On Saturday, Skinny Girl Vodka founder Bethenny Frankel appeared as the keynote speaker at women’s entrepreneurial summit, Rent The Runway’s and UBS’s Project Entrepreneur. Her speech certainly got people talking.
An entrepreneur named Mary Pryor wrote about her experience at the event, and she says the following about what went down during the Q&A when Frankel was asked about the challenges of raising funding for women of color:
I was stunned when Frankel implied that women should have sex with men in exchange for capital. I was offended when she expressed some kind of kinship with black women because she’s “loud.” And I was taken aback when she advised those of us in the room to get business advice to hire a white man as the face of our companies.
There’s no recording of the event, but a number of people have commented on the ensuing shit storm on Twitter.
It sounds like moderators ignored angry audience members, and took the mic from Pryor, who had stood to raise her objections.
On Monday, Pryor wrote a series of tweets to the organizers about why she was so disturbed by the direction of the keynote Q&A, edited together here:
To the organizers of @RenttheRunway #PEIntensive16 and their events this weekend I applaud the diverse room of women thanks to @UBS... However #PEIntensive16's keynote via @Bethenny was offensive and wrong NOT proper for a room full of female founders... I along with another ally of color stood up to address how offensive @Bethenny was to not just us but the entire room.
For @Bethenny to insist that a young, Black female founder “Find a white guy” to rep her biz is a racial microaggression... For #PEIntensive16 to not issue an apology to the women of color in the room that were offended by her statement bothers me... I am tired of being asked to be present in the room for female founders events & have my voice SHUT DOWN... I am tired of WW telling me that I am not enough to run & rep something I have built @Bethenny’s remarks are damaging esp. in room full of women (mostly white) especially to a Black female founder. I want that young, Black female founder to feel empowered not told she isn’t enough by keynote at a conference.
Shortly afterwards, Project Entrepreneur issued this apology:
This seems to be Frankel’s response:
Image via Getty.
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