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A Sexual Assault How-To by a sleazeball Redditor? Thanks, Kickstarter! [UPDATED: Kickstarter: “We were wrong.”]

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So you may have heard about that Kickstarter that raised $16,000 for a loathsome Reddit PUA’s “handbook on how to bully women who don’t like you into sex, while preserving your claims to believe you had consent should you need to tell the police,” as Amanda Marcotte aptly described it in her post on it yesterday. Slate’s Alyssa Rosenberg also has some thoughts on it.

I don’t really have anything to add.

There’s a petition up demanding that Kickstarter simply refuse to fund what is essentially a how-to guide to sexual assault. Last I checked, it had gotten nearly 60,000 signatures.

EDITED TO ADD: Casey Malone, who wrote the blog post that brought this awful project to the attention of people outside of the sleazier corners of Reddit, wrote Kickstarter about it and got a response suggesting that Kickstarter, while planning to go ahead and fund the project, will be reexamining its policies as a result of the controversy. Malone posted some further thoughts.

EDITED AGAIN: Kickstarter has offered an apology. You can find it here. But I’m just going to repost the whole thing:

Dear everybody,

On Wednesday morning Kickstarter was sent a blog post quoting disturbing material found on Reddit. The offensive material was part of a draft for a “seduction guide” that someone was using Kickstarter to publish. 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.

Why didn’t we cancel the project when this material was brought to our attention? Two things influenced our decision:

  • The decision had to be made immediately. We had only two hours from when we found out about the material to when the project was ending. We’ve never acted to remove a project that quickly. 
  • Our processes, and everyday thinking, bias heavily toward creators. This is deeply ingrained. We feel a duty to our community — and our creators especially — to approach these investigations methodically as there is no margin for error in canceling a project. This thinking made us miss the forest for the trees.

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

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.

Where does this leave us?

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.

That is an apology. Some people could learn a thing or two from this.

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Kittehserf
7 years ago

It was just… icky. And while I agree that in a magical ideal world, you’d tell potential partners you were ace beforehand, I didn’t even know asexuality EXISTED until AFTER I was dating Mac. It’s kind of hard to come out WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW IT EXISTS. (Not at all helped by the snide wankers who think people who’re ace are just doing it to be special.)

Oh fuck, THIS. I went through a time a decade ago when I wondered if I was lesbian, because I never felt any sort of sexual attraction to any men ‘cept Sir, and certainly felt more comfortable with women socially/emotionally. (This was a time when I was almost despairing of anything happening: I didn’t know if he was alive at all, let alone anything more, and I was lonely.) If I’d known the existence of asexuality, demisexuality and so on I wouldn’t have had that thought at all.

@hellkell – so, really there should only be gorgeous young gay men in Savage’s world?

Argenti Aertheri
7 years ago

Kitteh — you forgot cis white and middle class. His target audience is Very Narrow. (Like, you can google for yourself how much he sucks on trans* issues, I’m not touching it)

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

@ Cthulhu’s Intern

That’s where I know him from! I knew I’d seen his particular combination of pretentious, rather stiff tone and fucked up ideas about dating before.

guffaw-ferrets
guffaw-ferrets
7 years ago

Dan Savage also thinks that rape trauma and physical triggers are not an adequate reason to deny someone sex, and that having rape trauma/triggers means you are a selfish and self-pitying person who just needs to get over it for the sake of the person being denied sex. I’m not a fan. Agreed that he’d probably be a neocon (maybe a libertarian, maybe even a PUA??) if he wasn’t gay.

Jessay (@jessay)
7 years ago

I’ve read through your writing – I appreciate that you aren’t that critical a thinker. But come on.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaa

Kittehserf
7 years ago

Kitteh — you forgot cis white and middle class. His target audience is Very Narrow. (Like, you can google for yourself how much he sucks on trans* issues, I’m not touching it)

I’ve seen references to his scummy attitude there, and that he’s obnoxious enough to be glitter bombed (more than once, I think) … he really is a douche. Misogynistic, racist, trans*phobic, biphobic, acephobic, even homophobic (the whole “santorum” business). Nasty piece of work all around.

And the rape thing … I don’t even …

Kittehserf
7 years ago

Fuck. I just read about his attack on that rape survivor. He’s a total shit and I hope he gets bitten by all the mosquitoes.

kiki
kiki
7 years ago

For those who like their Kickstarters a little less rapey, here’s a feminist sci-fi film: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1783641494/advantageous-the-feature

kiki
kiki
7 years ago

those with the biggest itch to scratch haven’t seemed to come up with a better mousetrap

OF’s use of the mixed metaphor shows us, I think, that he is an author so talented, so outre, as to be truly unencumbered by traditional notions of ‘good writing’.

‘If we can hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate!’

I’m going to be reading OF’s posts in a Zap Brannigan voice from now on.

Kittehserf
7 years ago

I’ve never thought of using a mousetrap to scratch an itch … fortunately.

Cthulhu's Intern
7 years ago

The author responded to the controversy.
http://pastebin.com/zwHYzCZe
He basically says it’s impossible for a man to sexually assault a girl who gave him his phone number, went on a few dates with him, and they both got to know her.
Also, that people apparently took his quotes “out of context.” I’d love (and by love, I mean hate) to hear the context in which pulling out your dick and forcing a girl’s hand onto it when she’s already said “no” is acceptable.

pecunium
7 years ago

Boing-boing has a good piece on it, though I think there is something glossed (and we got called hipsters… which was to avoid [I think, a whole lot of, “what did you expects, in comments).

http://boingboing.net/2013/06/22/kickstop-how-a-sleazebag-slip.html

This is why I think Kickstarter only gets partial credit:

Kickstarter suspended a different project last week so they could investigate it.

proudfootz
7 years ago

It’s good at least that Kickstarter is capable of realizing when its made a mistake ansd apologising.

Too often when someone gets caught up in some questionable behavior the choice is to ‘double down’ on it and try to evade responsibility.

Unimaginative
Unimaginative
7 years ago

Speaking of floods and north-america-centricity, are any peeps from northern India? Because, holy fuck!

Sid
Sid
7 years ago

It’s not perfect, of course…but holy shit, that apology goes so above and beyond the expected that I’m tearing up a bit.

Also? Fuck PUAs. If your entire strategy for getting laid is “manipulate her into having sex with me when she pretty clearly doesn’t want to, with absolutely zero concern for her wellbeing or sexual fulfillment”, you are a rapist, full stop. You know what empathetic, halfway-decent men do when they want to have sex and no one wants to have sex with them? Literally anything other than that.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

I’ve never thought of using a mousetrap to scratch an itch … fortunately.

For anyone reading along at home, I’d strongly recommend not using a mousetrap to scratch the particular itch that OF was referring to because…ow, and also embarrassing to explain to the nice people at the emergency room.

emilygoddess
7 years ago

and also embarrassing to explain to the nice people at the emergency room.

Yeah, but they’ve probably seen weirder.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

If anyone actually manages to shock the ER staff then I think they deserve some sort of award.

Xen
Xen
7 years ago

I have to say, I’m impressed they actually apologized. I just expected (if anything) for them to take down the page.

Fade
7 years ago

I haven’t read all of this thread, so forgive me if I repeat something here, but

Obsidian Files said…

The simple truth of the matter, as the current issue clearly shows, is that there is huge demand for what the Seduction community has to offer – and that the Feminists and their allies (read: you, et al) have FAILED to come up with a better way to meet and greet Women for guys who want to. So long as this persists, the Seduction can and will continue to make money hand over fist.

According to Obsidian files: Preventing rape = less important than men not getting laid.

and i’m reading this on a two-day lag, so i’ve probably been beaten to the punch.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: emilygoddess

I had to stop reading that thread. It was entertaining but also made my brain hurt.

My god, humans are resilient creatures.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

What I loved was the assumption that arranging ways for men to get laid ought to be something that feminism should focus on.

Wish I could say that’s the first time I’ve seen that particular variety of brain dropping.

Viscaria
Viscaria
7 years ago

My favourite variant is: “I tried to be a feminist/listen to feminists, but I didn’t have any more sex than I was having before, so I abandoned it.” Yeah, makes sense. If you’re a misogynistic douchebag.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

I spent days at Occupy and I didn’t get a free car. Why should I continue supporting such a pointless movement?

(Some day perhaps these dudes will outgrow the idea that the whole world should revolve around their cocks. At that point I assume they’ll move on to consumer goods.)

pecunium
7 years ago

Fade: According to Obsidian files: Preventing rape = less important than men not getting laid.

I wish it was only that bad. He argues that, unless a male is “Alpha”; or has Game, he needs to rape.

Fade
7 years ago

@ pecunium

I’m glad I just skimmed, because that’s even worse. X|

pecunium
7 years ago

Fade: It’s Bog-Standard PUA, and pretty run of the mill MRA, so it’s not that bad (sort of), unless you compare it to decent human beings, with any sense of ethics, or a moral compass.

Yellaine
Yellaine
7 years ago

I use to love Savage and his advice. He’s certainly broaden my world-view in term of kink and mono/polygamy and generally what kind of relationship you can have with a person, and all the ‘GGG’ stuff. Thanks a lot for that.
Then I stopped reading, because I felt I wasn’t gaining anything anymore reading him – each question he received I could almost predict his answer -. So I left.
Took a step back.
Heard some critic, founded that some were old, some were unfounded or at least a bit unfair, some were true buuuuuuut he’s such a nice guy. Then it kept pilling on.
So yeah. I how him quite a bit but he’s a douchebag who’s almost incapable of self-doubt.

It’s like finding out that the person who taught you how to read has a membership card (hat?) of the KKK. Thanks for everything but bye, I’ve got to get as far away from you asap.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: Yellaine

There, there. From the ages of eight to fourteen, our wee singlet soul was owned by Piers Anthony, so you’ve nothing to be ashamed of.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
7 years ago

I initially assumed that the “color of her panties” thing was a joke…

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: CassandraSays

Ah, if only it were. If only it were…

Seriously, I am ashamed of how much that guy influenced our writing style. Tried reading one of his books this month and my GOD, was it tedious. My husband kept wailing, clutching his head, and going, “EVERYONE IN THIS BOOK IS STUPID.”

It says something when your plot only works if you don’t question or scrutinize it.

Kittehserf
7 years ago

That GGG thing … what I’ve seen of it squicks me out, like you’re doing something wrong if you have boundaries that include saying “No thanks, I do not want to do X” rather than trying X first. Hope I’m misunderstanding, but the very name is creepy, for me. YMMV of course.

Unimaginative
Unimaginative
7 years ago

@LBT me too! I loved A Spell for Chameleon and all the Xanthe books (although I was in high school when I discovered them). I followed him into other series until his Authors Notes at the end of each book got to be longer than the book itself. What a pompous ass he is.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: Unimaginative

For me, it’s the rape and pedopologism that really skeeves me out now. I was quite surprised to find reading that book that I found it tedious as well; I’d forgotten that. (And it was a stand-alone book, so it couldn’t have been that he was sick of the series.)

Unimaginative
Unimaginative
7 years ago

Hmm, I don’t remember noticing that, but high school was a long time ago, and I was young and ridiculously naive. I did get skeeved out over something, though. Toward the end of my relationship with his books, there seemed to be more and more stuff that was just, um, icky.

Yellaine
Yellaine
7 years ago

Kittehserf, the kindest explanation is that you have to give it at least a thought, especially if that’s something you’ve never considered before.
But sadly, there is a strong pattern of saying that the partner with the strongest libido, the most kinks, the more desire to open the relationship, etc is in the ‘right’ while the ‘vanillest’ (I’m making words as I go) should try the most to accommodate his partner or end the relationship. It’s not told in so many words but it is visible.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: Unimaginative

Oh, it got worse, but I assure you, it was there in Spell for Chameleon.

(Trigger warning for rape apologism, in the most blatant, awful way.)

Unimaginative
Unimaginative
7 years ago

Oh, fuck, that’s disgusting. >_<

Kittehserf
7 years ago

LBT, that’s so horrible. I read most of the Xanthe books when I was a teen, too, though I don’t think I read Spell for Chameleon, and dropped the series after Man from Mundania. (Only got into it because of Night Mare – horse hero!) Reading that makes me very glad I tossed them all when we moved house. 🙁

Yellaine – yes, that’s the impression I get. His abuse of that poor woman who’d been raped and was being triggered by her husband is the extreme example of “person who doesn’t want to do X is always wrong”. What a piece of shit he is.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: Unimaginative

Yyyyyyup. And it was alllll downhill from there.

augochlorella
augochlorella
7 years ago

Those Piers Anthony books! I also had a fling with them in highschool, but I got so squicked out by them that I had to stop reading them.

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

RE: Kittehserf

His abuse of that poor woman who’d been raped and was being triggered by her husband is the extreme example of “person who doesn’t want to do X is always wrong”. What a piece of shit he is.

Yeah, see, that shit is personal for me. Back when me and hubby first started dating, I had rape issues out the wazoo. Navigating around it was like trying to have a picnic in a minefield.

It’s awful, but back then, I couldn’t really consent, because I had no understanding of what it meant to want something, plus even the things I DID want often became emotional horror shows afterward, so it was just one huge conflicted, miserable mess. I was NOT GGG at the time. I challenge anyone to be, under such circumstances. I was just trying to figure out the difference between “DO NOT WANT” and “WANT, but will be deeply triggered afterward,” and all the other shades of awful.

I felt that in such a condition, it was unfair for anyone to be with me. It took me a long time to understand what my husband saw in me, and why he was willing to be monogamous.

So yeah. I don’t have a lot of patience with that kind of advice.

pecunium
7 years ago

Yellaine: But sadly, there is a strong pattern of saying that the partner with the strongest libido, the most kinks, the more desire to open the relationship, etc is in the ‘right’ while the ‘vanillest’ (I’m making words as I go) should try the most to accommodate his partner or end the relationship. It’s not told in so many words but it is visible.

I’ve always had the opposite belief. If one knows one is an outlier, and one knows what one’s partner likes/doesn’t like, and chooses to enter the relationship, one does it with the understanding of contraints.

Otherwise you are asking the partner to abandon boundaries.

Kittehserf
7 years ago

ALL the hugs if you want them, LBT. That is … I haven’t words. 🙁

Kittehserf
7 years ago

Pecunium – that’s exactly what I was thinking a moment ago (while scrabbling on the floor looking for my pen, heh).

LBT
LBT
7 years ago

It’s okay. It’s a dark chapter of my life, now thankfully closed. It’s something I still wake up grinning about. Sex can JUST be sex now! Something fun and enjoyable!

Though it’s sad that it took me over twenty years to reach the point that apparently most folks are at the whole time.

AK
AK
7 years ago

I didn’t expect this…apparently the author of this book is now working with anti-rape organizations in order to fix the problematic advice in it. Here’s a Salon article about it: http://www.salon.com/2013/06/24/pickup_artist_ken_hoinsky_apologizes_for_promoting_sexual_assault/

cloudiah
7 years ago

OMG, have the misters heard about this yet? Hoinsky has now gone full white knight/mangina. CODE PUCE, CODE PUCE. [red lights flash, klaxons sound, steam is released from the air vents]

inurashii
inurashii
7 years ago

Ok, I have some updates for you guys and hooooly shit.

So thanks to this execrable apologist ‘interview’ of Ken Hoinsky, I ran into a link…

… that is basically a timestamped rundown of Ken Hoinsky raping a Japanese woman. Trigger Warnings abound. This shit is unfuckingbelievable. Thread here.

this chucklefuck is acting like he’s ‘learned’. He has not.