Kickstarter: We Were Wrong About Promoting Rape Culture

The website apologizes for its part in funding a book that critics describe as a ‘sexual assault manual.’
Jun 21, 2013· 1 MIN READ
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades has previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and a medical writer.

Earlier this week we told you about the Kickstarter-funded project for an odious book called Above the Game, A Guide to Getting Awesome With Women, which most have described as a how-to manual for sexual assault.

Despite the backlash both Kickstarter and the author received, the website refused to take down The Game’s funding page, even while admitting that the ideas in the book were offensive and disturbing.

However, this morning, after a three-day onslaught of Internet outrage, a massive online petition, and a demonstration outside of Kickstarter headquarters, the company came to its senses and issued a real mea culpa.

Titled, We Were Wrong, it reads, in part:

The posts offended a lot of people—us included—and many asked us to cancel the creator’s project. We didn’t. We were wrong.

The apology goes on to explain the reasoning behind the companys choice to keep The Games page live on this site, but follows that up with:

These factors don’t excuse our decision but we hope they add clarity to how we arrived at it.

It also explains how The Game ended up on Kickstarter in the first place:

Let us be 100% clear: Content promoting or glorifying violence against women or anyone else has always been prohibited from Kickstarter. If a project page contains hateful or abusive material we don’t approve it in the first place. If we had seen this material when the project was submitted to Kickstarter (we didn’t), it never would have been approved. Kickstarter is committed to a culture of respect.

Unfortunately, there’s no getting the money back. The Game netted over $16,000—eight times its original goal—and that money went straight to the author, Ken Hoinsky. But the funding site says the project page has finally been removed from its site, and effective immediately, it’s prohibiting seduction guides and similar materials entirely.

This material encourages misogynistic behavior and is inconsistent with our mission of funding creative works. These things do not belong on Kickstarter.

Finally, the site is donating $25,000 to RAINN, an organization that helps survivors of sexual abuse.

While these actions do not unfortunately do anything to help protect the women who will become the targets of Hoinsky’s readers, it’s the least Kickstarter can do to rectify its involvement.

The donation is a nice gesture, but when a person or organization either purposely or inadvertently promotes the victimization of women, the one sentiment that should be echoed—vigorously and emphatically—is “We were wrong.” And in that respect, Kickstarter (finally) gets it right.

Does this apology change the way you view the site? Let us know in the Comments.