The group behind the Consumer Electronics Show is returning an award it revoked from a women’s sex toy company earlier this year, which ignited a controversy around the industry’s inclusion of women and acceptance of sex tech. But for now, the show’s operator isn’t announcing broader changes that would actually allow sex toys to be exhibited and win awards in the future.
A CES Innovation Award was initially presented to Lora DiCarlo for its Osé Robotic Massager ahead of the conference in January, honoring the device in the show’s robotics and drones category. But the show’s operator later revoked the award, saying that sex toys weren’t allowed. Lora DiCarlo’s ability to even exhibit at the show was revoked as well.
Now, the show’s operator, the Consumer Technology Association, is returning the Innovation Award to Lora DiCarlo. The CTA says it “did not handle this award properly,” leading to some “important conversations” about the show’s policies around sex tech.
But while the CTA is returning Lora DiCarlo’s award today, it isn’t ready to discuss what kind of changes will be implemented to make the conference more inclusive in the future. For now, it isn’t even clear if Lora DiCarlo will be able to present at next year’s show. The CTA indicates that changes are coming, but it says they’ll be shared “in the months leading up to CES 2020.”
Those changes will be designed to clear up “inconsistencies” in the CTA’s policies around sex tech, says Jean Foster, the CTA’s marketing chief. In past shows, some sex tech has made it to the show floor, while other sex tech — like the Osé massager — has been banned, and it’s never been clear why. “We just identified some inconsistency is in our handling and our policies that we needed to go back in a