Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Microsoft Hired ‘Erotic Schoolgirl’-Themed Dancers for an Xbox Event

Paul Tamburro, Crave:

In a news story beamed in straight from the ’90s/early ’00s, Microsoft has reportedly decided that the best way to represent its brand at GDC is to hire dancers dressed as “erotic schoolgirls,” because apparently no one in the planning committee for this particular event had the wherewithal to prevent this clearly awful idea from being realized.

It’s supremely disappointing that anyone would even conceive of this idea. It’s a massive failure that it made it past several layers of planning, budgeting, and management steps and ended up happening. But it’s most saddening that this is unsurprising, as large swathes of the gaming community remain incapable of treating women as human beings.

Microsoft’s head of Xbox Phil Spencer sent an email to his staff today:

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.

Okay, two things. First, “unfortunate” is the correct word to use when someone shatters a china plate on the floor, or trips over a log in the woods and dings their knee up. It is not the correct word to use for this. Sexist is the right word.

Second, it is not “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”. It is hurtful that these events could take place at all.

Lewie Procter pointed out this surrealism on Twitter:

Sort of amazing how within 24 hours Microsoft hosted a women in games lunch, and hired schoolgirl dancers for a party.

It is amazing that not one person, at any stage, pointed out how terrible this is.