A sex tech business which was stripped of an award on grounds its innovation was obscene has now received an apology – and a $2m prize.
Just a month after issuing the award to business Lora DiCarlo over a sex toy, the organisation behind the Consumer Electronics Show rescinded it.
CES claimed the sex toy could be considered immoral, obscene, indecent, profane and not in-keeping with the organisation’s image, and banned it from the exhibition floor.
The company had originally been given an innovation prize for its hands-free personal massager by a panel of judges who are experts in robotics.
The company’s chief executive Lora Haddock accused CES of gender bias after they retracted the prize, noting sex dolls marketed to men featured on the exhibition floor, as did a virtual reality pornography company.
She wrote that the organisers clearly had no issue allowing explicit male sexuality and pleasure to be ostentatiously on display.
Ms Haddock added that CES had a long, documented history of gender bias, sexism, misogyny, and double standards – much like the tech industry as a whole.
From the exclusion of female founders and executives to the lack of female-focused products allowed to exhibit on the floor – there are demonstrable issues with diversity.
Men’s sexuality is allowed to be explicit with a literal sex robot in the shape of an unrealistically proportioned woman and VR porn in point of pride along the aisle, said Ms Haddock.
Female sexuality, on the other hand, is heavily muted if not outright banned. You cannot pretend to be unbiased if you allow a sex robot for men but not a vagina-focused robotic massager for blended orgasm.
On Wednesday, the Consumer Technology Association, the organisation behind the show, reinstated the award.
CTA did not handle this award properly, said Jean Foster, the group’s senior vice president of marketing and communications.
This prompted some important conversations internally and with external advisors and we look forward to taking these learnings to continue to improve the show.
After the prize was reinstated, Ms Haddock wrote: We recognise this gesture as movement in the right direction by CES, but this is merely the first step.
Lora DiCarlo continues to remain committed to working with the [organisation] on driving long-term change to be more inclusive. We are not backing down. Stay tuned for more on this as we continue to give ’em hell!
(c) Sky News 2019: Robotic sex toy maker given $2m and apology after being stripped of award