Company forced to apologise for meter maid stunt
Nice to be able to end the week on a good note.
I was so encouraged to read in the SMH the strong comments of women who rebuked Microsoft for hiring Gold cost meter maids to provide the entertainment at a Tech conference this week.
It’s not easy to take on powerful corporations – especially if your living depends on them. But a number of women did so – and got an apology.
Microsoft says it had no idea the “meter maids” it hired to titillate attendees of its TechEd conference on the Gold Coast would be half naked after the promotional stunt backfired spectacularly.
The company has apologised after it earned a stinging rebuke from its own staff members and a number of the 2700 IT workers it was trying to court at the conference, which is designed to encourage developers to write software for Microsoft platforms.
The meter maids, iconic figures on the Gold Coast with skimpy gold bikinis that leave little to the imagination, were present at the welcoming reception earlier this week. Ironically, a key session at the conference was devoted to “women in IT”.
And Tracy Fellows, Microsoft Australia’s managing director, said on Twitter that she felt the stunt was:
This is what Microsoft did next:
In a statement, Microsoft said it would like to “sincerely apologise for any offense caused by the promotional staff”.
“We were unaware of their exact costuming until the day of the event, at which time it was too late to be addressed,” the company said.
Unaware of their exact costuming? Maybe Microsoft should have googled the words “Meter Maid”? What were they expecting, full body covering?
What can be achieved when women speak out
It’s great when women speak out. Refusing to be silent has resulted in some recent good results in the ongoing struggle against women being seen as merely sexual adornments for entertainment purposes.
Not long ago the AFL had to step in and cancel a deal between restaurant chain Hooters and an U16 football club (also on the Gold Coast). Acting following criticism, the AFL said the arrangement was not in line with its promotion of female equality.
And just a couple of weeks ago, this bus, which women have campaigned against for five years, has finally been removed (great work Julie Gale and all who forced the Advertising Standards Board to act). (Submission here).
If you want to bring about positive cultural change and do your part to pressure organisations and companies which continue this behaviour, please join Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation.