ICANN Ombudsman Chris LaHatte has delivered his official report on the ICANN 43 sexism controversy.
As you may recall, during the ICANN 43 meeting in Costa Rica last month, domain name lawyer John Berryhill complained to LaHatte about a booth operated by Czech ccTLD operator CZ.nic.
Marketing ICANN 44, which CZ.nic is hosting in Prague this June, the booth offered cartoon postcards advertising “girls” as one of several reasons — alongside “beer”, “culture” etc — to attend the meeting.
Berryhill complained that the cards objectified women and were inappropriate for an ICANN meeting.
The complainant says the use of the postcard was demeaning to women and an unnecessary objectification of them.
After some discussion, they [CZ.nic] understood the way in which this was seen, from another perspective, and quickly agreed to remove the postcards as an option in the kiosk display. What they saw as a light-hearted tribute to attractive woman in the Czech Republic, they then were able to see as offensive to others. Because they were so ready to perceive and accept the alternative view, it was not necessary to take any further action
A presentation by CZ.nic later in the week at the Costa Rica meeting eschewed any mention of the cards in question.
In the interests of disclosure, since first reporting this story I’ve discovered that Berryhill discovered the postcards via one of my own tweets, so I’m probably partly responsible for creating my own controversy here.