Monday, May 14, 2012

What the hell, Dell?

Last month, Dell ran a summit in Copenhagen with over 800 attendees, including Michael Dell himself. As an MC for the event they hired Mads Christensen, who apparently is well known in Denmark for making racist, sexist, and other sorts of remarks in bad taste.

Christiane Vejlo was in the audience and tweeted and blogged about some of the comments Christensen made. He started out by noticing the majority of people in the crowd were men and said:
"The IT business is one of the last frontiers that manages to keep women out. The quota of women to men in your business is sound and healthy". 
Then he points out the very few women in the room and says, "What are you actually doing here?" 
After the break Mads Christensen shares with us his whole “show” about the bitchy women who want to steal the power in politics, boards and the home. “Science” he calls it and mentions that all the great inventions come from men. “We can thank women for the rolling pin,” he adds.  And then the moderator of the day finishes of by asking all (men) in the room to promise him that they will go home and say, “shut up, bitch!”.
The worst part is apparently Dell's response to complaints were along the lines of, "But, of course we support women! We were just trying to be funny. Ha ha. Can't you take a joke?"
I guess they realized this wasn't a good reply, so then they said something along the lines of, "We're sorry if we offended anyone." That "if" suggesting it is a woman's (or man's) fault if they were offended.

Molly Wood at CNET recently wrote about the event, and noted that apparently Dell has a precedent of being rather anti-women. In 2009 they had a marketing campaign suggesting women only used computers for dieting and shopping (you forgot knitting!), and it also settled a $10 million lawsuit over pay discrimination.
Dell, I am shaking my rolling pin at you. (Which I can do when I'm not baking your face off.)


  1. I guess it would be the obvious thing to say that "a joke is not funny when it goes against the minority/underrepresented/what have you"... but when you make fun of yourself or the 'norm'.

    I'm not super surprised but a little tired that it never seem to connect with "certain people". WTF about "go home and shut up bitch" - like many of these comuter nerds have a gf anyway

    [no, it's not that funny either. the geek without gf is stereotypical and non funny but I'm tired of hearing about men like that... ]

  2. I went to Molly Woods', read the post and started reading the comments. I got very depressed. There are so many misogynistic jerks around it's really making me weary. And the tired old spiel "But what about the menz in nursing? Women are just not interested in IT. We should always only hire on merit not give [women] handouts..."
    You know, I am coming to the conclusion that online discussions are a total waste of time and energy. Nobody seems to learn from anybody else really, it seems that all discussions do is make people stand their ground and hold on to their (often bigoted or otherwise idiotic) beliefs even more firmly...

  3. This is simply outrageous.

    Strangely, I believe the same thing would never be accepted (today) if you replaced 'women' with 'Eastern Europeans' or 'gays' for example.
    Why have we women been less successful in convincing people to even give us some superficial political correctness? Why do people think that they have to pretend not to be racist, but can be openly sexist? I don't get it.

    1. Ok, now that could be read that I think it is better to be racist than sexist. Sorry. That is not what I mean.

      I just think people should feel obliged to pretend to be neither sexist nor racist in public. Unfortunately, changing their real convictions is anyway close to impossible.

  4. That "if" suggesting it is a woman's (or man's) fault if they were offended.

  5. Mads Christensen the hockey player?! What the hell was he (either of him, there's two) doing at a Dell meeting?