Sex tech maker Lora DiCarlo has been retrospectively re-awarded a CES robotics innovation prize revoked in January this year by the trade show.
After receiving a lot of supportive media attention around the rescinded award, Founder and CEO Lora Haddock was finally given an official apology some four months later. Haddock responded by thanking supporters:
“You have helped amplify the message of driving inclusivity and diversity within the tech and business spaces and, because of that support, we were re-awarded our CES Robotics Innovation award.”
Back in September 2018, Lora DiCarlo was momentarily awarded the Innovation Award in Robotics and Drones, for its innovative blended orgasm product Osé. Despite being awarded by a panel of independent judges, it was revoked a month later for not complying with the Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA) regulations, as it was “ineligible for the Robotics and Drone category”.
If that wasn’t enough, the company was then told it would not be allowed to showcase the “winning” product or even exhibit at CES 2019.
The controversy continued when it came to light that a host of other companies have been able to showcase “pleasure products”, VR porn booths and sex robots for many years – igniting an angry response from Lora DiCarlo accusing CES of gender bias.
Though Haddock recognizes the apology and returned award as a movement in the right direction by CES, she says “this is merely the first step” and continues to work with the CTA on promoting long-term inclusivity.
In the same brief announcement, Haddock said that the company had also secured $2 million in funding – though it isn’t clear if this is in addition to the $1.1 million already received from the Oregon Opportunity Zone Limited Partnership (OOZLP).
It’s been a slow journey, but it seems that CES is finally waking up to the legitimacy of sex tech as an industry category that’s highly-relevant to ‘the biggest consumer electronics trade show in the world’.