Proof Of Love is "the world's first dating show where the community decides what happens" — but one participant fears a decision to invite a homeless man on the show is exploitative.
A Web3 dating show has been criticized after it emerged that a homeless man is being nominated to take part.
Proof Of Love is described as “the world’s first dating show where the community decides what happens and who happens.”
Mad Realities, the crypto-powered project producing the show, has sold an NFT known as a Throw Ass Pass — and the auction winner has “the power to put anyone they want” on one episode.
A project called Portals DAO claims it paid 130 ETH ($364,800) for a Throw Ass Pass — and “democratically decided to nominate a New York City houseless person to go on Mad Realities this week to raise awareness and further social good.”
In a Twitter thread accompanied by pictures of vulnerable people on the street, Peter Master — an investor in Portals DAO — said “houseless people come under a lot of undue sneering and ridicule,” adding:
"Portals DAO wanted to prove once and for all that house-free people are just as sexually attractive if not more so than housed people."
Master added that many houseless people are “down to earth and fun to talk to,” writing:
"People who would do very well based on their lengthy experience with meeting new people and making witty quips to strangers."
He revealed that Portals DAO “considered over 30 houseless people” in New York City and eventually narrowed the field down to one candidate — adding they are undergoing tests to see if they are “harbouring any contagious diseases.”
Twitter Thread Criticized
Master’s Twitter thread has been criticized for being in poor taste. Uchenna, a tech consultant, wrote:
"Houseless people in NYC don't want this... They just want a place to live, a job maybe, and the NYPD to stop harassing them for existing."
His posts were also criticized by Ali, a woman who is preparing to go on the Web3 dating show. She wrote:
"This literally isn't funny — using a houseless person as a prop on a show like this is not okay. Even if this thread is a joke — this is disgusting. I will not be participating if this joke continues. Homelessness is not a joke."
When approached and asked if his Twitter thread was genuine, Master told CoinMarketCap that a homeless person is going on Proof of Love, and rejected claims that this is exploitative.
"All the houseless people we've talked to have been excited, positive, and hopeful for this. It's a dating show. Everyone is a prop, and every contestant seems happy about that. People yearn and compete to go on, and we're putting someone who in any other circumstance would be overlooked, in order to do something good as well as raise awareness that the houseless are not a group of people to otherize."
Master also confirmed that the houseless contestant going on the show is called Rick — and said he shouldn’t be defined by his circumstances.
"Rick is no more a show prop for houselessness than a first gen-immigrant would be a prop for immigration (if we had chosen a first-gen immigrant from a pool of first-gen immigrants), or a veteran from a pool of veterans."
When asked about his tweet that states Rick is being screened for “contagious diseases,” and whether this wording is offensive, Master said Portals DAO’s main concern was making sure he didn’t have COVID.
"Safety is our top priority. People harbour biases and associate houseless people with disease. We wanted to address that. The reality of houselessness in NYC isn't pretty. The conditions are rough and the streets carry a lot of diseases."
Master went on to reject claims that the Twitter thread was in bad taste — and said Rick, the houseless contestant, “saw and laughed” at the posts before they were published, and contributed with some edits.
"The post and tone are light-hearted and somewhat ironic, and it's the opposite of bad taste. It's not everyone's sense of humour, but it's nothing to get outraged about. People like to use less well off people to appear more virtuous, appearing angry on the less well off's behalf for no good reason and while doing nothing to help them."
And he claimed that the reality is that the houseless contestant is “actively participating, happy to get some attention, and will benefit from this.”
Master went on to accuse Ali — the contestant who has threatened to pull out of the show because of his Twitter thread — of “harbouring a lot of negative stereotypes and bias against homeless people,” telling CoinMarketCap:
"[Ali] is inventing outrage about it to appear more virtuous and to get out of interacting with a homeless person that she believes is less than her. Her identity is based around being a 'terminally online' very pro-social-justice person, however, the reality will be getting exposed on Sunday — that she's just another person claiming virtue who's actually far more biased, discriminatory, and unkind than the people she gets outraged at."
Ali has been approached for a response by CoinMarketCap — and has not confirmed whether she plans to pull out of the dating show.
Mad Realities did not respond to CoinMarketCap’s questions.
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