The female-founded sex tech company, Lora DiCarlo, had their award revoked at CES this week, when officials told them their device doesn’t “fit any categories.” Originally, the award was in Robotics Innovation, granted by the Consumer Technology Associated (CTA) – the group that hosts one of the most important annual showcases for tech companies.
Lora DiCarlo is a company focused on women’s sexual health, using all the latest tech and research to create products that would revolutionize the sex toy industry for women. The winning device, named Osé, formerly known as Vela, “uses micro-robotic technology to mimic the sensation of a human mouth, tongue and fingers in order to produce a blended orgasm for women,” according to TechCrunch.com.
Sounds amazing right? Well, evidently the CTA thought so too, because they awarded Lora DiCarlo back in October. Then, this month, right before the CES was scheduled to take place, they notified the company that there was a mistake and Lora DiCarlo is not eligible to receive this award.
“Vela does not fit into any of our existing product categories and should not have been accepted for the Innovation Awards Program,” CTA Senior Manager of Event Communications Sarah Brown said in a statement to TechCrunch. “CTA has communicated this position to Lora DiCarlo . We have apologized to the company for our mistake.”
Lora DiCarlo sees this another way. How can their products not fit into a category, when plenty of other companies exhibit sex toys at CES? Last year, CES featured a female sex robot, created by RealDoll, with no issues. Another company, OhMiBod won and kept their CES award, for a sex-toy product that “strengthens the pelvic floor.
They’re back this year showcasing an app that allows couples to control each other’s vibrator devices. CES has seen porn companies, sex toy companies, and sex robots for men – but they denied an award for a female-focused sex toy.
Lora Haddock, founder and CEO, penned a public letter in defense of her company.
“There is an obvious double-standard when it comes to sexuality and sexual health,” says Haddock. “While there are sex and sexual health products at CES, it seems that CES/CTA administration applies the rules differently for companies and products based on the gender of their customers. Men’s sexuality is allowed to be explicit with a literal sex robot in the shape of an unrealistically proportioned woman and VR porn in point of pride along the aisle. Female sexuality, on the other hand, is heavily muted if not outright banned.”
“This double standard makes it clear that women’s sexuality is not worthy of innovation. By excluding female-focused Sex Tech, CES and CTA are essentially saying that women’s sexuality and sexual health is not worthy of innovation,” she adds.
Haddock says that her initial communications with CES went sour immediately. The tech group told her they are within their rights to revoke the award, as their guidelines state, “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.”
Please read Haddock’s full letter here.
If you’re looking to purchase the sex toy that apparently offends the judges at CES, the website says it’s coming out in Fall of 2019.
Yelena Mandenberg is a staff writer at Grit Daily with a passion for news of all sorts. From Brooklyn, NY, she shares an apartment with her cat and tortoise and freelances full-time. Taking on projects big and small, Yelena loves helping small businesses expand their marketing and websites.