Kickstarter has had its share of controversies since launching in 2009, but rarely has the crowdfunding site been forced to issue an apology for a successfully funded project. This changed recently as the campaign for a dating advice book that many are calling a manual for rapists came to a close with $16,369 in funding.
After the book titled “Above The Game” reached its final day of funding, Kickstarter issued a blog post that said, “We were wrong.” Kickstarter goes on to explain:
“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 book’s controversial material comes from Reddit contributor Ken Hoinsky who often posts dating advice in the Reddit “seduction” forum. Among Hoinsky’s posts, which will be republished in the book, the Redditor gives advice such as:
“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.”
Kickstarter explains in their apology post that due to the campaign ending successfully, they cannot take the crowdfunded money back. “First, there is no taking back money from the project or canceling funding after the fact,” writes Kickstarter. “When the project was funded the backers’ money went directly from them to the creator. We missed the window.”
While Kickstarter cannot stop the book’s publication at this point, the site has decided to donate $25,000 to anti-sexual violence organization RAINN and ban “seduction guides” or similar material from the site.
“Above The Game” raised over $14,000 more than its original goal of $2,000. In the name of transparency, Kickstarter has provided a cached version of the campaign since the original was taken down.
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