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Monthly Archives: June 2013

A New Outlook, A New Book

 

An email from DoSomething.org

While our petition received 61,095 signatures in two days, our goal isn’t lots of clicks or even an apology from Kickstarter. Our goal was and always is, impact. So we reached out to Above the Game author Ken Hoinsky. He agreed to a coffee.

On Saturday, our petition writer, Ben Kassoy, sat down with Ken (we kind of love the idea of two straight guys sitting down to chat about sex, sexuality, and violence).

Today, Hoinsky said in a statement that he “wholeheartedly apologizes to everyone I offended” and is committed to writing a book that promotes consent, respect, and healthy relationships.

“Ben Kassoy of DoSomething.Org, a non-profit that encourages social change, reached out to me,” he says, “…to provide alternate opinions and insights to help remove all of the potentially harmful advice.”

Hoinsky realizes he needed to “seriously evaluate every last word of my writing to make sure I wasn’t encouraging sexual assault in any way, shape, or form.”

“I am proud to say that his was the first of many meetings I will be having with anti-rape and anti-abuse organizations and experts to make sure that the advice I am offering is free of any tinge of sexual assault or rape vibes,” he added. “I will be rewriting Above The Game under their guidance and insight.”

You did this. Because so many of you signed that petition and tweeted and commented all over Facebook, Kickstarter and the author listened and righted their wrongs.

Let’s not stop. Tell us what else you want to change. We’ll help you make it happen…with the same commitment to transparency and impact we demonstrated here. It’s time to do something.
 
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Posted by on June 25, 2013 in DoSomething.org, Kickstarter

 

We Were Wrong by Kickstarter

http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/we-were-wrong

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.

Thank you,

Kickstarter

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Kickstarter

 

8 Kickstarter Alternatives You Should Know About

Check out this article that has some pretty impressive alternatives to Kickstarter.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Kickstarter

 

The Intellectual Dishonesty of Corporate Doublespeak: Beef and Bigotry

http://designislaw.tumblr.com/post/53493922150/the-intellectual-dishonesty-of-corporate-doublespeak

Last time on the melodramatic horror show The Story of Kickstarterwe discovered that Kickstarter allowed a how-to guide of how to harass and sexually assault women to use their service and gain over $16,000 in funding. Upon being confronted with this, Kickstarter released the following statement:

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.

Okay, so it was abhorrent with your values as people (who haven’t tweeted worth a damn in the past few days!) and yet this did not warrant the “irreversible action” of canceling the project. It’s such a shame that this wasn’t brought to you sooner, “just hours” before the deadline, because as white guy comedian and corporate apologist Casey Malone writes:

They made a really bad call. Straight up, this was a bad call to allow this to be funded. But it’s undeniable that they had not a lot of time to make that call in, and a weird confluences of loopholes in their policies. Big companies move very slowly, and they had to act fast, so you know. They made a bad call. That does not mean it’s a bad platform, or they’re bad people – in fact, they seem pretty upset about the whole thing, and I hope that they re-examine some of the policies that led to that call now that they have more than a few hours to breathe.

“…they had not a lot of time to make that call in…Big companies move very slowly, and they had to act fast, so you know,” writes Casey. Well, one fucking problem that sure as hell damns both Kickstarter as a company, the people incompetent and goldfish minded enough to write this press release, and Casey for not looking into this story before breaking it and defending Kickstarter in their statements.

Kickstarter pulled the plug on a project just minutes before it’s deadline last May. From CNN: 

campaign titled “KOBE RED – 100% JAPANESE BEER FED KOBE BEEF JERKY” first appeared on Kickstarter on May 14, and it raised $120,000 from 3,300 backers over the past month.

That is, until Kickstarter pulled the plug just before the campaign was scheduled to end and the money was set to go into the fraudsters’ bank accounts. Kickstarter relies on its community to self-police, and the Kobe Red shutdown came after sharp Kickstarter users and a documentary team raised concerns.

The supposed company in charge, Los Angeles-based Magnus Fun, promised the jerky was the first kind made from the tender and expensive Japanese Kobe beef.

Good to know Kickstarter prioritizes fighting beef jerky fraud over women. That’s really fucking low and quite honestly, the biggest insult to everyone that has spoken up against this Above the Game story. Kickstarter openly lied about how they didn’t have enough time to pull the plug, and Casey Malone defended their incompetence – especially horrifying since this story broke just last month.

As for Kickstarter right now, it’s employees have, for the most part, stopped tweeting entirely, it’s deleted a chunk of an onslaught of Facebook posts raising hell on their Page, turned away people at their door, and made no further statements as to what’s going to happen next with Ken Hoinsky’s project.

The fact that they’ve prioritized kobe beef scams over violence against women is utterly disgusting and an insulting line in the sand to draw.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Kickstarter

 

Kickstarter responds…or rather, doesn’t.

From the DoSomething Kickstarter Petition Update page, found here

UPDATE: Above the Game author Ken Hoinsky (who started the Kickstarter project) has agreed to talk to our petition writer, Ben, on how to write his book without content that is misogynistic, offensive, or tolerant of sexual assault. We look forward to the conversation.

UPDATE: The good news: We received over 50,068 signatures in just over a day, which is awesome. The bad news: We’re gutted. Here’s why…

Last night, 9:30 pm

Our CMO, Naomi, called the Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen on his cellphone. She left a voicemail encouraging him to call us back. He has not returned our call.

This morning, 10:15 am

Over 20 of us went to the Kickstarter HQ to deliver your signatures, as promised. We had some posters, but we were quiet, courteous, and only stayed for 10 minutes.

Our CMO Naomi and petition writer, Ben, asked to enter the building to deliver the signatures to Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen.

Instead, the company’s office manager came downstairs and told us we would not be allowed to enter. She assured us the signatures would be delivered to the CEO. (Note: We felt awful for this woman! Who sends the office manager to handle this?! So, when we got back to the office, we sent her flowers. We think Perry ought to buy her flowers, too.)

DoSomething CMO Naomi and petition writer Ben deliver 47,056 signatures to Kickstarter. Notice how scared their office manager looks (when we got back to our office, we sent her flowers).

Noon

Many of you alerted us to the fact that Kickstarter had spent hours deleting your posts on their Facebook page. As one of you tweeted at us, “deleting Fbook comments is never a good sign.”

Today, 3:00 pm

We reached out the author personally, offering advice and insight from a professional author and relationship blogger (who works for us!) on how to improve his book so that it does not promote sexual assault. If this book is (apparently) going to be funded and written, we want to make sure nobody is going to get hurt. Our goal isn’t lots of clicks or to embarrass anyone, we just want to make sure violence against women isn’t rewarded…ever.

Today, now (5:18 pm)

We’re disappointed and saddened. We love Kickstarter. We’re truly shocked at how poorly they have handled this. It’s been over six hours since we delivered the signatures, and over 17 hours since we left the CEO a voicemail. We have received no response – through personal channels (like a returned phone call) or on social media. Don’t 50,000+ signatures matter to them?

The bottom line(s):

  1. We’re bummed. We really thought Kickstarter would pull this thing down – or at least make a very strong statement about their position on violence against women and projects that could encourage it.
  2. We’re not giving up. (a) We’re going to throw ourselves at this author to make sure he writes a positive book. (b) We’re going to keep collecting signatures until we get a response from Kickstarter. (c) We’re going to continue going after awful things like this, everywhere. If there is a petition you think we should  run, tell us athttp://www.dosomething.org/petitions/ideas.
 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Kickstarter

 

Sexual Assault Book Funded!!

I am going to provide the link to Casey’s blog as they pretty much sum up everything on this unfortunate turn of events.

You can read it here.

End of the day, the book is funded. Kickstarter wasn’t aware of the subject matter and won’t stop it. However this supposedly will lead them to review their policies going forward.

Yeah. That’s kind of like mending the fence after the horse got out.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Kickstarter

 

Petition to encourage Kickstarter to not fund sexual assault book

http://www.dosomething.org/petition/kickstarter

“Pull out your c**k and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your d**k.”

That’s from Ken Hoinsky’s proposed book on “dating advice.” “Disgusting” doesn’t even begin to describe it: basically, it’s a how-to guide on sexually assaulting women. (Read more excerpts here.)

But, get this: Hoinsky’s book, Above the Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with Women has raised $15,929 on Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.

That means that at 11:56 am EST today (6/19), Hoinsky may actually receive nearly $16,000 to publish a book that advises men to “Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.”

Kickstarter’s Terms of Use prohibit content that is “threatening, abusive” or “offensive.” It also “reserves the right to suspend a campaign at any time and for any reason.”

That’s why we’re demanding Kickstarter take down the project and refuse to fund Hoinksy a single dime for this sexual assault handbook. We also want Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen to issue a statement apologizing this project was approved in the first place and vowing not to support projects of this nature in the future.

Tweet @kickstarter or report it on the bottom of this page. Hoinsky has taken these excerpts off Reddit (where they were originally posted), but you can read them here.

And, of course SIGN and SHARE this petition! Tell Kickstarter to pull this offensive, abusive, and misogynistic project and prohibit others like it. When we reach 10,000 signatures, we’ll personally deliver the names to the Kickstarter offices in New York City.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in Kickstarter

 
 
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