As the International CES — the world’s largest trade show — got underway this week in Las Vegas, news broke about an award that was given, and then taken away, by the group that puts it on.
The Consumer Technology Association, the organization that produces CES, gave an Innovation Award to the Ose — which is a sex toy — as part of an awards program presented in the months before the show. But then, two weeks later, the award was pulled, Buzzfeed reported Tuesday.
The product was also barred from exhibiting at CES, the report said. This represented a blow to the company, because its initial selection had helped to attract investors, the founder of Lora DiCarlo — Lora Haddock — told Buzzfeed.
The organization invoked its power to remove any product that was “immoral, obscene, indecent, profane, or not in keeping with CTA’s image.”
“They have an issue with the optics [of] what it means to have pleasure products on the show floor, and they also have a woman problem,” CEO Lora Haddock told the site, also noting that CES had no women as keynote speakers last year. “As a society it’s very difficult for women to talk about sexuality, sex pleasure, and sexual health. But I think that CES is a very good representation of how intense this problem is.”
The Innovation Awards “celebrates outstanding product design and engineering in brand-new consumer technology products,” according to the awards website. This year’s awards honored 30 products, in more than 20 categories. The winners include everything from a Bluetooth speaker-equipped water bottle, to a Harry Potter coding kit, to a wearable sensor to a “robo car.”
The honorees for the Innovation Awards are announced in the fall prior to the January show, and are not to be confused with the Best of CES awards — which are announced in the later part of the show. The Best of CES awards will be conducted this year by Engadget.
Those awards had a controversy of their own in 2013, when the Best of CES Award was presented by media partner CNET to the Hopper, a Dish Network product that automatically skipped TV commercials. However, the award was rescinded after CNET‘s parent company CBS — which was in litigation with Dish at that time, over that very product — leaned on CNET to drop it. CES intervened to give the award to Dish after all, and dropped CNET as a media partner, Techcrunch reported at the time.
For many years, CES was held in Las Vegas at the same time as the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo — a leading adult entertainment convention — and AVN was even part of CES until 1998. But in 2012, the two shows were moved to separate weeks, the Las Vegas Sun reported at the time.