Microsoft issues apology for hiring scantily-clad dancers at GDC Party in San Francisco

A Game Developers Conference Party in San Francisco, Microsoft hired female dancers for entertainment. The Technology major is facing backlash for hiring dancers wearing schoolgirl outfits after many guests shared their experiences on Twitter and other social media outlets, blaming Microsoft for sexist attitude towards women in gaming industry. Many prominent guests have expressed surprise over hiring dancers for the networking event and many guests even left the event as they felt uncomfortable. Microsoft has already issued an apology for hiring dancers in schoolgirl outfits for the event. The company will investigate the issue further.

Microsoft added that it ‘deserves criticism’ for the mistake. The company has apologized for hiring scantily dressed female dancers for the networking event. Many women posted messages on Twitter and other social networks, condemning Microsoft for wrong portrayal of women at its games event.

At Game Developers Conference party in San Francisco, attendees were left embarrassed. Women rights advocates have already criticized the gaming industry for wrong portrayal of women in video games. With the latest event, Microsoft has earned a lot of criticism from women rights advocates.

Kamina Vincent was present at the event. She was among the first Twitter users to condemn Microsoft. While talking to Huffington Post, Vincent said, “I arrived at the GDC 16 Microsoft party and saw two women who stood out. They were immediately noticeable from their outfits because they seemed dressed completely differently to everyone else for the event, wearing a cleavage enhancing crop top and short miniskirt.”

Vincent added, “She introduced herself and asked if we were having fun. I asked what her role was at the party. She told me that they had been hired to speak with attendees and encourage them to the dance floor.”

Phil Spencer, head of Xbox division at Microsoft has apologized for the issue. Spencer said that the company will further investigate the matter. Some Microsoft officials were also not aware of the role of scantily clad dancers at GDC party.

Spencer added, “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. 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.”

A report published in Business Insider said, “Having scantily-clad dancers, who were also said to have been paid to socialize with attendees, undercuts Microsoft’s efforts to be more inclusive toward women in technology.”

Games Developer Brianna Wu said that Microsoft has followed similar pattern in the past as well.

The report further informed, “Microsoft sponsored a “Women in Games” lunch at the same event, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently told shareholders at its annual meeting that the company now has mandatory “unconscious bias” training and acknowledged that it was “not where we want to be” in terms of hiring diversity.”

Microsoft might have to take some action in the current issue. The company has already issued an apology. It is to be seen if something else comes up after its internal investigation.

The complete text of apology letter from Phil Spencer can be read below.

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.

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