Tencent, China’s largest internet company, has apologised after terrible inappropriate videos from its annual party went viral.
The six-second video showed female employees on their knees, attempting to use their mouths to unscrew the caps off bottles gripped between male coworkers’ thighs.
Unsurprisingly, the videos have incited outrage online, with many on Zhihu — China’s Quora — criticising the sexist display.
The video was filmed during an annual party for the Instant Messaging Application Department at Tencent — the team which builds its instant messaging app QQ.
Tencent, which owns the popular WeChat messaging app, put out a statement on Thursday (Jan. 12) condemning the event, and stated that it has given demerit points to the employees involved.
The video — which first appeared on Miaopai, China’s version of Vine — was deleted off various platforms, and Weibo users who found their videos deleted are blaming the social network for censoring their posts.
Image: Ng yi Shu/Mashable.
IveExperiencedSexism accuses Tencent: "While you (Tencent) apologise on Zhihu, you censor Weibo… is this PR or a sincere apology? @Tencent if you guys feel stressed at the end of the year, do you need us to think up of some non-sexist ice-breakers?"
In an internal apology reposted publicly on Tencent’s Weibo account, an executive in charge of the social network games department apologised for his team’s behaviour:
He said: "As department head, I sincerely apologise, especially to the female colleagues who felt uncomfortable or offended. We will tackle this problem head on and correct our values, and we want to say sorry to our female colleagues.
"The annual party is a department activity, and represents the company’s image; we’ve lapsed in our oversight of the party games, and have caused much inconvenience. The various opinions, suggestions and criticisms by everyone have been taken into account, and I can only hope that you can stop circulating the video to protect our colleagues’ privacy."
A human resources manager posted later, announcing demerit points for the employees involved, and reminding other departments to "keep to company values and culture, and reinforce management and oversight so something like this will not happen again."
Another thread discussing the matter reached 792 replies on Zhihu, with many expressing their disgust at Tencent. Some outlined previous acts of sexism at Tencent and other companies.
Image: ng yi shu/mashable
An anonymous user posted: "As a former Tencent employee, this isn’t surprising – it’s a long-standing tradition. At a games division annual party three years ago, there was another lurid game where colleagues had to kiss each other through a piece of tissue; a female colleague refused, but was pressured into doing it.
"I feel embarrassed that I worked at Tencent, and I hope the executives can reflect and stop the sexist behaviour from happening again."
None of Tencent’s C-suite executives are women.
Sexism is rarely discussed in China’s tech companies, and venture capitalists have gone on as far to say that "we don’t invest in female CEOs," as one of them outlined in a public presentation at Beijing last week:
Taken from a friend’s post/picture in an investor conference in China, this guy from JingBei Investment has a slide saying "Rule #10, We Usually Don’t Invest In Woman CEO". (….their Chinese only website: http://www.jingbeivc.com/)