Microsoft’s Xbox boss has apologised following accusations of sexism after the tech company hosted a party featuring scantily clad women dancing on podiums.
Photos from the San Francisco-based event GDC - the Games Developer’s Conference, an annual gathering of video game developers - showed images of the exclusively female dancers wearing revealing outfits comprising shorts skirts and crop tops.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer later sent a email to all employees, which was also posted online stating that the presence of the dancers was “unequivocally wrong”.
Kamina Vincent, an editor at the Tin Man games studio in Melbourne, Australia, called out Microsoft for its sexism and tweeted images of the dancers along with a series of tweets explaining her annoyance.
Vincent said that this was the first time she had ever been made to feel unwelcome at a games event.
The number of women working in the games industry is comparatively low, which can sometimes lead to a ‘boy’s club’ mentality.
While many large brands such as Microsoft have taken steps to promote a more inclusive environment for women, they are still falling woefully short.
“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,” said Phil Spencer.
Ironically, the controversial party was even held on the same day that Microsoft hosted a ‘women in games’ lunch.
Spencer added: “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”.
Image: Kamina Vincent/Twitter