“Sex tech” company Lora DiCarlo has accused the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) of “sexism” and “double standards” after the show revoked the company’s innovation award for a robotic female sex toy.
In a blog post, Lora DiCarlo founder and CEO Lora Haddock accused CES of “gender bias, sexism, misogyny, and double standards,” after the show revoked an innovation award for the company’s advanced “Osé” female sex toy, and questioned why other sex tech companies didn’t face the same treatment.
— LoraDiCarlo Official (@LoraDiCarlo_HQ) January 8, 2019
“Everything we do at Lora DiCarlo is rooted in sex-positivity and inclusion. We don’t hide what we do, and we firmly believe that women, non-binary, gender non-conforming, and LGBTQI folks should be vocally claiming our space in pleasure and tech — both of which are still heavily dominated by male-CEOs and executives,” declared Haddock. “We also believe that society needs to drop the taboo around sex and sexuality — it’s a part of life and health that absolutely should be part of mainstream discourse… That’s why we submitted our first ever product, Osé, for the CES Innovation Awards — one of the most coveted awards in tech and the perfect example of a space that needs to be shaken up and diversified.”
“WE WON. Lora DiCarlo was selected as a CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Robotics and Drone product category for the Osé personal massager. It was vetted by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA, which owns and produces CES) and then a panel of independent expert judges in robotics scored it highly across all judging criteria; they saw the same marvel of cutting-edge technology that we did,” Haddock explained. “My team rejoiced and celebrated. A month later our excitement and preparations were cut short when we were unexpectedly informed that the administrators at CES and CTA were rescinding our award and subsequently that we would not be allowed to showcase Osé, or even exhibit at CES 2019.”
Haddock then noted that CTA has a clause which allows them to disqualify “immoral, obscene, indecent,” and “profane” entries, alleging that this was why the award was revoked.
“It’s also important to note that a literal sex doll for men launched on the floor at CES in 2018 and a VR porn company exhibits there every year, allowing men to watch pornography in public as consumers walk by. Clearly CTA has no issue allowing explicit male sexuality and pleasure to be ostentatiously on display,” Haddock proclaimed. “Other sex toys have exhibited at CES and some have even won awards, but apparently there is something different, something threatening about Osé, a product created by women to empower women.”
Haddock concluded her post by accusing CTA and CES of having a “long, documented history of gender bias, sexism, misogyny, and double standards — much like the tech industry as a whole,” and encouraged readers to share the story.
Osé, which is launching later this year, boasts “advanced micro-robotics” which “mimics all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue, and fingers, for an experience that feels just like a real partner.”
In response to the controversy, CTA claimed the product “should not have been accepted for the Innovation Awards Program,” adding it “does not fit into any of our existing product categories”.
“CTA has communicated this position to Lora DiCarlo… We have apologized to the company for our mistake,” CTA continued in its statement, which Haddock said was “even more insulting and frankly ridiculous,” due to the fact that the product counted as robotic technology.