Microsoft gaming company Xbox has apologized for hiring scantily clad women to dance at a conference party held in San Francisco on Thursday.
A number of women who attended the Xbox party at the Game Developers Conference tweeted footage from inside the party, showing the dancers on podiums.
Australian gamer Kamina Vincent told The Mary Sue the women said they were hired "to speak with attendees and encourage them to the dance floor."
"The men I saw interact with these women seemed to be enjoying the attention, happily chatting and taking posed photos with them," she said.
"I did speak with several women after deciding to leave the party and their views were all consistent with mine."
Vincent expressed her outrage against Xbox in a series of tweets on Friday.
"For a company that’s pushing for diversity and inclusion of more women in the games industry, Microsoft did a great job of isolating and alienating females that attended the event," another developer, Farah Khalaf, told The Mary Sue.
In an email to his employees that was shared online, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, said the event was "absolutely not consistent or aligned to our values."
Here's the full email:
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.
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.
Contact David Mack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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