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Kickstarter Thinks Redditor’s Creepy Dating Book Is ‘Abhorrent,’ But Declines to Remove It

"Based on our current guidelines, however, the material on Reddit did not warrant the irreversible action of canceling the project."
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(Screenshot: Kickstarter)

In a statement provided to Betabeat, the powers that be at Kickstarter announced that they will not be taking down the project for Redditor Ken Hoinsky’s dating advice book, which contains unsettling suggestions for how to treat women, including “grab her hand and put it right on your dick.” The book, called Above the Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome With Women, far surpassed its Kickstarter funding goal and promises to compile much of the dating advice the prolific Mr. Hoinsky has published to Reddit over the years.

Kickstarter’s statement reads:

Kickstarter reviews projects based on our guidelines and the information creators share on their project pages. It’s a process we’ve refined over four years and continue to refine daily. We strive for fair and thoughtful policies that maintain the health of the Kickstarter ecosystem.

This morning, material that a project creator posted on Reddit earlier this year was brought to our and the public’s attention just hours before the project’s deadline. Some of this material is abhorrent and inconsistent with our values as people and as an organization. Based on our current guidelines, however, the material on Reddit did not warrant the irreversible action of canceling the project.

As stewards of Kickstarter we sometimes have to make difficult decisions. We followed the discussion around the web today very closely. It led to a lot of internal discussion and will lead to a further review of our policies.

Much of the material many users considered to be offensive, such as excerpts that suggest the best way to pick up women is to be so aggressive that you “force her to rebuff your advances,” was actually published to Reddit and not the actual Kickstarter project page. As such, Kickstarter appears to feel they cannot police content that appears outside of its own website.

There’s also the matter of not wanting to stifle users’ creative expression, though we’re pretty sure this project could’ve easily been revoked under the crowdfunding site’s terms of use. (Users can’t submit content that is “unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, libelous, deceptive, fraudulent, tortious, obscene, offensive, profane, or invasive of another’s privacy.”)

Above the Game ignited controversy across the blogosphere after comedian Casey Malone wrote about it on his Tumblr. The project then made its way to Jezebel before we picked up on it. Meanwhile, a petition is circling on DoSomething asking Kickstarter to reverse their decision.

Update: Mr. Hoinsky has issued a statement–on Pastebin, natch–defending his book and saying the quotes were lifted without context:

The thing that the commenters on social media are leaving out is that the advice was taken from a section in the guide offering advice on what to do AFTER a man has met a cute girl, gotten her phone number, gone on dates, spent time getting to know her, and now are alone behind closed doors fooling around. 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.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com

Comments

  1. glmorrison says:

    Reblogged this on G. L. Morrison.