As a lovely followup to recent discussions of gender inclusivity in tech, here's the first presentation from the AOL-owned TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 startup conference: an app called Titstare, presented by two grinning Australian dudes, exactly as tasteless as it sounds.
The stunt—which the Sydney duo claims was just a "joke"—
was done before to an audience who paid for the opportunity to watch what was essentially a shitty routine pulled from the boys' cabin at sleepaway camp. Some in attendance actually laughed and cheered, so I suppose part of the crowd thought they got their money's worth.
The difference between summer camp and TechCrunch Disrupt, of course, is that Jethro Batts and David Boulton are grown men, ostensibly adults, on a stage at a hugely prominent technology business conference—-a conference that saw these two jackasses and invited them up on that stage. TechCrunch proceeded to tweet a link to Titstare from its official Disrupt account, but decided that was perhaps unwise, and deleted it, settling for this instead:
We apologize for two inappropriate hackathon presentations earlier today. We will more carefully screen from now on.— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) September 8, 2013
If only there had been some way to foresee an adverse reaction to "Titstare"—perhaps a "screening" app of some sort is in order. Pandora for common sense?
If you'd like to feel worse today, here's another "demo" from the same "hackathon" "presentation," which is basically a guy pretending to jerk off before a crowd that included a 9-year-old girl.
Update: TechCrunch just gave me the following statement:
Normally our hackathons are a showcase for developers of all stripes to create and share something cool. But earlier today, the spirit of our event was marred by two misogynistic presentations.
Sexism is a major problem in the tech industry, and we’ve worked hard to counteract it in our coverage and in our own hiring.
Today’s issues resulted from a failure to properly screen our hackathons for inappropriate content ahead of time, and establish clear guidelines for these submissions.
Trust us, that changed as soon as we saw what happened at our show. Every presentation is getting a thorough screening from this hackathon onward. Any type of sexism or other discriminatory and/or derogatory speech will not be allowed.
You expect more from us and we expect more from ourselves. We are sorry.
Update: TechCrunch tells me no one at the Disrupt hackathon on Sunday had paid for a ticket to attend that portion of the conference in particular.