Microsoft Calls Party With Scantily Clad "Schoolgirl" Dancers "Unequivocally Wrong"
"I know we disappointed many people, and I'm personally committed to holding ourselves to higher standards," Xbox head Phil Spencer said in a statement to THR.
Microsoft is apologizing after photos of an Xbox-hosted Game Developer Conference afterparty circulated on social media showing scantily clad women dressed as schoolgirls dancing on platforms.
The display, which a number of attendees found sexist, generated outrage online.
"Making a formal complaint tomorrow. I will not stand for this," tweeted attendee Kamina Vincent. "I'm trying to encourage women into the industry then this happens."
"At Xbox-hosted events at GDC this past week, we represented Xbox and Microsoft in a way that was not consistent or aligned to our values," head of Xbox Phil Spencer said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "It was unequivocally wrong and will not be tolerated. I know we disappointed many people and I’m personally committed to holding ourselves to higher standards. We must ensure that diversity and inclusion are central to our everyday business and core values. We will do better in the future."
An Xbox rep declined to provide further details on the event, refusing to comment on whether the company or the venue hired the dancers.
Vincent tweeted, "This is the first f—ing time I've felt this unwelcome at a games event. I know it happens and it shits me." Developer Brianna Wu said this is not the first time she's seen scantily clad women at a Microsoft event.
1. This is not Microsoft's first time to hire scantily-clad women at their professional networking events. Saw this during Gamesbeat too.— Brianna Wu SXSW (@Spacekatgal) March 18, 2016
Earlier in the day, Microsoft hosted a Women in Gaming lunch.
Here's what people in the tech industry had to say about the party:
You can hold all the Women In Gaming lunches you want, @Xbox; as long as you're hiring booth babes for your parties, we smell hypocrisy.— Jessica Price (@Delafina777) March 18, 2016
Speaking to a coworker; women get brunches and men get nightclub booth-babe podium party. Notice the implied sexist narrative? How proper.— Emre Deniz #GDC16 (@Emre_C_Deniz) March 18, 2016
Our industry treats women terribly. And when @Microsoft has a frathouse atmosphere - it's just reinforcing some very damaging standards.— Brianna Wu SXSW (@Spacekatgal) March 18, 2016
They were dancing on podiums.— Kamina Vincent (@spamoir) March 18, 2016
(Deleted originals to blur faces of the dancers) pic.twitter.com/pG1BxmtbnO
See more pics from the party below.