UPDATED: Redditor’s Kickstarter project includes tips on forcing women into physical contact, author issues apology

above the gameWhen you’re feeling extra generous and would like to be of service to strangers in need instead of blowing money on unnecessary things, Kickstarter is a great place to hunt for amazing projects you can help make a reality – you can help clean New York’s East River and create a public pool, for instance. You can help build a trance-theatre, fund a documentary on ALS, or jumpstart someone’s pickle business. And there are a bunch of projects that have already achieved more than their target fundraising goal, like a light meter for the iPhone, a really cool RPG, shoes made of paper, and the Veronica Mars movie, which I personally backed myself. There are lots of worthy initiatives to choose from, but it’s projects like Above The Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with Women and the fact that it just got fully funded that make us want to scream into a pillow and feel depressed for humanity.

Ken Hoinsky, aka TofuTofu on Reddit, thought it would be an awesome idea to create a step-by-step guide for “getting good with women”. He’s already published his sage advice on Reddit and has garnered a lot of positive response, which urged him to head to Kickstarter and turn his entries into a book. In case you were wondering why he thought he would be an expert on the topic, check out the video.

Above-The-Game-creator-Ken-Hoinsky

You may actually feel a bit sorry for him at first, recounting his nerdy childhood and attributing his inability to meet women – it’s tough out there! He even details the efforts he took to learn about how to meet women through the power of Google Search. Plenty of us have struggled with the opposite sex … but not everyone has actually gone as far as asking people to contribute hard-earned money to help propagate this type of advice, which blogger Casey Malone was able to lift before most of Hoinsky’s pages on Reddit went temporarily (and conveniently) down:

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.

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.”

The source Malone used no longer contains the excerpt above, but thanks to her campaign against Above the Game, a few concerned netizens have notified Kickstarter of this project that could potentially be a purveyor of sexual assault on women. Despite this though, the project has already achieved its fundraising goal just today – he actually received $14,000 over his initial $2000 aim, thanks to 732 backers.

Although Kickstarter’s vague Terms of Use that says it “reserves the right to reject, cancel, interrupt, remove, or suspend a campaign at any time and for any reason” can be a cause for concern for legitimate project starters, this is one of those exceptions wherein we don’t mind it. In fact, we hope all of those things happen. 

Update, June 19, 2013, 7:00 pm: According to Betabeat, Kickstarter has released the following statement:

Kickstarter reviews projects based on our guidelines and the information creators share on their project pages. It’s a process we’ve refined over four years and continue to refine daily. We strive for fair and thoughtful policies that maintain the health of the Kickstarter ecosystem.

This morning, material that a project creator posted on Reddit earlier this year was brought to our and the public’s attention just hours before the project’s deadline. Some of this material is abhorrent and inconsistent with our values as people and as an organization. Based on our current guidelines, however, the material on Reddit did not warrant the irreversible action of canceling the project.

As stewards of Kickstarter we sometimes have to make difficult decisions. We followed the discussion around the web today very closely. It led to a lot of internal discussion and will lead to a further review of our policies.

Kickstarter’s terms of use clearly states people can’t submit content that can be considered “unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, libelous, deceptive, fraudulent, tortious, obscene, offensive, profane, or invasive of another’s privacy”. The company’s decision may have something to do with the fact that the offensive content was nowhere to be found on Hoinsky’s Kickstarter page, but was rather published on Reddit, where the crowdfunding site has no jurisdiction. Regardless, a petition on DoSomething has been posted, in the hopes that Kickstarter rethinks its assessment of the matter.

Update, June 21, 2013, 10:20am: Looks like Kickstarter relented! They just released the following apology: “We were wrong.” They briefly explained why they didn’t cancel the project when a bunch of people rallied against the offensive “seduction guide”, stating that they only had two hours between being notified and the project’s deadline and they’ve never had to respond to a project deletion request that quickly before. They also clarified that had they seen the material when the project was submitted to Kickstarter (they didn’t), they wouldn’t have approved it in the first place. “Content promoting or glorifying violence against women or anyone else has always been prohibited from Kickstarter. Kickstarter is committed to a culture of respect,” the blog post reads.

There is no way to take back money once a Kickstarter project has ended, but the company did remove the offending project page (cached here for the sake of transparency) from its site. They also made a $25,000 donation to RAINN, an organization campaigning against sexual violence.

Update, June 24, 2013, 4:10pm: According to DoSomething.Org, Above the Game Kickstarter project owner Ken Hoinsky ““wholeheartedly apologizes to everyone [he] offended” and is committed to writing a book that promotes consent, respect, and healthy relationships. After Ben Kassoy of DoSomething.Org reached out to Hoinsky,  the author realized “he needed to ‘seriously evaluate every last word of my writing to make sure I wasn’t encouraging sexual assault in any way, shape, or form’.” He will be re-writing his book under the guidance  and insight of the many anti-rape and anti-abuse organizations he intends to meet with.

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