Kickstarter Apologizes For Not Removing Fundraiser For Book Of Rape Tips
Earlier this week we learned about a Kickstarter fundraiser to publish Above The Game: A Guide For Getting Awesome With Women. The book by a Connecticut “pickup artist” named Ken Hoinsky originated as “seduction” advice posted on Reddit; he used the fundraising site to ask for a few thousand bucks to publish his wisdom to the masses. You know, innocent little tips like:
Pull out your cock and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your dick.
Shockingly, Hoinsky’s book raised over $16,000 — far, far more than it originally sought for publication. Rightfully so, people were outraged by the content and the fact he would get all that money via Kickstarter. As of Wednesday night, a petition from DoSomething.org had garnered over 50,000 signatures asking Kickstarter to remove and on Thursday morning, representatives from Do Something went to Kickstarter headquarters to deliver the petition. The petition asked the company to take down the project, refuse to issue Hoinsky the funds, and publicly apologize for posting it in the first place.
Guess what? They finally did.
But it took them awhile. On Thursday, all Kickstarter did was send their office manager down to pick up the signatures (oh, and also they deleted a bunch of critical Facebook comments from their page) and promise they’d be delivered to the CEO. However, in a statement to the tech blog BetaBeat, the company said it had reviewed the project but “Based on our current guidelines … the material on Reddit did not warrant the irreversible action of canceling the project.” Ah! So it’s Reddit’s problem! Not Kickstarter’s!
Meanwhile, Hoinsky, the author of the “advice,” claimed his seduction tips were being misunderstood by everyone. As part of a statement he posted on Pastebin, Hoinsky wrote:
If “Don’t wait for signs, make the first move” promotes sexual assault, then “Kiss the Girl” from The Little Mermaid was a song about rape.
It’s clear the dudebro just doesn’t get it. But the good news? Today the company published a post on their blog entitled “We Were Wrong” in which they apologized for not removing the project before the deadline, which means they cannot withhold the funds from Hoinsky. However, they are taking other important steps to remedy the situation:
First, there is no taking back money from the project or canceling funding after the fact. When the project was funded the backers’ money went directly from them to the creator. We missed the window.
Second, the project page has been removed from Kickstarter. The project has no place on our site. For transparency’s sake, a record of the page is cached here.
Third, we are prohibiting “seduction guides,” or anything similar, effective immediately. This material encourages misogynistic behavior and is inconsistent with our mission of funding creative works. These things do not belong on Kickstarter.
Fourth, today Kickstarter will donate $25,000 to an anti-sexual violence organization called RAINN. It’s an excellent organization that combats exactly the sort of problems our inaction may have encouraged.
We take our role as Kickstarter’s stewards very seriously. Kickstarter is one of the friendliest, most supportive places on the web and we’re committed to keeping it that way. We’re sorry for getting this so wrong.
What?! A real apology?! With steps being taken to do better next time?! And a charitable donation?! My eyes must be deceiving me, this never happens.