by Whatsblem the Pro
And Then There’s Only LOVE (ATTOL) is a Burning Man theme camp that has been hosting the Orgy Dome, a 24-hour erotic playground, for the past decade. Last year the Dome hit maximum capacity most nights, serving an estimated 5,000 horned-up burners with clean towels, condoms, and more in a safe, comfortable, air-conditioned, fully-equipped, sex-positive space in which to roam and rut freely. It’s no wonder they made #5 on our list of Ten Ways to Get Laid at Burning Man back in April.
With the burgeoning demand in mind, ATTOL made plans to expand the size of the Orgy Dome for Burning Man 2013. They put together a budget to cover everything they would need to add an additional 20‘x20‘ structure, more air conditioning, better insulation, carpeting, couches, mattresses, curtains, and other hedonistic necessaries and accessories. . . but after digging deep down into their own pockets and pooling camp resources, they were still $2,500 short.
Camp organizers Lefty and Shade, with the help of camp founder Jennifer Steele, decided to crowdfund the Orgy Dome’s expansion. To this end, they began working on a Kickstarter campaign; they recorded original music and produced a video, designed rewards and placed orders for the production of their custom swag.
When they submitted their project to Kickstarter, though, they got a generic rejection letter in response, saying that “adult content is prohibited.”
Kickstarter came under fire recently after a campaign by Ken Hoinsky asking for a mere $2000 raked in over $16,000 toward the publication of a book called Above the Game, which offered clueless man-douches advice on how to get women to have sex with them, including a section on something called “choke-fucking.” Some of Hoinsky’s ‘A’-game tips sound like advice for aspiring sexual predators: “physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances,” is one of the many rapey strategems he advocates, along with “pull out your cock and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your dick.” Basically, stuff that’s reminiscent of those episodes of DEXTER that Julia Stiles guest-starred in.
Apparently, Kickstarter can’t tell the difference between Hoinsky’s obnoxious sophomoric literary expression of his conceptual difficulty with the idea of consent, and a Burning Man theme camp that lets consenting adults live out their 100% consensual fantasies in unobtrusively supervised safety. Kickstarter, having received the message that their clients don’t appreciate overtly predatory behavior, has interpreted that message to mean that SEX = BAD. They have changed their policies in order to preserve their market share, blatantly misapplied those policies, and in the process demonstrated that they don’t really know or care what all that rape-flap was really about.
Naturally, ATTOL appealed Kickstarter’s decision, and asked for clarification and suggestions as to how to bring their campaign’s content into line with Kickstarter’s standards. The response? Another generic rejection letter that pointed to Kickstarter’s guidelines. I took a look at those guidelines, and found two relevant entries. . . the first was something Kickstarter added on June 25th, 2013, in response to the outcry over Above the Game:
“No self-help material (books, videos, etc). This includes projects that offer (or produce materials that offer) business, emotional, financial, health, medical, sex/seduction, or other self-help advice.”
The second relevant guideline doesn’t seem terribly relevant at all, as the Orgy Dome’s campaign contained no pornography:
“No offensive material (hate speech, etc.); pornographic material; or projects endorsing or opposing a political candidate.”
Someone at Kickstarter is going quite a bit beyond the actual guidelines in their zeal to avoid another scandal like the one that erupted over Above the Game, in spite of the fact that those guidelines have been modified specifically to prevent that from happening. There is some very mild and brief nudity – bared breasts – in ATTOL’s fundraiser video, but bared breasts are not ‘pornography.’ The word refers to pictures of people having sex, not pictures of people with their clothes off. . . and inasmuch as that might seem like splitting hairs, it’s worth mentioning that other Kickstarter campaigns that feature nudity (but not pornography) and other adult content are approved regularly. The Kickstarter people themselves clearly recognize that bared breasts are not ‘pornography,’ and “no pornographic material” is as close as their guidelines get to a rule that is relevant to the Orgy Dome campaign, but nonetheless they shut ATTOL down.
Kickstarter’s explanation? A bit of boilerplate citing a rule that doesn’t actually appear in their list of rules and guidelines, and that they don’t usually enforce, to the effect that “no adult content is allowed.”
Disappointed but undeterred, our consensually sensual friends at ATTOL decided to run their own campaign and give out their swag just as planned, and Kickstarter be damned.
As ATTOL organizer Shade told me, “we were less familiar with Indiegogo, and were concerned about spending time editing and resubmitting our campaign to them only to possibly be denied again after another week of waiting, so we just did it ourselves. With what we know now, we would have just started with Indiegogo.”
Wanna fuck? You can help make sure there’s a premium, fully-equipped spot for that on the playa by visiting their homebrewed donations page and tossing ATTOL a bone. You might just get a bone tossed right back at you in the Orgy Dome. . . with your consent, naturally.