CES: Sex-toy firm revoked for hands-free device slam 'sexist' awards

Adjust Comment Print

"This feather in our collective cap made years of research and engineering even more worthwhile and further validated our vision for creating innovative, inclusive products that change lives", Haddock said.

Lora DiCarlo (a company owned by Lora Haddock) was awarded the CES 2019 Innovation Awards in the Robotics and Drones section for the Ose personal massager.

More than 180,000 tech industry executives, analysts and investors are set to descend on Las Vegas, Nevada, from January 8-11, for CES, the world's largest consumer technology trade show. But a month after that, DiCarlo explains in an open letter on the company's website, they were notified that the award was being rescinded and they were barred from showing at CES. CES has previously come under fire over a lack of female speakers in keynote slots, and the event has also been accused of being slow to reduce the number of so-called "booth babes" that appear on the convention show floor.

Consumer Technology Association or CTA (the organizer behind CES) cited, "Entries deemed by CTA in their sole discretion to be immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA's image will be disqualified".

The award was given to the Oregon-based startup Lora DiCarlo, a sex toy company, for its micro-robotic sex toy called Osé (pictured above). From the 1980s until 1998, CES had an entire section devoted to "adult software ... where porn stars and adult filmmakers openly displayed their products".

CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro and Executive Vice President Karen Chupka reportedly followed up with a memo stating that Lora DiCarlo's product-designed with university robotics engineering labs and a team of engineers-was "actually ineligible" for the robotics and drone category. A CTA representative told BuzzFeed News that the product "does not qualify because it does not fit in to any of our existing CES 2019 categories". "The future of healthcare might well be in the patent for a sex toy".

'CES and the CTA have a long, documented history of gender bias, sexism, misogyny, and double standards - much like the tech industry as a whole, ' Ms Haddock said. Do the organisers really perceive women-focused sex toys to be more "immoral" than men's?