Microsoft gets Speedos in a twist over half-naked 'Meter Maids'
TechEd Oz targets women in IT - and bikinis
Microsoft has upset a bunch of bikini-clad Aussie “Meter Maids”, after a promotional stunt backfired on the company.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that Microsoft had hired the women to appear at its TechEd conference on the Gold Coast.
Some of the 2,700 attendees at the event grumbled that the half-naked ladies' presence objectified women. One of the key talks at the conference had been a discussion about getting more women to join the IT industry.
Redmond claimed it had no idea what attire the meter maids would be dressed in until TechEd kicked off.
Microsoft told the newspaper that it was "unaware of their exact costuming until the day of the event, at which time it was too late to be addressed".
A quick visit to the Meter Maids website clearly shows plenty of women in skimpy gold beachwear. The image below is taken from the contact page on the Meter Maids' website, so presumably Microsoft used its last remaining fax machine to get in touch with the beach
babes bums beauties whatevers.
But Microsoft’s decision to claim innocence about the booking has angered chief Meter Maid Roberta Aitchison.
She told the SMH that Microsoft in fact chose what outfits the women should wear at the event.
"The garments were chosen specifically by them over a period of two to three weeks of them looking at photographs of the girls," she claimed.
"They came back to me by email stating which garments they would like the girls to be wearing."
Microsoft then insisted that it stood by its original statement before admitting it had messed up.
“It's our show, we take full responsibility, and it was the wrong choice," said the company.
A disappointed Aitchison said she had no idea what all the fuss was about, and added that “her girls” were particularly attentive to women at the event.
"The girls handle themselves very professionally at these functions and this is the Gold Coast; they [Microsoft] obviously wanted to portray what we're all about which is sun, surf and a great time," said Aitchison.
"The meter maids are an icon of Surfer's Paradise and I believe Microsoft knew what they were doing. It would be a very small minority of women I would say that had anything negative to say… We provided a little bit of glamour to an event that otherwise would've been pretty boring."®