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Friday, June 21, 2013

Apology Accepted? Kickstarter's Sorry for Helping Fund "Seduction Guide"

Posted by Bobby Roberts on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Earlier this week, comedian Casey Malone wrote a blog post alerting readers to a Kickstarter project that was, essentially, a sexual assault manual. The author of this manual had previously published excerpts as dating advice on Reddit; Malone dug up some of that advice, which included suggestions like "Don't ask her permission, force her to rebuff your advances" and "pull out your cock and put her hand on it."

The post went racing around the internet like a Funny Car fueled by 300 proof liquid rage, and people, without even needing to be asked, started shouting at Kickstarter to yank the listing.

Kickstarter is no stranger to controversy, with more than a few thinkpieces being written about its metamorphosis from "Champion of the little guy" to "Savings & Loan for film studios", discussing whether said shift is ultimately a bad thing. But this was a different kind of controversy, landing in their lap the same day the project was closing, and they had all of two hours to make a decision as to whether to shut it down, or let it fly. They chose the latter, and the author's book was funded.

Today, Kickstarter apologized for that choice. They don't ask to be excused from their decision, only that users understand how they came to that decision, and why they realize that decision was a bad one.

They further went on to say their policies are being adjusted so that "seduction guides" will be prohibited from using the service going forward, and Kickstarter will donate $25,000 (almost $10,000 more than the book itself managed to raise) to RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization.

But will this apology be accepted? Will Kickstarter earn back some lost goodwill, or is this a case of too little, too late? People on the internet are often great at shining spotlights on thoughtlessness, cruelty, and oppression, but not so good at saying "apology accepted." And sometimes, as in the case of Serena Williams' disingenuous PR fart regarding her Steubenville remarks, those apologies should be given the side-eye. Time will tell if this response from Kickstarter carries tangible weight.

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