If you haven’t noticed recently, there was a pretty loathsome kickstarter project funded recently. TLDR, rapey (or at least advocating of rape. I have no personal evidence that he has ever committed rape, but it would be unsurprising given what he preaches) pick-up artist uses kickstarter to fund rape advocating pick up artistry handbook. Kickstarter have this pointed out to them and basically say “Sorry, nothing we can do about it”.
Confession: I was probably just going to roll my eyes at this and move on.
Then I read Jeff Kunzler’s take on this. In particular, I quote:
This is a large part of why you see women saying men cannot be feminists. Because they will say they support women, call themselves feminists, tweet about how much they hate misogynists, and when it comes to nerd bullshit, hypercapitalism, and being a proud consumer instead of a stand-up person, they will sell women out and continue to support a company that has profited from enabling rapists. Kickstarter made money off of Ken Hoinsky and the pathetic misogynists that donated to his projects. There is no cause, no purpose, no object worth supporting more than standing up to the thousands of years of misogyny and violence against women in our history. Worse more so that people like Ken and Kickstarter found a way to fucking profit off of telling men to force women to touch their genitals without their consent.
You know what? Fair point. Mea culpa. I (not personally, but as part of a group) have been correctly called on unacceptable behaviour. I will now stop engaging in said behaviour.
I’ve never been the most active user of Kickstarter, but I have funded a few things on it. As of now, I am no longer a Kickstarter user at all. I’ve deleted my account. There are other crowd funding sites, and I don’t need to be using one which supports this kind of filth (I would probably do this even if there were not other crowdfunding sites, but I admit it would be a harder choice).
The thing about boycotts, is they only work if after the company has changed their ways you go back to them. Otherwise what will happen is that they will simply consider you not part of their target demographic and go after the large body of people who just don’t give enough of a shit. By returning to them after they have fixed their behaviour you are providing a positive incentive for change.
So I’m precommitting to creating a new Kickstarter account and using it to fund something as long as the following two conditions are met:
- A complete apology is issued for this. No “I’m sorry people were offended” bullshit non-apologies need enter. The apology must contain words to the effect of “We’re really sorry. We fucked up. This should not have happened, and it’s totally our fault that it did”
- They issue a unilateral promise to not permit similar activity in future when it is brought to their attention
(I think the ship has now sailed on blocking the money going to the rape manual, otherwise I would include that too. As such I’m willing to label it merely a very unpleasantly learned lesson and hope they actually learned it)
If they do issue that promise and go back on it, I will consider them to be irreparably corrupt, delete my account again and never go back.
I think the course of action I am taking is an extremely reasonable one, and I would encourage you to take it too. Kickstarter is an organisation that is very directly about voting with your wallet. Lets use ours to tell them that their behaviour is unacceptable and they need to do better.