American tech giant Dell Inc. delivered a belated public apology last week for hiring a famously sexist Danish celebrity named Mads Christensen to speak at one of its corporate conferences in April. “The IT business is one of the last frontiers that manages to keep women out,” Christensen joked to the roughly 800 Dell partners and employees (including CEO Michael Dell) at the Copenhagen conference, adding: “The quota of women to men in your business is sound and healthy.” According to Danish blogger Christiane Vejlo, who happened to be one of the women in the room, Christensen also suggested that the men in the audience go home and tell the women in their lives to “shut up, bitches.” Vejlo went home and wrote about the remarks on her blog, which remained under the radar until Reddit.com got hold of the English translation last week. This isn’t Dell’s first brush with sexism: in 2009 it paid $9 million to settle a gender bias lawsuit filed by two former female employees, and raised the ire of female techies everywhere when it launched a marketing campaign based on the assumption that women primarily use laptops to record their calorie intake and browse online for recipes. Sounds like something Mr. Christensen would say.
A brush with sexism at Dell Inc.
It isn't the first time that the PC firm has had a PC problem