Sex. Feminism. Lesbian Werewolves.

Belated Reaction to Kickstarter’s Apology

Posted on Jul 3, 2013 in Blog, Feminism, Publishing | 3 comments

When everything went down with the “How to Sexually Assault Women” PUA Kickstarter project, I was incensed.  It was just one more insult added to the barrage of sexist, misogynistic, and hateful rhetoric hurled at women and good men in what appears to be a banner year for this kind of bullshit. And it was one more piece of evidence that the shitty men are winning.  The PUA piece of shit earned $16K for his project, and impressionable and lonely men who backed the project will get all the wrong answers about how to approach and date women.

I, like many people, posted an 11th hour screed about this project and my disappointment with Kickstarter’s handling of it.  While there are other crowdfunding resources, I had a fondness for Kickstarter for a few reasons:  1) I love its interface,  2) I love its dogged support of creators, 3) Its been really good to me. 4) I appreciate its unique barrier that requires hitting a minimum to get funding, which I believe adds a necessary incentive to backers,  and 5) I had hoped to use it in the near future for a new, exciting (and currently semi-secret) project.

If you haven’t heard the outcome of this situation, here it is:  Kickstarter honored the $16K the PUA bag-of-shit earned.  Kickstarter apologized twice (once a non-apology, and once a sincere one).  Kickstarter is barring future “seduction guides”. And Kickstarter is donating $25000 to RAINN [Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network].

Short of defunding the seduction guide project (which isn’t possible, according to Kickstarter), this is the best outcome I could have hoped for.  While I fear some of that $25K will go to help women who’ve been hurt by this very project, Kickstarter did the noble thing by admitting their mistake, taking steps to prevent future abuse of their system, and offering recompense via a donation to a worthy organization.

While my ideal outcome would be a world in which crap like Pick Up Artistry doesn’t exist, that’s going to take a while, and it’s going to take the work of folks like RAINN to do it.  This is a decent second option for me.

I feel good about using Kickstarter for my future projects.  My experience with them was wonderful and I believe they’ve done right by their users.

 

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3 Comments

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  1. Jacob Parr

    I don’t believe this project should have ever been allowed to get started in the first place. I am a man and a writer and would never even think about giving money to a campaign like this. While I have not used Kickstarter to raise money for any works of my own, I believe that the company should have stuck to their own guidelines and never let this project get started. If they are making money off of these projects then someone should be making sure they follow the rules they set forth. Their terms of service were violated and this project should have been banned from the site and not awarded the money it ‘raised’. Just domating 25,000 to RAINN doesn’t really help in my opinion. They should have stopped this from taking place before it was allowed to be funded and by violating the terms of services they should have not awarded this PUA anything. I think Kickstarter wussed out and made the donation to RAINN to get people off their back for awarding him the 16,000 so they could get their cut and still look good by donating money to an organization. Seems pretty contradictory to me. Not to mention that RAINN will probably spend a lot more than that trying to undo the damage a book about “sexually assaulting” women will create. I think Kickstarter shouldn’t be let off the hook so easily. At least that’s my opinion.

  2. Allison

    None of the videos or supporting info for the Kickstarter project specifically included the more heinous parts of the project. Only when folks clicked through to read the original material that will compose the book (posted only on Reddit) did any of the horrible stuff show up. Kickstarter approved the project (like it does with all projects) based solely on the material submitted. I don’t think this can be considered a violation of their policies, since they only review the submitted material. I think this represents a potential upgrade on Kickstarter’s side. They should be willing to vet the projects more by looking at supplemental material.

    I think this can be problematic though. There is an element of buyer beware with any projects that haven’t yet been made. In my case, no one who supported my Kickstarter could guarantee the book wouldn’t have some problematic stuff in it. And Kickstarter itself has to act on good faith that I’ll make good on my promises of content, quality, and delivery. It’s a tough space.

    While I agree with you that I wish the project had never been funded at all, I think this is a fair Plan B.

  3. Jacob Parr

    I suppose it is then. Hopefully they will go forward having learned from this experience and vetting the projects more carefully. I think it’s a shame that all those people actually supported it. I’m glad you brought awareness to the subject on Goodreads and here on your own page though. There will always be those out there with little to no respect for women and it just means that the rest of us will have to be the guiding light on the subject. It’s one thing to have a healthy sexual attitude and even induldge in the more carnal pleasures ;) but there is a line and I believe a book like this crosses it. Have a great day Allison!

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