LELO’s Statement on Charlie Sheen

We are absolutely heartbroken to read about the recent allegations against Charlie Sheen.

Two years ago, shortly after Mr.Sheen’s first public admission of his HIV positive status and in the swell of public goodwill that surrounded it, we reached out in good faith, after much soul-searching, to see if he might provide the platform we needed to bring a message about the importance of condoms in the fight against STIs and unplanned pregnancies..

Mr. Sheen seemed wholly invested in bringing a positive, experience-based message about safe sex to a new audience. To that end, he leant genuine sincerity to our early crowdfunding campaign, when we were struggling against the larger condom brands to bring our new condom to the shelves and therefore bring safety and protection to a wider audience of sexually active people. He was, and is, the highest profile HIV positive person in the world.

We knew from the outset that the decision to use such a volatile partner would be divisive. We accepted that. We weighed up the perceptions of his personal history against the importance of what we were trying to do, and, eventually, we were able to reconcile with our own consciences and began to see the partnership not just as positive, but as necessary. To jumpstart people back into condom use during the highest STI rates in recorded history, we needed to generate a conversation about safe sex.

In the 18 months since the partnership ended, we’ve felt able to defend ourselves from criticism. But, at some point, further silence on the matter becomes indefensible.

The most recent allegations are crushing, and we wish it to be known that never have we implicitly or explicitly endorsed Mr. Sheen’s lifestyle or past. Our partnership lasted only the duration of the crowdfunding campaign, and we have not had contact since.

While we will always be proud of the difference we managed to make in the world, by protecting hundreds of thousands of people from sexually transmitted infections and diseases, and unwanted pregnancies, it is with a sense of real humility that we consign that relationship to our past, and look forward to a more powerfully positive, vibrant and healthy future.

Our heart goes out to victims of sexual assault and abuse everywhere, in all industries, of all backgrounds, in all places.

We will not be commenting further publicly on this matter at this time.

Thank you.

LELO

 

Written by: Donna Turner

Donna is a Volonté contributor and freelancer who lives in San Francisco with her understanding husband and not-so-understanding teenage sons. Her work has been published in The Journal of Sexology and she is currently writing a book on love languages.

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