we reconcile with EA and reach out to them again… or do you think it’s best just leave be? Let us know in the comments below.