Zoey hasn't intentionally manipulated Simon though. She got these powers and started hearing Simon's songs about being in pain. She'd have to be a terrible person to ignore him, especially since she does truly relate to losing a parent. Do you think Zoey is manipulating everyone else in her life when she helps them after hearing their songs?
Simon and Zoey have built a real bond. The problem is he doesn't know how it started and he doesn't know she can still read his feelings. Once he does know, he may not be able to handle it.
It also kind of sucks for Zoey because in any relationship she's either going to feel like she's keeping secrets or be worried that the guy will not be able to take it. It's also not something you can admit on a first date, because they'd think you're crazy.
Yes, Zoey is definitely Simon's manager. They specifically stated it in two different episodes. The racial one that you mentioned, but also earlier in the season Zoey made a comment about now she was his boss too.
It is weird that they would make a point of doing that, only to put them in a relationship and not have it be an issue. Was it just so that Zoey was the one that had to tell him to retract his statement about race issues?