Microsoft apologized after they hosted a party featuring dancers dressed as school girls following the Game Developers Conference this week. The party was hosted on Thursday not long after Microsoft's 15th annual "Women in Gaming" luncheon.
Kamina Vincent, an editor for Australian game developer Tin Man Games, tweeted pictures of the dancers. She expressed disapproval of Microsoft's choice of entertainment for the party, tweeting, "This [expletive] [expletive] party just cements my place as a Playstation consumer. [Expletive] you, Xbox." She also wrote, "I like dancing. I like talking to devs. But not at this GDC16 party. Thanks for pushing me out of this party, Microsoft."
Vincent later filed a complaint with Microsoft, writing, "Making a formal complaint tomorrow. I will not stand for this. I'm trying to encourage women into the industry then this happens."
After some of the higher-ups at Microsoft learned of the incident, they issued apologies for the dancers at the event. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer described the event as "unfortunate" and published an email he sent to staff on the Xbox news homepage. It can be seen 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.
"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." — Phil Spencer
Head of Xbox Games Marketing Aaron Greenberg tweeted, "Very disappointed to see this, going to follow up with team."
Still, while some were angered by the presence of the dancers at the party, others were irate at the outrage itself that came as a result of the dancers. Both men and women took to social media to defend the dancers, saying that they're professionals who chose to work at the party of their own free will, and assuming that their career is somehow invalid defies the goal of trying to defend them from being objectified.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft bringing dancers to the party?