By many accounts, Google Glass wins the award for buzziest device at this year’s South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival.
But the prize for PR gaffes might go to MIT Media Labs.
According to The Huffington Post
, the Media Lab was slammed for sexist wristbands distributed during a party it held Saturday in Austin. The wristbands contained phrases such as, “That’s a nice dress. It would look great on my floor.” and “Do you wash your clothes with Windex? ‘Cause I can see myself in your pants.”
Brooklyn-based journalist Amy S. Choi, who attended SWSW this year, tweeted a picture of the wristbands:
Duke University teacher Adeline Koh also shared the pics on her Tumblr page
with the note: “WTF MIT MEDIA LAB?!?!?”
The Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology focuses on the study, invention, and creative use of digital technologies, according to its website
In a blog post published on Monday
, Media Lab Director Joi Ito apologized for the incident, but explained that it wasn’t the fault of the school or the co-sponsors of the event, the Knight Foundation and Mozilla. Instead, he cast blame on the party’s venue, The Parish Underground.
“They [the wristbands] were offensive and in no way reflect the sentiments of the MIT Media Lab. These wristbands were provided by the venue, and while we didn’t realize what was printed on them until after they'd been handed out, we should have prevented the situation from occurring in the first place.
“The Media Lab is firmly committed to supporting women in the sciences, computing, arts, and engineering. We don't like— and certainly don't want to support or disseminate—offensive messaging. We appreciate those of you who noticed the wristbands and pointed them out to us; please accept our sincere apology.”
During last year’s SXSW festival, New York-based marketing firm BBH Labs was slammed for its Homeless Hotspots technology
, which equipped homeless people in Austin with devices to make them wireless hot spots.