An academic gathering on sex with robots, officially called the International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots (LSR), has been cancelled due to backlash against a potential speech by Steve Bannon, Donald Trump‘s former chief strategist, a statement on the conference’s website said. He had been scheduled to take the floor as a keynote speaker at a parallel event, the International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment (ACE) this month in Montana, but it was also called off.
“Since the arrangements being made for both conferences were inextricably intertwined, we have had no alternative but to postpone the congress on Love and Sex with Robots”, organiser David Levy wrote, adding that the sex robot conference was tentatively slated for January 2020, and is to be held in Las Vegas at the same time as a pornography convention.
ACE’s organizers blasted the approach to the presence of Steve Bannon, a former editor of the right-wing Breitbart News website, as an “anti-free speech ‘fascist style mob’” and noted that the public uproar was “very similar” to campaigns of book-burning in Nazi Germany.
The cancellation, which was decided upon in mid-November, was referred to as a “tragic moment in the history of human civilization”.
Meanwhile, ACE’s board has been plagued with troubles throughout 2018, with three prominent members of its steering committee stepping down over changes to the conference’s build-up, including the move to “co-locate” it with the lighter, sex robot gathering.
The news has been widely chuckled upon online:
So even the robots rejected him?— Merry🎄Muellerday🎅Vulcan🖖Writer✒Mom💁 (@EvaChanda) 4 декабря 2018 г.
I want to unsee that— Rebecca fahrenz (@RFahrenz) 4 декабря 2018 г.
Not a single word of that made any sense to me.— Very Legal & Very Cool (@DanielMadison78) 4 декабря 2018 г.
I’m going to have to take another shower now.— Maritxu (@dislexicon) 4 декабря 2018 г.
One user even assumed that now Bannon would have to “give his robot back”:
Does that mean he has to give his robot back?— mick gormaley (@MGormaley) 4 декабря 2018 г.
Another one, on hearing the news, suggested Bannon might thus spearhead a revolution in kind:
He's what will cause the sex-bot revolution— Josh (@Notre_Josh) 4 декабря 2018 г.
Hilarious memes also started flooding the comment section on Twitter:
One felt, tongue-in-cheek, sorry for the news, saying the sex doll industry is Bannon’s cup of tea:
Too bad. That one was clearly in his lane.— David Wiebe (@dwiebe99) 4 декабря 2018 г.
Sex robots is probably the only way Bannon gets any action. Wonder if the robots can refuse service?
— Tom Rowe (@TomRoweDotArt) 4 декабря 2018 г.
I'm reporting this to Twitter. It has to be against the rules to use the words "Steve Bannon" and "sex robots" together.— ASKEsq (@ASK_Esq29) 4 декабря 2018 г.
That is literally the only subject he should be invited to speak about anywhere— acos (@acostrian) 4 декабря 2018 г.
So glad Steve Brannon has finally found his niche.— Madame Crab (@madamecrab) 4 декабря 2018 г.
Earlier, Bannon’s planned attendance at other festivals also fuelled backlash. For instance, The New Yorker magazine had to retract its invitation to the former Trump adviser after a number of complaints from other headline guests at its 2018 gathering, while back in October Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon scrapped her plans to attend a BBC conference upon learning that Bannon would be there. The organizers justified Bannon’s participation in the event at the time as his being a “key influencer” in the current mass media.
Steve Bannon assisted in running Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and as the chief strategist at the White House until August 2017, when he was fired by the US president.