Friday, June 21, 2013

Kickstarter Apologizes


I posted yesterday about Kickstarter's decision to allow funding on what was essentially a rape manual.  This was a horrible, horrible thing, and Kickstarter said that they were disgusted by it, too, but that the chose to allow it to go through because they tend to skew their decisions in favor of content creators.

To an extent, I get that.  The project, at first glance, appears douchey but harmless.  The harmful, disgusting stuff was posted offsite, and they didn't get alerted until 2 hours until the funding was complete.

That said, their decision to allow the project was wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.  Not because the project fell under the douchey and misogynistic "Game" thing that so many pick-up artists follow, but because the project actively encouraged sexual assault and was a handbook on how to effectively rape women.

A lot of the outrage grew and became more intense because what little we knew about Kickstarter was sent privately to individual blogs and then posted by the blog hosts as updates were made available.  They did not release a public statement, and they started deleting negative comments off of Facebook.  People were swearing off of the service, not just deciding not to use it to fund their own projects, but deciding not to back any projects on Kickstarter because they take a certain amount of the profits.

HOWEVER, Kickstarter has finally released a public statement on their blog, aptly titled "We Were Wrong."

What's nice about this apology is that they don't hide behind their policies, and they don't try to sneak in a half-apology like "I'm sorry you go offended."  It appears to be an earnest apology about how they fucked up.

While they said that they can't defund the project because the money is a direct transfer straight from the backers to the project creators, they do have plans for what they will do.  These plans include:

  1. Removing the project (but keeping a cache for transparency's sake) from their website to indicate that it does not reflect their view or values.
  2. Banning seductions guides entirely given the greatly problematic nature of the concept.
  3. Donating $25,000 to RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network).
I am incredibly pleased with their decision.  They've admitted that they were wrong, they didn't just say that they'd "take step" to update their guidelines--they actually updated them, and they donated a lot of money to an organization that works to combat rape, rape culture, and sexual violence of all kinds.  So, yes, I am pleased with this decision.  Good on them.