Microsoft is facing backlash over its Xbox party at GDC 2016, which featured scantily-clad women dancing around the party venue. Several attendees spoke up, saying that they felt uncomfortable and unwelcome because of the display. Xbox head Phil Spencer later commented on the party and the criticism, saying that the party wasn't consistent with Microsoft's values.
From The Verge:
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.
According to Business Insider, Microsoft employees, including Xbox Marketing head Aaron Greenberg, will be looking into how the event was organized.
Update: Spencer also sent an email to employees regarding the party:
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.