DISCLAIMER: These are my personal thoughts and do not represent Twitter.
As a working parent, evenings are sacred. I am fairly religious about leaving the office at a certain time in order to race home to have dinner with my family.
But when I was asked to represent Twitter at the Crunchies to accept the award for Social Impact, I immediately accepted. I was honored and proud. As an open, real-time platform, Twitter hosts so many important public conversations — from #JeSuisCharlie to #BlackLivesMatter, from #HeForShe to #BringBackOurGirls. What an honor to accept this award on behalf of our users and the issues they care deeply about.
Originally, I wanted to bring my daughter with me, but she had too much homework. I thought it would be a great opportunity for her to meet great innovators and see their accomplishments celebrated. Thank goodness she couldn’t come, because I would not have wanted her to see what unfolded during the evening.
At the Crunchies, comedian T.J. Miller, a star of the show “Silicon Valley” (which I watch and love), threw out a bunch of playful zingers in his opening act. But then at one point, he engaged with a woman (Gabi Holzwarth) a few rows in front of me by calling her a “bitch”. She responded increduously, “Did you just call me a bitch?” He then said, “Bitch, Asians aren’t supposed to be this entitled in the U.S. … Is this bitch from Palo Alto?” The audience laughed nervously. I was so uncomfortable I wanted to leave, but of course I couldn’t given that our award was coming up.
The weird, almost hostile theme continued when a presenter remarked about Airbnb’s logo looking like a “hooha”. More uncomfortable laughs. I don’t remember the names of the presenters — one was male and one was female. They both joked that they each liked “hoohas”. The next presenter followed suit, also letting the audience know that he likes “hoohas” too. Why that was important to share (or presumed to be funny), I don’t know.
I left as soon as I received the Crunchie, saddened and disappointed to see such a public lack of respect for women. And apparently I wasn’t alone:
Silicon Valley has so much talent and there is a lot of innovation to celebrate. But last night was no celebration. It was a dismal reminder of how much work we still have to do. If the Crunchies want to produce a productive event that celebrates great achievements, Selena Larson’s suggestions are a good place to start.