Kickstarter apologizes for not removing assault guide

Faith Merino · June 21, 2013 · Short URL:

To make amends for not removing sex assault how-to guide, Kickstarter is donating $25K to RAINN

Update: RAINN has launched its own crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise $15,000 for survivors of sexual violence. You can chip in here

In more F*cktastically Misogynistic Friday news, Kickstarter has officially issued an apology for not removing what is essentially a sexual assault guide from their website.

In case you aren’t privy to the controversy, the project, “Above the Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with Women” (srsly.) was posted by Redditor Ken Hoinsky at the end of May and just closed its funding window last Wednesday.

As one might surmise from the title, it’s a guide to getting awesome. With women. Only the seduction guide actually reads as more of a sexual assault/sexual harassment manual. The book got started as a series of posts on Reddit, in which Hoinsky urged his nervous and anemic male audience to quit being a bunch of whiny girls and get aggressive. Like, for reals aggressive. Some of his advice (courtesy of Casey Malone):

Get CLOSE to her, damn it! To quote Rob Judge, “Personal space is for pussies.” I already told you that the most successful seducers are those who can’t keep their hands off of women. Well you’re not gonna be able to do that if you aren’t in close! 


All the greatest seducers in history could not keep their hands off of women. They aggressively escalated physically with every woman they were flirting with. They began touching them immediately, kept great body language and eye contact, and were shameless in their physicality. Even when a girl rejects your advances, she KNOWS that you desire her. That’s hot. It arouses her physically and psychologically.


Decide that you’re going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.


On Sex: Pull out your cock 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 dick.

Hopefully, right now you’re thinking, “what the ever-loving f*ck?”

Aside from the fact that Hoinsky is actually advising his readers to assault women: IT’S. ALL. WRONG. There is nothing less hot than a guy doing the creep crawl around you, touching you and being all skeezy. Actually, the only thing less hot than the creep crawl is a guy who thinks foreplay amounts whipping out his penis and putting your hand on it.

But it's more than just creepy and gross. IT'S ASSAULT. If you've never had a stranger manhandle you in a bar or other public place, you can find yourself paralyzed with fear, discomfort, and humiliation. Telling his audience to "force her to rebuff your advances" is essentially Hoinsky telling his readers to take advantage of that paralysis. So note to self: stay the f*ck away from Ken Hoinsky.

The project’s goal was $2000. It raised $16,369. Kickstarter gets a 5% cut of the total. 

The questionable material was brought to Kickstarter’s attention on Wednesday, just two hours before the project’s funding window closed.

Kickstarter said in a blog post Friday that the reason it didn’t remove the project when it had the chance was because 1) 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.” And 2) Kickstarter tends to give creators the benefit of the doubt, which, in this case, “made us miss the forest for the trees.”

“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.”

Because Kickstarter can’t un-fund a project once the window is closed, there’s nothing to be done about Hoinsky’s rapey how-to guide. So to make up for its failure, Kickstarter has pledged to donate $25,000 to sexual violence prevention organization RAINN. Additionally, Kickstarter has also announced that henceforth, “seduction guides” will be banned from the site, as they encourage misogynistic behavior.  

Kickstarter's apology, donation, and vow to prohibit misogynistic material in the future is encouraging. But there are still 732 people who backed the project and will be receiving copies of the book. So we can look forward to a lot more of this: 


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