NBA star Ben Simmons in trouble over social media no-show
NBA star Ben Simmons' tourism deal with the Victorian Government is being questioned after the state ambassador has failed to run social media content from his hometown visit.
The much-loved star was on a rumoured $50,000 commercial arrangement with Visit Victoria to promote the state in August.
However, three months after flying back to America the taxpayer-funded agency confirmed the international star has still not posted any contracted social media content to his 4.6 million followers.
The revelation that the contract may have gone awry comes after Simmons' visit earlier in the year became a PR disaster.
On a night out the 23-year-old posted a video slamming Crown Casino for alleged racial profiling when he and his entourage were denied entry after refusing to show ID.
Once picked up by the media Simmons promptly removed the video, but was courted by media in the days following as details of his taxpayer-funded deal as a state ambassador emerged.
The Herald Sun is not suggesting Simmons engaged in any wrongdoing.
Visit Victoria's General Manager of Major Events Damien de Bohun told the Herald Sun no content had been run by the super star but said the contract was still in place.
"Ben's ability to promote Victoria to a global audience is almost unparalleled and we're looking forward to seeing the benefits he will bring to the state," he said.
"Ben's promotional activities will be timed for optimum impact on the world stage."
However, Opposition spokesman David Davis said the deal appeared to have fallen over and questioned whether any payments had been made to the star.
"Andrews and Labor need to come clean on how much has been squandered on this ill-advised folly," he said.
"Who authorised this and what value for Victorian taxpayers has been received?"
While touring Victoria Simmons did post social media snaps of him with family and friends at the Zoo, taking helicopter rides and visiting AFL players at Marvel Stadium.
However, Visit Victoria said none of the posts were labelled as paid content and were not the material agreed upon under the deal.
Under Australian law, influencers can face fines of up to $220,000 for not declaring paid posts and for brands up to $1.1 million.
No influencers have yet been punished in Australia, however the ACCC has flagged they are watching influencers closely.
Visit Victoria at the time of Simmons visit said they expect all ambassadors to abide by Australian law when posting content to social media.