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An author’s successful attempt to raise money to publish a self-help book on Kickstarter came under fire because critics believed the book condoned sexual assault. Kickstarter later apologized for not pulling the project.
According to CNN, Ken Hoinsky claimed that his book on “getting awesome with women” was just a self-help book to guide men on ways to interact with women. The Connecticut native raised over $16,000, well over his $2,000 goal, to publish the book. But others believed that the book condoned and promoted sexual assault and took to social media to slam Hoinsky for writing it and Kickstarter for letting him raise money.
“The concept of 'waiting for signs' or 'indicators of interest' was commonplace in older pickup theory. It is 100% garbage and needs to be erased from the face of the planet,” Hoinsky wrote in the book. “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.”
“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,” the post reads. “We were wrong.”
Kickstart listed two reasons for not pulling it. They said that the project was ending within two hours when they found out about it and there was no way they could pull a project in such short time. Next, they said that their commitment to an author’s creativity blinded them.
“Our processes, and everyday thinking, bias heavily toward creators,” the company wrote. “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.”
Kickstarter said that any “Content promoting or glorifying violence against women or anyone else has always been prohibited from Kickstarter,” and that had they seen the material in the book, they would not have approved it. they also pulled the project’s page, but linked to a cached version.
From now on, “seduction guides” will be banned from Kickstarter. “This material encourages misogynistic behavior and is inconsistent with our mission of funding creative works,” the site said. “These things do not belong on Kickstarter.”
As for Hoinsky, PCMag.com notes that he issued a post on Pastebin sayign that he was “devastated and troubled” by the Internet’s assumption that the book promoted rape and abuse. He said that the quotes posted on Reddit had been taken out of context. “Additionally, the book contains an entire chapter on sexual assault & rape, preaching men what not to do. Of course no one has seen those parts yet because the book hasn't been released yet,” he wrote.
He also took to Twitter after Kickstarter’s blog post was published:
@kickstarter wise PR move. Perception is reality and as far as the world is concerned, I'm a rape promoter. Thanks for a wild ride.
— Ken Hoinsky (@TheRealTofuTofu) June 21, 2013