Microsoft blasted for sexist Norway show
The Local | 13 Jun 2012, 17:01
After video footage of the Oslo after-party show went viral, the software giant's head of corporate communications, Frank Shaw, apologized on Twitter for the sexist gaffe at the Microsoft Developers Conference.
“This routine had vulgar language, was inappropriate and was just not ok. We apologize to our customers and partners,” he wrote.
In a lengthy blog post, Aral Balkan, the conference’s keynote speaker, called on the company to review its policies and take steps to ensure it avoids a repeat incident.
Balkan explained how he had heard snippets of the song the night before and urged organizers to at least make women feel included in the lyrics displayed on screens to those attending the event.
Being tired, however, he hadn’t heard in full the line that caused most offence. It was this, he said, that explained the appearance on the screens the next day of the confusing line:
"The words 'micro' and 'soft' don't apply to my penis (or vagina)."
Appalled by what he had witnessed, Balkan wrote a direct appeal to Microsoft:
“How you can really turn this unfortunate situation around and do some good is to take action that matters: review your policies, find out where the communication failures were, fix those. And don’t fire the people responsible: instead, send them on a course to teach them feminist theory. We all make mistakes. Teach them the right way of doing things and let them make up for it with their actions in the future.”