Sex toy start-up Lora DiCarlo wins CES award – then doesn’t…

Posted: January 10, 2019

A sex toy start-up is enjoying worldwide publicity for its launch product, thanks to the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES, staged in Las Vegas from 8th – 11th January). Lora DiCarlo’s Osé personal massager was initially included in the CES 2019 Innovation Awards in the robotics and drone product category, but according to CEO Lora Haddock, organisers CTA (Computer Technology Association) later rescinded the award and stated that the company would not be allowed to showcase the product at CES 2019.

In a lengthy account of the case on the Lora DiCarlo website, Haddock said the organisers initially pointed to its selection criteria, which stated that products deemed to be “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane or not in keeping with CTA’s image will be disqualified” for its awards.

“Putting aside for a moment the implication that women’s sexual wellness products are somehow immoral or obscene — if we didn’t fit their policy, how in the world did our application even get past the first round of vetting by CTA staff, let alone receive high marks across the board from their expert judges?” wrote Haddock, adding that a sex doll for men was launched at CES in 2018 and a VR porn company exhibits every year.

OhMiBod is also a regular exhibitor, and has won awards in the past, but Haddock believes that there may be “something different, something threatening about Osé, a product created by women to empower women” as CTA officials subsequently wrote to her saying that it was actually ineligible for the robotics and drone category.

Haddock said this was an “even more insulting and frankly ridiculous assertion”, as the hands-free device was designed in partnership with a top university robotics engineering laboratory (Oregon State University) and Osé is the subject of eight pending patents for robotics, biomimicry, and engineering.

The story has since been picked up by a number of mainstream media outlets, including the Guardian in the UK, and Lora DiCarlo’s social media channels have also been extremely active with discussions about the issue.