Lora DiCarlo, a startup that raised over $1 million in funding last year and developed eight technology and robotics patents in partnership with the Oregon State University Product Development Lab — was originally named a 2019 CES Innovation Awards Honoree in the Robotics and Drone product category for its Osé personal massager for women, Vice’s Motherboard reported.
The startup had even received a congratulatory email from CES naming it an honoree, however by October 31 the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) — the organization that produces CES — emailed Lora DiCarlo’s team to inform them that the association was revoking the award, citing the entry terms.
“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. CTA reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any entry at any time which, in CTA’s opinion, endangers the safety or well being of any person, or fails to comply with these Official Rules,” the email read.
Lora Haddock, the company’s founder, said in a statement that the decision reflected an “obvious double-standard when it comes to sexuality and sexual health,” noting that sex tech has been at CES for years.
“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 outrighted banned,” Haddock said.
This year the show features an (unofficial) shuttle from Vegas to Sheri’s Ranch, a brothel in nearby Pahrump, to experience the “Sex Tape Room,” — a studio that uses a voice-operated Amazon Echo to capture clients’ encounters. OhMiBod company will also reveal its remote Apple Watch app, which controls a vibrating “personal massager” — a sex toy. In 2016, OhMiBod was the only sex tech company presenting at the show.
CES, which turns 50 this year, has earlier been accused of having a lack of female executives and has been criticized for not featuring women and other underrepresented minority groups on the big stage.