Kickstarter says it's sorry it allowed a project for what critics are calling a "how-to guide on sexual assault," but that it's now too late to deny the book its funds. The controversy began when a popular regular on Reddit's pickup artist sub-forum "seddit" decided to use the crowd-funding site to self-publish his book Above the Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with Women. If you're not offended by pickup artistry in general, the project looked innocuous enough—or it did, until various people spotted an eyebrow-raising post Ken Hoinsky had made about sexual aggression. Some choice quotes (others are more graphic):
- "Never, ever, ever, wait for a SIGN before you escalate! You will miss out on the vast majority of chances if you sit around waiting for SIGNS. … From now on you must ASSUME that she is attracted to you and wants to be ravished."
- "Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don't ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances."
- "All that matters is that you continue to try to escalate physically until she makes it genuinely clear that it's not happening."
Hoinsky says the post is being taken out of context—it assumes you've already gone on dates with the woman. "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," he argues. But that didn't quell the uproar; a petition to take down the post garnered almost 58,000 signatures. Kickstarter didn't do that, and in a blog post today it admits it should have. The page is now gone, but Kickstarter says it can't do anything about the money the project got from donors while it was up. The site will donate $25,000 to the anti-sexual assault group RAINN in penance, and is banning all "seduction guides" from now on. (Read more Kickstarter stories.)