sex toy maker finally gets the CES award she was denied

when the group behind the consumer electrics show[1] revoked an award from a women’s sex toy[2] company earlier this year it ignited controversy. the annual conference, which showcases the cutting-edge in consumer tech, came under fire from allegations of gender-bias and discrimination against sex tech. now four months after osé manufacturer lora dicarlo wrote a damning open letter to the CTA about the fiasco, the organization has backtracked and re-awarded the accolade.

the banned sex toy in question was a hands-free device developed by an almost entirely female team. engineers used micro-robotic technology that mimics all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue, and fingers, for an experience that feels just like a real partner.

CES banned this robotic sex toy from show after rewarding it for innovation

images courtesy of lora dicarlo

after winning the ‘honoree’ designation in the robotics and drones category of the CES innovation awards, haddock wrote[3]:my team rejoiced and celebrated,’ haddock wrote in an open letter on the company’s website. ‘a month later our excitement and preparations were cut short.’

the organization behind the annual las vegas-based trade show apparently told the company that its product didn’t comply with the rules. the show and award’s organizer, the consumer technology association, allegedly cited rules saying products that are ‘immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified.’ the show has previously spotlighted male-focused sex tech, most notoriously the AI-powered sex dolls.

sex toy maker finally gets the CES award she was denied

the administrators then backtracked and said the product simply didn’t fit in the robotics and drones category. in her open letter, haddock calls this an ‘insulting and frankly ridiculous assertion’ noting that her team of engineers designed the osé in partnership with oregon state university, whose robotics lab is ranked as one of the best in the nation.

CES has come under fire before for its failure to represent women, in particular for its condoning the use of booth babes[4]. as reported by the verge[5], female guest numbers a very few with just one-fifth of 2018’s attendees were women[6]. in the last few years keynote speakers have rarely been female, although CES did add two in 2018 after criticism.

CTA spokesperson sarah brown said in an email that the award was revoked because ‘the product does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted for the innovation awards program.’ brown cites the same problem as to why it wasn’t allowed to exhibit, telling techcrunch[7] that the company that it wasn’t allowed to exhibit ‘because they don’t fit a product category.’

now, in a press release announcing the re-allocation of the award, CTA’s senior vice president of marketing and communications jean foster commented:

CTA did not handle this award properly. this prompted some important conversations internally and with external advisors and we look forward to taking these learnings to continue to improve the show.’

kieron marchese I designboom

jan 09, 2019

References

  1. ^ consumer electrics show (www.designboom.com)
  2. ^ sex toy (www.designboom.com)
  3. ^ wrote (loradicarlo.com)
  4. ^ booth babes (www.usatoday.com)
  5. ^ the verge (www.theverge.com)
  6. ^ just one-fifth of 2018’s attendees were women (www.apnews.com)
  7. ^ telling techcrunch (techcrunch.com)

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