Microsoft is currently under fire for hiring exotic dancers during a corporate-sponsored GDC party. Dressed as scantily clad schoolgirls, presence of these dancers made numerous attendees feel unwelcome.
The event was suppose to be for people from all stripes so to many, use of these exotic dancers by Microsoft was understandably offensive.
Just 24 hours before the party Microsoft hosted a “Women in Games Lunch” so this situation, to me, paints Microsoft as a little hypocritical.
At one side you show support for women, you appreciate their contributions via Women in Games Lunch, and the next day there you are with half naked exotic dancers.
Backlash was imminent!
— Kamina Vincent (@spamoir) March 18, 2016
This is how the games industry excludes women: By pretending we don't exist and having dev parties with strippers. pic.twitter.com/9GsYyEAQOo
— Jennifer Scheurle (@Gaohmee) March 18, 2016
Sort of amazing how within 24 hours Microsoft hosted a women in games lunch, and hired schoolgirl dancers for a party.
— Lewie Procter (@LewieP) March 18, 2016
What’s nice to see here is Xbox Head Phil Spencer apologizing over the whole scenario. Xbox head apologizing won’t fix what’s done at a Microsoft event but it is safe to say Xbox will think twice before using such entertainment in the future at GDC parties, or any other Xbox event.
How we show up as an organization is incredibly important to me. We want to build and reflect the culture of TEAM XBOX – internally and externally – a culture that each one of us can represent with pride. An inclusive culture has a direct impact on the products and services we deliver and the perception consumers have of the Xbox brand and our company, as a whole.
It has come to my attention that at Xbox-hosted events at GDC this past week, we represented Xbox and Microsoft in a way that was absolutely not consistent or aligned to our values. That was unequivocally wrong and will not be tolerated. This matter is being handled internally, but let me be very clear – how we represent ourselves as individuals, who we hire and partner with and how we engage with others is a direct reflection of our brand and what we stand for. When we do the opposite, and create an environment that alienates or offends any group, we justly deserve the criticism.
It’s unfortunate that such events could take place in a week where we worked so hard to engage the many different gaming communities in the exact opposite way. I am personally committed to ensuring that diversity and inclusion is central to our everyday business and our core values as a team – inside and outside the company. We need to hold ourselves to higher standards and we will do better in the future.