The dancers were hired for a Game Developers Conference after-party in San Francisco.
Microsoft has apologized after hiring scantily clad “schoolgirl” dancers to perform at a Game Developers Conference after-party in San Francisco — an event that included female attendees, who were especially outraged.
Social media was flooded with attendees slamming the seemingly tone-deaf decision by the software giant, with many arguing that it was a demonstration of the tech world’s lack of respect for women, according to an NBC New York report.
Kamina Vincent, who attended the after-party, tweeted: “I like dancing, I like talking to devs. But not at this #GDC16 party. Thanks for pushing me out of this party, Microsoft.”
The party was hosted by Microsoft’s Xbox division, and was invitation only. Videos and pictures of scantily clad women quickly spread on Twitter and Facebook, prompting furious commentary.
For an industry that has been hammered for its lack of inclusion of women and minorities, the decision by Microsoft touches on a sore spot in the tech world. Companies like Microsoft have been talking a lot lately about working harder to be more inclusive, and this is likely to set back those efforts in many people’s minds.
In an apology that is circulating online, Microsoft Xbox chief Phil Spencer said it was the wrong decision.
“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,” Spencer said. “That was unequivocally wrong and will not be tolerated.”
Ironically, Microsoft had hosted a “Women in Gaming” luncheon earlier that same day. Spencer said he would deal with the issue internally.