Noted Silicon Valley tech blog and press release machine TechCrunch launched their annual Disrupt conference in San Francisco over the weekend with an "incredibly popular" Hackathon session during which hopeful entrepreneurs present new products to crowd of like-minded valley types.
"Hackers make everything from useful services to hilarious products," the event's description reads, but this year's buzziest entries are picking up all the wrong kind of hype. Titstare, a "joke" app built by two Australian brogrammers, does pretty much exactly what you think it does: allows users to browse and upload "photos of yourself, staring at tits"— ostensibly because it's good for one's health. Jethro Batts and David Boulton were first to present during Sunday's event and they came out hard with the awkard and forced boob jokes:
Later during the round of presentations, another tone-deaf hopeful presented "Circle Shake." The app presumably served some useful purpose, but no one will remember it at this point because the presenter used his demonstration time pretending to violently masturbate onstage.
The audience, which included a nine-year-old girl who went on to present her own app, received the presentations with mild applause, laughter and cheering at the time, but the backlash didn't take long to hit Twitter. Sunday evening, TechCrunch co-editors Alexia Tsotsis and Eric Eldon posted an open letter apologizing to attendees for the two misogynistic presentations:
Normally our hackathons are a showcase for developers of all stripes to create and share something cool. But earlier today, the spirit of our event was marred by two misogynistic presentations.
Sexism is a major problem in the tech industry, and we’ve worked hard to counteract it in our coverage and in our own hiring.
Today’s issues resulted from a failure to properly screen our hackathons for inappropriate content ahead of time and establish clear guidelines for these submissions.
Trust us, that changed as soon as we saw what happened at our show. Every presentation is getting a thorough screening from this hackathon onward. Any type of sexism or other discriminatory and/or derogatory speech will not be allowed.
You expect more from us, and we expect more from ourselves. We are sorry.