Twitter, a company that falls just about in the epicenter of Silicon Valley’s bro-centric bubble of privilege, made the embarrassing decision to host a very cool “frat party”-themed event for their revenue team. Wow, so many layers to unpack here!
Setting aside, for a moment, the symmetrical lameness of an idea that puts a bunch of former fraternity bros in a pristine, corporatized version of their native environment, this party was primarily an embarrassment for the company because it is currently facing a lawsuit that claims a very similar culture to the theme in question: namely, one in which women don’t have a voice.
The gender discrimination lawsuit was filed by Tina Huang, a former engineer for the company, who is currently seeking class-action status. In her suit, Huang claims that the process for promotion at Twitter is biased in favor of male employees; when she complained directly to CEO Dick Costolo, she was put on administrative leave and eventually quit. According to the lawsuit:
“Promotion into Twitter’s senior technical positions is based on subjective judgments, by committees that are comprised of and dependent on upper management at Twitter, and predominantly male. These judgments are tainted with conscious or unconscious prejudices and gender-based stereotypes, which explains why so few women employees at Twitter advance to senior and leadership positions.”
Indeed, Twitter’s diversity issues are considerable: the workforce is 70% male, and only employs 49 black people out 2,910 US employees. A Twitter spokesperson has apologized for the event, telling Fusion: “This social event organized by one team was in poor taste at best, and not reflective of the culture we are building here at Twitter. We’ve had discussions internally with the organizing team, and they recognize that this theme was ill-chosen.”
It’s true that the party wasn’t reflective of Twitter’s homogeneous culture; most fraternity parties encourage more than 30% of their guests to be female. Below, you’ll find a selection of themes that might have been more appropriate:
- A Salem Witch Trial-themed bash hosted by Scott Disick
- A Bring-Your-Own-Cigars event held in the drawing room of an Alabama plantation
- Scott Walker’s Bachelor Party
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Image via USA/Neighbors.