Sexist Presentations Disrupt The TechCrunch Disrupt Conference

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September 10, 2013 ‐ By Ann Brown

TechCrunch Disrupt is an annual tech conference that aims to introduce the latest startups, provide a platform for tech leaders in the making, and provide an opportunity to mingle with others in the tech space. Unfortuntely, two sexist presentations have caused widespread outrage for their outright tasteless content.

Australian techies Jethro Batts and David Boulton started with their new joke app called T*tstare, an app that takes a photo of the user while they’re staring at a woman’s breasts.

“Did you know that looking at breasts is directly linked to a good, healthy heart?” Boulton said to Batts. “So, what’s the problem, Dave?” Batts responded. “Well, women just aren’t that warm to it,” said Boulton. The pair went on to say that male life expectancy has decreased in the past few years because women have been covering up their cleavage. The presentation was supposed be a joke, but it left many offended.

And it didn’t stop there. There was also a presentation for something called the “Circle Shake” app. While the app’s concept isn’t offensive — it is a game that tests how fast you can shake your phone in a given amount of time — the presentation was. The clip above, via The Huffington Post, is what those in attendance saw.

“Many were particularly upset because 9-year-old Alexandra Jordan was in attendance, since she was presenting an app she created,” reports HuffPo.

TechCrunch apologized for both presentations, first via a tweet, and then in a blog post titled “An Apology from TechCrunch.”

“Normally our hackathons are a showcase for developers of all stripes to create and share something cool,” TechCrunch co-editors Alexia Tsotsis and Eric Eldon wrote on Sunday. “But earlier today, the spirit of our event was marred by two misogynistic presentations.”

Tsotsis and Eldon promised that every presentation will be getting a thorough screening going forward. “You expect more from us, and we expect more from ourselves. We are sorry,” they wrote.

This is not the first time sexism has been an issue for the tech industry. In March, developer evangelist Adria Richards, attending the Pycon programming convention tweeted a photo of men who were sitting near her, calling them out for what she felt were sexist comments. “One of those men ended up getting fired from his job. Richards was threatened repeatedly by people online, and was eventually fired from her job at SendGrid as well,” reports HuffPo.

She has been largely quiet for the past six months, but tweeted about the need to combat sexism in the industry after the Disrupt event. Women are avid tech users, so companies may find their wallets affected if behavior like this continues.

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