Dell might have put their foot in it in a big way by letting Mads Christensen, a man renowned for sexist and stupid comments, stand in front of the mic for them at their summit in Copenhagen last month. Christiane Vejlø of Elektronista.dk chronicled the event in which Mads Christiensen, who began his address to the Dell company audience (men, of course) with “”There are almost no girls in this room, and I am happy. Why are you here at all?” and ended with telling them all to go home and say “shut up bitch!” to their significant others. Here’s her account of the magic moment:[quote]Dell’s moderator continues talking about his two Rolex watches and he then presents the next speaker from Intel. After the break Mads Christensen shares with us his whole “show” about the bitchy women who want to steal the power in politics, boards and the home. “Science” he calls it and mentions that all the great inventions come from men. “We can thank women for the rolling pin,” he adds. And then the moderator of the day finishes of by asking all (men) in the room to promise him that they will go home and say, “shut up bitch!”.[/quote]
Dell went on to release an apology for the comments, which receives marks for being direct about it and not trying to make Christiensen’s comments sound like something they aren’t. Here’s the crux of the biscuit:[quote]Dell sincerely apologizes for these comments. As members of our Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) know, Dell is an enthusiastic and committed advocate of women in business and IT. These comments do not reflect Dell’s company values and undermine much of the work we’ve done in support of women in the workplace overall.[/quote]
Though Dell certainly did distance themselves from Christiensen’s comments, it does beg the question of how he ended up there in the first place (as he’s known for these kind of comments and has a history of it). Does this represent a larger and more entrenched attitude of sexism in the tech industry? Well, ask yourself this: The event in question happened in April. Had you heard anything about Christiensen’s comments before today?