The author of a “seduction guide” that preached “physical escalation” and constant touching of women apologized for some of its content while complaining that it can be misinterpreted in a statement posted online on Monday.
“I fully admit that there are parts in the book where the words can easily be misconstrued and there are indeed parts in the book that are harmful,” “Above The Game” writer Ken Hoinsky said in a YouTube video accompanying the statement. “Seeing this and realizing that has absolutely given me the motivation and the drive to go back and completely revise all the parts that could be harmful to readers.”
Hoinsky did not specify which parts he felt were being “misconstrued” and which were sincerely dangerous, but his fundraising efforts to publish the book amassed criticism after getting brought to light on June 19, hours before the deadline to raise the money.
The book is based in part on advice Hoinsky dispensed as a part of the “seduction” sub-community on Reddit, which included advising men in one exercise to greet 10 different women at a bar with a smirk on their face, maintain eye contact, and to get close to them.
“This is going to feel really weird and might creep some girls out till you get it right, but WHO CARES,” Hoinsky wrote. You are only there to practice one thing and one thing only. Plus I bet at least a couple of them will be receptive. Get used to being in closer with the women you speak with, this is how guys get laid in bars from cold approaches. You’ll need to have some experience in this area if you plan to get good with women. Do this for 5 nights.”
Hoinsky seemed to inch closer to specifics in a statement posted on a new website related to the book, which appeared to be down as of Monday afternoon.
“Here is what I realized: In the most offensive and controversial parts, I chose my words poorly,” he wrote on the site while it was still up. “Very, very poorly. I meant one thing and people were reading another. THIS IS A MAJOR PROBLEM. I needed to seriously evaluate every last word of my writing to make sure I wasn’t encouraging sexual assault in any way, shape, or form. I want to wholeheartedly apologize to everyone I offended.”
In the section marked “Physical Escalation and Sex,” readers are advised to, “decide that you’re going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.” Later in the same section, Hoinsky tells readers to memorize the line, “No problem. I don’t want you to do anything you aren’t comfortable with” if the woman resists their advances, but to “take a break and try again later.”
“All that matters is that you continue to try to escalate physically until she makes it genuinely clear that it’s not happening,” Hoinsky wrote. “She wants to be desired, but the circumstances need to be right.”
Despite a petition by the activist group Do Something amassing more than 63,000 signatures, Kickstarter did not revoke funding for the project, which received more than $16,000 in donations.
The online fundraising platform issued an apology on June 21 suggesting Hoinsky did not include the material from Reddit when presenting the project to Kickstarter, and promising to donate $25,000 to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), which provides support to sexual assault survivors.
Hoinsky said in his video that he would be working with Do Something and “some of the leading anti-rape and anti-abuse organizations in the United States” to work on the book.
“My mission with this book was to change the lives of men everywhere and make the world a better place,” Hoinsky said. “Most men, I find, are not satisfied with their lovelives and are frustrated in some capacity.”
Do Something did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.
Update, 2:29 p.m. EST: In an interview with The Awl published on Monday, Hoinsky said he regretted using the phrase, “Force her to rebuff your advances,” explaining that “the spirit of it is all about giving her the power to decide. It’s not forcing her to do something against her will; it’s encouraging her to make the decision on whether or not she wants to continue things.”
The interviewer, Maria Bustillo, also defended Hoinsky’s suggestion to his readers that they “pull our [their] cock and put her hand on it” during sex, writing, “Where, exactly, is the aggression here? I can think of a thousand ways whereby a woman could easily (easily) extricate herself from such a scenario if she were an unwilling participant.”
Update, 8:40 p.m. EST: Do Something emailed The Raw Story Monday evening to clarify that they are not partnering with Hoinsky. Instead, it said in the email that Ben Ayotte, a member of the organization, “reached out to Ben to offer him advice on how to not pen a misogynistic or offensive book that promotes sexual assault.”
The headline to this story has been updated to reflect Do Something’s statement.
Watch Hoinsky’s statement, posted on Monday, below.