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Xbox Apologizes For Go-Go Dancers Dressed Like School Girls At Game Developers Conference Party

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It’s one step forward, two steps back for inclusiveness in the games industry.

Xbox head Phil Spencer had to apologize Friday after attendees of a Microsoft-sponsored party at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco were greeted with dancers dressed as school girls.

“It was unequivocally wrong and will not be tolerated,” said Spencer in a statement. “I know we disappointed many people and I’m personally committed to holding ourselves to higher standards.”

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Several Twitter users captured video and photos of the dancers at the Xbox developer-focused party Thursday night.

Along with Spencer’s full statement below, Microsoft Marketing Director Aaron Greenberg also condemned the party on Twitter.

At Xbox-hosted events at GDC this past week, we represented Xbox and Microsoft in a way that was not consistent or aligned to our values. It was unequivocally wrong and will not be tolerated. I know we disappointed many people and I’m personally committed to holding ourselves to higher standards. We must ensure that diversity and inclusion are central to our everyday business and core values. We will do better in the future.

– Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox

Xbox hosted an Women in Games brunch the same day at GDC. Additionally members of its indie-development focused [email protected] team shared the stage with Girls Make Games Wednesday night, a non-profit that runs classes in game development for girls.


Update: Phil Spencer has released a longer response:

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.

Apologies are the easy part, though. It’s on Microsoft to stop this from happening again, and ensure their outreach to women seems genuine.    Source

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