Organisers accused of sexism after citing rules against ‘immoral’ and ‘obscene’ products

Oregon start-up firm LoraDiCarlo had received an innovation award from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) for their sex toy, Osé.

Developed by a mostly female team of engineers, the “personal massager” employs “new micro-robotic technology that mimics all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue, and fingers, for an experience that feels just like a real partner”, according to the firm’s CEO, Lora Haddock.

The team had planned to exhibit the product this week at the association’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of the year’s biggest tech events.

However, CES attendees curious to learn more about the Osé will have to turn to the internet, after convention organisers uninvited LoraDiCarlo from the exhibition and revoked their prize.

In a letter to the company, the association apologised for the “mistake”, citing rules against exhibiting products deemed “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with the CTA’s image”.

In an open letter, Haddock railed against what she claimed to be double standards in the selection process, accusing the CTA of hypocrisy for rejecting a female-orientated sex gadget while accepting products geared towards male sexuality.

“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,” she wrote.

Vice’s tech website Motherboard notes that “last year, [CES] visitors could make their way to a separate room to demo virtual and augmented reality porn, and pole-dancing robots were an attraction at a nearby strip club”.

Meanwhile, Haddock wrote, female sexuality “is heavily muted if not outright banned”.

“You cannot pretend to be unbiased if you allow a sex robot for men but not a vagina-focused robotic massager for (women),” she added.

CTA spokeswoman Sarah Brown told tech news site TechCrunch that Osé “does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted for the Innovation Awards Program”.

She added: “We have apologised to the company for our mistake.”

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