If you aren’t aware already, a project was funded on Kickstarter that is essentially a man’s guide to “seducing” a woman. This project received 800% of the funding it requested. The controversy surrounding this project, however, is that it promotes non-consensual sexual conduct. The author encourages touching and interacting with a woman sexually regardless of consent. (NOTE: After publishing this post, a commenter provided a link to the project creator’s response to these allegations.)
Now, I haven’t read the project page or the Reddit posts, so I can’t speak to the veracity of these claims, however, you can determine for yourself on the cached project page and over at Reddit. The content of that guide is not the focus of this post.
What I want to discuss is Kickstarter’s response. Frankly, it’s one that many businesses could take a lesson from.
Businesses generally take the standpoint of never admit any wrongdoing. This is a principle that was drilled into me as I acquired my MBA and rose up the ranks of corporate leadership until finally reaching Vice President status. Admitting you were wrong weakened your position and gave ground to those around you who might undermine your status and status was the only thing that mattered. I eventually grew sick of the game and retired from corporate life to become a writer. However, companies in America seem to buy into this credo like the religious on a pilgrimage despite evidence to the contrary.
Way back in 1982, some Tylenol bottles were laced with cyanide leading to the deaths of seven consumers. Based on this alone, you’d think Tylenol would have long since disappeared never to be revived. Instead of following the accepted guideline of never cop to anything, Johnson & Johnson took full responsibility despite the fact that the tampering happened in the store and not in their factory. They recalled every bottle to the tune of $100 million dollars. They issued statements. They stepped up and said this is wrong and we will fix it.
Kickstarter just proved they too know the right thing to do when something bad happens even if they aren’t at fault. Some might say that Kickstarter is culpable for not pulling the project once they found out about the objectionable material. But, the reality is that no company turns on a dime and two hours notice (the length of time between the project being flagged and the end of the funding cycle) is not ever going to see a decision of that seriousness being made. There are too many ramifications to take into account to make a snap decision that could effect their entire business model.
So, they stuck to the rules in place much like our military who acts on existing orders when no new ones exist to supercede them. I understand Kickstarter’s decision.
What I applaud them for is that in the aftermath, when they had time to conduct a debrief and analysis, they decided they were wrong and they owned it. Not only have they now changed their policies, they’ve also donated $25,000 to an organization that works against the very sort of thing that particular project creator is trying to accomplish.
Would it have been better if that project had never been funded? Certainly, but we don’t always get perfect circumstances. When that happens all you can do is the best you can.
Kickstarter more than accomplishes that. Kudos to them because they could have stood by their rules and never changed a thing. Instead, they did what was right. That’s a rarity in today’s corporate world.