Grace Lynn, formerly known as Devi Ever, is a 2d pixel artist, “trans woman,” and music pedal producer whose open source guitar cartridge was funded in June 2013. She actually doubled her target, making over $40,000 with a $20,000 target. She announced on her Kickstarter page on December 4th, 2013 that her project has failed.
This in itself is not particularly newsworthy—many people who have their Kickstarters funded fail, having underestimated the amount of money or work required to make their dream a reality. However, instead of refunding her backers’ money over the past year, Ms. Lynn has decided to donate the contents of her Kickstarter account to none other than Feminist Frequency personality and anti-GamerGate pundit Anita Sarkeesian.
Ms. Lynn was also kind enough to tweet about her actions and post screenshots of her donation to Feminist Frequency.
How is this even allowed?
Long story short, it isn’t. Despite the many Kickstarters that have failed, the issue here is not actually Kickstarter’s fault. Kickstarter is VERY clear as to what you can and cannot use your Kickstarter funds for. From the Kickstarter website:
Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their project?
So it appears that Ms. Lynn’s backers have legal recourse, and I hope they will use it. More information from the Kickstarter website follows:
Projects can’t fundraise for charity, offer financial incentives, or involve prohibited items
We’re all in favor of charity and investment, but they’re not permitted on Kickstarter. Projects can’t promise to donate funds raised to a charity or cause, and they can’t offer financial incentives like equity or repayment.”
I don’t know what the recourse mechanism would be here, whether it’s arbitration with Kickstarter or a full-blown lawsuit (which Kickstarter may or may not initiate on behalf of the backers). It’s sad that her backers, some of whom may have been supporters of #GamerGate, have inadvertently funded Anita Sarkeesian.
And all they wanted was a guitar doodad
Shortly after posting proof of her donations and receiving the backlash that she rightly deserved from ripping off her backers, Grace Lynn tweeted the following:
“I literally have no money to give anyone.
I have no money to go to the doctor.
I don’t have enough money to live.
I can’t do anything.”
Subsequent tweets have been likewise disappointing. According to her Twitter, she is now contemplating suicide by losing weight and goading her Kickstarter backers to sue her for “all the money I don’t have.” As of today, she is also now begging her backers to sue her instead of resorting to “harassment,” which in this case is defined as “people asking for refunds from someone who just publicly donated money to someone.” No word yet on how she manages to reconcile having “no money” with making donations to Feminist Frequency.
How to prevent being swindled
I have been burned on Kickstarter before, and I admit that Grace Lynn’s initial plan seemed pretty solid. She has plenty of experience with guitar pedals and used to own Devi Ever FX, a business specializing in guitar accessories. Her Kickstarter shows she has been successfully funded for a similar product before. On the outset, things actually look legit. This isn’t a Kickstarter page with ripped off gameplay images and a base of operations in Siberia.
The incestuous nature of the industry wouldn’t allow Ms. Lynn’s existence without some sort of relationship to someone nefarious, however. And sure enough, there it is on her Patreon page (which, by now, none of you should be surprised she has). Grace Lynn is a Patreon supporter of Randi Harper, also known as the architect of the GamerGate blocklist which hilariously singled out a member of the IDGA and KFC (yes, Kentucky Fried Chicken) as “harassers.” Her “code” (if such a lack of knowledge could actually be construed as such) even explictly labelled Twitter users who support #GamerGate as “sheeple.” Remember that when the social justice warriors remind you that they are fighting intolerance and discrimination against groups.
If there is a next time I fund a Kickstarter, you’d better believe I will check that person’s associates first. Known social justice warrior or anti-GamerGate associations? PASS. I’ll be damned before my money ends up in Anita’s coffers, or anywhere that I didn’t intend.