Apple greets CES 2019 with snarky iPhone privacy billboard

Muriel Colon
January 11, 2019

Amazon bought Ring past year, giving it a shot at competing better with Google's Nest, which also makes cameras and doorbells.

Pleasure product start-up Lora DiCarlo was selected as a CES 2019 Innovation Awards honoree in the robotics and drone category for its Osé "personal massager".

Now the startup's founder Lora Haddock has hit back in an open letter published earlier this week detailing the different explanations from the organisation that have been given for revoking the award.

In 2017 and 2018, for example, they failed to feature any female keynote speakers - something that caused significant backlash and the organisers have sought to rectify this year by ensuring four of its nine such speaking spots are filled by women.

Submitted for the CES Innovation Awards, the company was ecstatic to learn that the Consumer Technology Association (or CTA, the company that runs and produces CES) had chosen their product for the CES Robotics Innovation Award, a highly coveted award among technology makers that attend CES.

It cited a clause in the award submissions guidelines that reads: "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 sex toy Lora DiCarlo submitted sounds like a ideal fit for the show.

The annual tech show has also come under fire for its use of "booth babes" - scantily-clad models who draw attention to products on the exhibition floor.

Later, CTA told The Verge the award had been revoked because the Ose did not fit into any existing product categories and should never have been included in the first place. "CES does not have a category for sex toys", the company said in an emailed statement.

However, she says bosses then claimed it did not fit the robotics category.

'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. Clearly CTA has no issue allowing explicit male sexuality and pleasure to be ostentatiously on display.

Furthermore, the presence of women at the tradeshow is relatively less, be it female-focussed products or female presenters. A scarily lifelike sex doll for guys actually launched on the floor of CES this year.

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