Digg founder Kevin Rose issued an apology this morning for statements he made on the latest edition of his video podcast Diggnation. Just after the 4 minute mark in the show Rose and co-host Alex Albrecht were making jokes about men getting into physical fights with women and Rose made a statement that a particular act of violence was appropriate as an act of retribution in some circumstances.
An excerpted transcript and the text of Rose’s apology sent to us by email when we inquired this morning are below.
Rose said the following on Diggnation:
“there is only one time you can strike [a woman -] if she kicks you in the balls, you have the ability and the right, to punch her in the teat – it’s just like that – it’s kinda like tit for tat [Albrecht talks then Kevin again] It hurts them, it does too – or take a scissors to the teat” (Kevin makes cutting action with hand)
The part of the statement about cutting was offensive, juvenile and inappropriate, even in jest. It’s sadistic and the double standard that society applies should be clear: if a woman went on Diggnation and talked about how it’s ok to cut men’s genitals with scissors that would be a very big deal to a lot of people.
It was also ironic given that Digg and Rose in particular had banned a number of Digg users last month for making offensive, sexist comments on a Digg post about an article in FastCompany by Saabira Chaudhuri about women in technology.
Rose sent the following reply this morning in response to our inquiry about the incident.
“I’d like to apologize for some comments I made in the latest episode of Diggnation, which came off as insensitive on the topic of violence towards women. Alex and I have always viewed Diggnation as an outlet to push the limits in a comedic fashion. Obviously, violence against women is serious and something we don’t advocate in any way.”
Why It’s Not OK to Say Things Like This
We’re glad Rose has publicly apologized for the inappropriate statement and hope that he’ll act as a good role model for the many young people who watch his show. Violence against women is endemic around the world and the kind of violence that Rose joked about goes beyond self-defense and enters into the realm of all-too-real tragedy for many people. Pop-culture humor making light of such violence contributes to a cultural climate in which some people mistakenly consider this type or related behavior acceptable.
No one is perfect but when some lines are crossed it’s important to discuss why such statements are inappropriate. We hope that Rose and Digg can continue working to make Digg, and the increasingly large part of the world that it influences, a better place. Anyone who reads the comments on the site regularly knows that both Digg and the world we live in have a long way to go. Censorship isn’t necessarily the answer, but discussion, apologies when needed and not saying stupid things in the first place are probably big parts the best solution.