- Ken Hoinsky raised funds for what he calls a self-help book
- Others say it is a guide for would-be rapists
- An online protest petition has 30,000 signatures
- Hoinsky says his message is being distorted
One man's fund-raising efforts to publish a book on "getting awesome with women" raked in thousands of dollars, but also allegations that it is a guide to sexual assault.
Ken Hoinsky describes his book as a self-help book for men seeking advice on interacting with the opposite sex.
"It is a guide for men to get better with women," he explains in a video on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, which he used to raise funds.
Hoinsky, who lives in Connecticut, according to his online profile, raised more than $16,000 to publish his book, but the contents have also provoked ire from those who call it a how-to guide for would-be rapists.
He writes in the book: "The concept of 'waiting for signs' or 'indicators of interest' was commonplace in older pickup theory. It is 100% garbage and needs to be erased from the face of the planet."
"From now on you must assume that she is attracted to you and wants to be ravished," the book continues. "Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don't ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances."
People turned to Twitter and other social media to criticize not just Hoinsky's project, but also Kickstarter for having hosted it.
An online petition demanding that Kickstarter remove the project garnered nearly 30,000 signatures by Wednesday evening.
"'Disgusting' doesn't even begin to describe it: basically, it's a how-to guide on sexually assaulting women," the petition states.
But Kickstarter says it will not delete Hoinsky's crowd-funding project.
"Some of this material is abhorrent and inconsistent with our values as people and as an organization," Kickstarter said in a statement. "Based on our current guidelines, however, the material on Reddit did not warrant the irreversible action of canceling the project."
The website said the controversy will lead to reviews of their policies, but didn't elaborate.
Hoinsky denies that his book is a tool for would-be attackers.
He is "devastated and troubled" by the allegations, Hoinsky said in a statement.
The book excerpts that critics are sharing are taken out of context, he said. They come from a later chapter on physical escalation that follows clear advice that "no means no," he said.
"The gist of the controversial advice is, 'Don't wait for signs before you make your move. Let her be the one who rejects your advances. If she says no, stop immediately and tell her you don't want to do anything that would make her uncomfortable,'" Hoinsky said.
According to his Kickstarter page, because he raised much more than his stated fund-raising goal, Hoinsky is going to take his theories on the road. He plans to host free seminars in New York and San Francisco.