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CES gave the award back and promised to make sweeping changes
Sextech startup Lora DiCarlo today announced it was accepting preorders for its innovative “Osé” product, a “blended orgasms” device that made headlines earlier this year after a controversial appearance at the Computer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
The device won an innovation award in the robotics category at CES this year, but the organization responsible for the event, the Computer Technology Association (CTA), swiftly rescinded the award and banned Lora DiCarlo from exhibiting its products at the event.
TNW reached out to the CTA back in early January when the incident occurred, and a spokesperson told us:
The product does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted for the Innovation Awards Program. CTA has communicated this position to Lora DiCarlo. We have apologized to the company for our mistake.
Lora DiCarlo CEO Lora Haddock called BS, citing examples of a double standard including the fact that the CTA allowed pornography companies to exhibit VR titles on the floor and prior sexuality-themed exhibits from male-led companies. Haddock described her response in a company blog post:
The truth runs deeper than a simple processing error, and we recognized it for the larger dysfunction and bias that this instance demonstrated. We called them out on their long history of sexism.
To its credit, the CTA eventually relented and returned the company’s award. Haddock’s post goes on to say:
After working with the CTA and CES to change their policies, they’ve expanded the Health and Wellness exhibitor category to include sextech. Additionally, pornography, VR or otherwise, will no longer be allowed at the show. This will create an environment that is safer and more inclusive for all attendees.
While Lora DiCarlo’s story may be one with a happy ending – the company’s thrived in the spotlight it was given and, as of today, it’s open for business – its success might not be indicative of the greater struggle for women-led, sex-positive technology companies. You can’t buy the kind of publicity that comes from winning a battle against discrimination, but that’s only because such victories are far too rare.
Preorders are now open for the $290 sex toy that made CES change its exhibition policies, with delivery expected in January. You can find out more about the Osé here on Lora DiCarlo’s website.
Published November 27, 2019 — 00:43 UTC
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