Kickstarter issued a major mea culpa Friday after a book project on its site, "Above the Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with Women," has been slammed as manual for sexually dominating and seducing females.
In a blog post titled, "We were wrong," Kickstarter apologized for not removing the yet-to-be-published book by Ken Hoinsky before the funding deadline and notes what it will do going forward, Newstatesman reports. The post reads, in part:
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.
Hoinsky's appeal for "Above the Game" drew pledges in excess of $16,000 through Kickstarter, far above the $2,000 the author was looking to raise.
But after the Connecticut author's Reddit articles on his seduction tips were red-flagged by a reader, a digital dustup ensued.
Here's an excerpt from that chapter (bold text part of original document):
As stated back in the section on Flirting in Part 5, leading with your body is a very effective form of flirting. It is YOUR JOB, as the man, to lead the interaction. Be playful. Spin her around. Pick her up. Push her away as a tease and then pull her back in.
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.
Then there's this advice:
The secret to good kissing is using your body and not just your tongue. Don't slobber all over her like a dog, but don't peck her lips over and over either. As with everything, it's a balance. While you're doing this, grab her by the hips and pull her into you. Press your groin right into hers. Make her feel your erection. Trust me, this turns women on incredibly.
As you might guess, Hoinsky gets more descriptive and graphic as the chapter progresses. But the author does offer a sidebar of sorts to mitigate problems his advice might bring about (again, bold text is part of original document):
IMPORTANT NOTE ON RESISTANCE:
If at any point a girl wants you to stop, she will let you know. If she says "STOP," or "GET AWAY FROM ME," or shoves you away, you know she is not interested. It happens. Stop escalating immediately and say this line:
"No problem. I don't want you to do anything you aren't comfortable with."
Memorize that line. It is your go-to when faced with resistance. Say it genuinely, without presumption. All master seducers are also masters at making women feel comfortable. You'll be no different. If a woman isn't comfortable, take a break and try again later.
All that matters is that you continue to try to escalate physically until she makes it genuinely clear that it's not happening. She wants to be desired, but the circumstances need to be right. [...]
Of course if you're really unclear, back off. Better safe than sorry.
The New York Daily News reports that much of the initial reaction to these posts was positive:
"I think I can really up my game after these last two parts in your series..." one Reddit user commented.
"I will say that your sex advice is pretty spot on," another chimed before obscenely detailing how he's used it on his girlfriend whom in his words reacted positively to it.
According to Hoinsky's Kickstarter page, he was always "the nice guy, my first three girlfriends cheated and dumped me for the other guy." So he tried a new approach:
Summer 2010. I relocated across the globe for a new job. I was alone in a city of millions. I wondered to myself, "Is there a method to meeting new people? Can it be learned? Can it be taught?"
Like many of you, I sought out self-help material. I dug through mountains of books, DVDs, podcasts, blog posts and newsletters in search of the diamonds in the rough. More importantly, I forced myself to go out and test all the theories and tips. I began meticulously documenting my journey on seddit, the "seduction" forum on reddit. It is a support community for men learning to be better with women.
Now, on the surface a "seduction" forum screams sleazy pickup lines and douchebags in fuzzy hats. But I was pleased to find out that that's not the case. At its core, it's just an online support group for men looking to get better at life.
After doing a little research on Hoinsky's writing, a reader demanded that Kickstarter take down Hoinsky's page. A petition for the page's removal has received more than 61,000 signatures to date, according to its originator, DoSomething.org, which characterizes the book as "basically...a how-to guide on sexually assaulting women."
"Some of this material is abhorrent and inconsistent with our values as people and as an organization," the statement obtained by CNN read. "Based on our current guidelines, however, the material on Reddit did not warrant the irreversible action of canceling the project."
Hoinsky said that his writing is being taken out of context.
“The thing that the commenters on social media are leaving out is that the advice was taken from a section in the guide offering advice on what to do AFTER a man has met a cute girl, gotten her phone number, gone on dates, spent time getting to know her, and now are alone behind closed doors fooling around," he told the Daily News.
“If ‘Don't wait for signs, make the first move’ promotes sexual assault, then ‘Kiss the Girl’ from The Little Mermaid was a song about rape,” he argued.
Hoinsky added that he’s received "no fewer than 500 angry messages, some of which included death threats," since Wednesday, the Daily News said, adding that his name is "unfairly being dragged through the mud by an impulsive mob."
More from the Daily News:
Adding to his frustration, he said, is his inability to edit his Kickstarter page with a clear message explaining himself since the fundraising page has ended and closed after reaching its goal.
If he could, he says, he'd share that his book contains an entire chapter on sexual assault and rape that preaches to men "what not to do."
"Of course no one has seen those parts yet because the book hasn't been released yet," he said. "I realize these are delicate issues, but I ask people to lower their pitchforks until they take the time to hear the full story."