Kickstarter and accountability

You know how Kickstarter were hosting funding for that godawful book which amounted to “how to be, at best, a vile creepy misogynist”? Social media was ablaze with ire, because, well, it was really fucking wrong.

Kickstarter has finally acknowledged this and published a fairly detailed apology aptly entitled “We were wrong“. Because they were, and they know it. And that knowledge was thanks to every single person who called them on this bullshit. Kickstarter have decided to change their policy on the basis of the negative reaction to their hosting this project, and will now no longer host those things which the vile creepy misogynists like to call “seduction guides”. Although the money has all already been transferred from some vile creepy misogynists to other vile creepy misogynists, Kickstarter have decided to donate $25000 to a rape support charity as a gesture of “holy fuck, we fucked up here.”

It’s a gratifying case study in call-out culture, with a few interesting points to note. Firstly, the project wasn’t pulled due to time restrictions. While social media permits instant accountability, unfortunately we are often up against organisations with the turning circle of the Titanic. This does not mean we should go easy on them for being glacial in their response, it just means that we shouldn’t expect instant results. Which a lot of us don’t anyway. Hell, a lot of us don’t expect any sort of fucking result. This means that damage cannot necessarily be instantly undone. Again, this is less our problem and more those who we hold accountable.

It does suck that this vile creepy misogynistic project got itself funded, due to the way that Kickstarter is structured. It sucks a lot. On the plus side, due to the vast negative publicity–a book so vile and creepy and misogynistic that it forced Kickstarter to change its policy–that it may not do as well as it should have. Certainly, I can see some vile creepy misogynists trying to buy the book to make some sort of point about WAAAH CENSORSHIP (spoiler warning: it’s not censorship. It’s good business sense), but for the most part, I can’t see distributors touching this fucking thing with a bargepole now.

Overall, I think Kickstarter have reacted well to the criticism levelled at them, although I’m sure they’ll forgive me for keeping an extra sharp eye on them to check if they really have changed. They’ve acknowledged the errors of the past, understood what it was they did that was wrong, and taken steps to ensuring it happens again.

I’ll be honest. It’s put me in such a good mood I’m even being charitable to all the vile creepy misogynist backers, and am therefore not calling them “wannabe rapists”.


6 responses to “Kickstarter and accountability

  • Heather

    Thank goodness they’ve done this. A pity (understatement!!!!) that the money’s already been given, but I, too, hope that distributors stear clear from it.

  • TheOtherAlice

    I’m guessing sales will still be strong if it’s self-published (Reddit + we were censored! = monies). My big hope is kickstarter institute a policy where they can freeze fundraising if doubts are raised, so they can investigate.

  • phljns

    WTF is up with reddit anyway? Thank fuck I can’t understand their threading system so I don’t have to read that bile.

  • Matthew Vickery

    Thanks for this, it was good to see Kickstarter acknowledge how wrong they were, and even better to see how people made a real big effort to hold Kickstarter accountable.

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