At the afterparty for Microsoft’s official Game Developer Conference in San Francisco Thursday night, the company hired dancers dressed in sexually provocative clothing, prompting some to accuse Microsoft of alienating women in the already male-dominated tech industry, reports Business Insider.
Attendees posted photos on Instagram displaying the dancers’ attire. You can see the images here, but if you find explicit language and images of scantily-clad women offensive, you may not want to do so.
Australian game developer Kamina Vincent, who was in attendance, slammed Microsoft in a series of furious tweets, promising to issue a formal complaint over the matter.
Even Microsoft’s head of Xbox Games Marketing Aaron Greenberg expressed his disapproval on Twitter.
The incident not only evokes the stubborn gender disparity in the tech community at large, but, more troublingly, the Gamergate controversy, and sexual harassment in the gaming community specifically.
In a statement to MONEY, Xbox head Phil Spencer was contrite over the misstep.
"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," Spencer said. "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.
Update: This story has been updated with a link to images of the Microsoft party that were posted on WCCF Tech.