Dezeen Magazine

Lora DiCarlo sexism

CES restores Lora DiCarlo's sex toy award after sexism outcry

The Consumer Electronics Show has returned the Innovations award it rescinded from female-led sex toy company Lora DiCarlo earlier this year, following accusations of gender bias in the tech industry.

In a statement confirming that it had returned the award to Lora DiCarlo, the show's organisers – the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) – admitted that they "did not handle this award properly".

They went on to apologise to LoraDiCarlo and said that the mistake prompted some "important conversations" about the show's policies.

"CTA recognises the innovative technology that went into the development of Osé [female massager] and reiterates its sincere apology to the Lora DiCarlo team," the statement read.

The company's Osé massager was granted a CES 2019 Innovation Award in robotics prior to the CES show by a panel of independent expert judges for its cutting-edge technology.

The CTA revoked the award a month later, citing the product as "immoral".

The decision quickly sparked gender bias claims, particularly as previous years had seen exhibits of female sex dolls and displays from a VR porn company allowing men to watch pornography in public as consumers walk by.

Tech journalist Holly Brockwell led the outcry, stating that "there is nothing immoral, obscene, indecent or profane about women's sexual enjoyment", before posing the question: "Is the CTA's image one in which women don't get to orgasm?"

But while the CTA is working towards making the show more "welcoming and inclusive", it is unclear for now what changes will be implemented, as the policy updates won't be disclosed until the months leading up to CES 2020, which will be taking place from 7 to 10 January 2020 in Las Vegas.

This is not the first time CES has been accused of sexism. In 2018 CES admitted that the technology sector "can and must do better" to encourage diversity after it was criticised for its all-male keynote speaker line-up for the second year in a row.

In the interim between the furore in January and the re-awarding of the prize, the sex-tech start-up has secured $2 million in funding from investors, which it plans to use to manufacture and market its forthcoming Osé product.