In October 2018, we won a Robotics Innovation Award from Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is run by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Then a month later they took it back. The CTA contacted us and said they were disqualifying our product and rescinding the award. They claimed they had made a mistake and that, due to the nature of our product (their exact words were “profane,” “immoral,” and “obscene”), Osé should never have made it through judging. Needless to say, we fought back. The truth runs deeper than a simple processing error, and we recognized it for the larger dysfunction and bias that this instance demonstrated. We called them out on their long history of sexism.
In May 2019, realizing their error, they reached out to us. We told them that not only did we expect the reinstatement of our rightful award, we also expected to see progressive policy change that would prevent this kind of “mistake” from happening again. CES has owned up to their mistake and returned our award. After working with the CTA and CES to change their policies, they’ve expanded the Health and Wellness exhibitor category to include sextech. Additionally, pornography, VR or otherwise, will no longer be allowed at the show. This will create an environment that is safer and more inclusive for all attendees.
Our message struck a chord with a whole lot of people. The story was picked up by every major news outlet across the globe. We received tens of thousands of emails and messages from people who were outraged and wanted to help. We’re very grateful for all of your support as we continue the fight to end gender bias and promote inclusivity. We still have a long way to go, but with your support we’ve helped make CES a more inclusive show. If you would like to learn more about the details of the story, you can do so by reading our open letter to CES.