Startup incubator causes frenzy with ‘sexist’ tweet

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Melbourne-based startup incubator York Butter Factory, which received great fanfare when it open its doors in mid-October last year, has caused controversy with a recent tweet that has been labelled as ‘sexist’ by many on Twitter.

The tweet, taken down by York Butter Factory, said: “Techs are the pussy of the startup scene, fill the club with them and the business guys will follow. Got tech chops? [We] want you!”

The incubator has since apologised. “Apology to everyone for the wayward tweet. Didn’t mean to offend anyone, the employee acknowledges it was in poor taste. Thanks everyone,” York Butter Factory wrote on its Twitter account.

Update: they have published another apology – this time, not restrained within 140 characters:

The York Butter Factory would like to deeply apologise for the tweet, which I’m sure you’ve all seen by now. The comment in no way represents the culture that we’re trying to build.

At YBF we have been striving to create a safe, supportive and collaborative environment where *anyone* would feel welcome.

The intention of the tweet actually came off the back of a meeting that was intended to break down the perceived differences within our culture and that of the pure tech entrepreneur, to make sure they felt more welcome in the space.

The unfortunate result was that the message was a VERY poorly expressed and has misrepresented YBF, its values and its philosophy. The individual responsible for the actual tweet has been relieved of his duties representing YBF via its social channels. We are reviewing whether this employee will need to be let go.

Coincidentally, we are currently experiencing an unrelated DDOS attack that started earlier in the day prior to the tweet being sent, slowing down our ability to make this statement sooner.

This is not the culture we’re trying to build. In fact, over the past year, our primary effort has been to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Melbourne so that it is accessible to anyone of any gender or background.

In future, the founders of YBF will retain all responsibilities for our social channels so that this never happens again.

In all sincerity,

Darcy and Stuart

But why is this a big issue – well, worthy of such a post? Well, the IT industry has been seen as (and, admittedly largely is) a male-dominated industry. There has been a large effort to get more women into the industry to fix the gender imbalance – but this tweet sadly also shows that there is some sort of ‘boys club’ mentality still there.

Hopefully, the person tweeting that message isn’t a fan of My Little Pony and believes that programmers need to party, drink and code.

Image: John Barton

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