Yahoo is sorry it hired a bunch of Go-Go dancers for the “Hack Day” event it hosted in Taiwan last weekend, Kara Swisher reports.
The idea for the event was to attract third-party developers into building widgets for Yahoo.com and other Yahoo platforms.
Whether or not any new widgets are on the way, judging by the pictures, we’re certain lots of attraction happened.
The company only got in trouble after it posted Hack Day winners and photos from the event on its Yahoo Developer Network blog.
Commenters there laced into Yahoo, calling the company sexist. One, going by the named Sherri, put it this way:
Thanks Yahoo Taiwan for taking down the tech community several more notches. 2009 has been a banner year for sexist behaviour in the tech community and this event is a prime example.
Interesting to note that this sunny, upbeat recap does’t bother to mention the strippers and lap dances. Is it somehow supposed to make it “ok” because this Hack Day was in Taiwan and they just have “cultural differences” to the rest of us? Were there some “Hack Boys” to entertain the handful of female programmers who showed up?
Thanks for sending the signal that women are just fine at tech events so long as they are scantily clad and know how to dance… on a man’s lap.
Flickr cofounder Caterina Fake, who sold that business to Yahoo, added on Twitter:
@Yahoo, for shame : http://flic.kr/p/78btX1 I’m frankly disgusted.
Here’s Yahoo’s apology note.
I wanted to acknowledge the public reaction generated by the images of female dancers at our Taiwan Open Hack Day this past weekend. Our hack events are designed to give developers an opportunity to learn about our APIs and technologies. As many folks have rightly pointed out, the “Hack Girls” aspect of our Taiwan Hack Day is not reflective of that spirit or purpose. And it’s certainly not the message we want to send about our values here at Yahoo!. Hack Days are about making everyone feel welcome, including women coders and technologists.
This incident is regrettable and we apologise to anyone that we have offended. Rest assured, it won’t happen again.
Head of YDN
email: cyeh at yahoo-inc dot com