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Hot girls land CZ.nic in hot water

Kevin Murphy, March 13, 2012, 00:56:39 (UTC), Gossip

Czech domain name registry CZ.nic has been told off by the ICANN Ombudsman for a sexist display at its booth here at the ICANN 43 meeting in Costa Rica.
The company, which will host ICANN 44 in Prague, is currently running a light-hearted promotion whereby attendees can claim a free public transport pass if they choose from a selection of postcards illustrating what they’re “most looking forward to” at the June meeting.
Options include historical sites, beer, and nightlife. And until this morning, you could also choose “girls”. There was no equivalent “boys” option.
I’m not the most tactful person in the world, but even I found the CZ.nic booth a bit icky.
So, apparently, did somebody else.
ICANN Ombudsman Chris LaHatte confirmed that he received a complaint today and stepped in to ask CZ.nic’s reps to remove the offending postcards, which they did.
LaHatte confirmed that the booth display did not meet ICANN’s longstanding Expected Standards of Behavior, which states in part that participants must:

Treat all members of the ICANN community equally, irrespective of nationality, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age, or sexual orientation.

It’s no secret that ICANN meetings, like most tech conferences, can be a bit of a sausage-fest at times, but there are hundreds (probably) of women in attendance too.
At recent meetings, the DNS Women’s Breakfast has become a regular networking event.
(Which, come to think of it, is a closed session and therefore probably a bit sexist too).
UPDATE: For all the pervs demanding photographic evidence in the comments, prepare to be disappointed.

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Comments (21)

  1. Acro says:

    Pics? Or we just google ‘Czech girls’?

  2. Joe says:

    What on earth are you thinking publishing this story WITHOUT pics?

  3. Captain Sailer says:

    What a useless post.
    How can you write this without having pics. What’s the point of making such a sensational headline if you don’t post a pic of the chics/booth that was told to go away.

  4. Joe says:

    As they say, a pic is worth a thousand words (or a blog post) 🙂

  5. John Berryhill says:

    The postcard in question was:
    But addressing your last comment, Kevin, ICANN attendees come from a variety of countries and cultures which vary in the opportunities for networking and advancement of women. It doesn’t strike me as “sexist” for the many accomplished women here to network with others who may be dealing with issues that they have also had to overcome, and to do so in an environment that doesn’t have the same atmosphere as the hotel bars in the evening.

  6. This is what the fuss was about?
    I thought it was going to be some leather-clad busty pic or something similar.

  7. John Berryhill says:

    It wasn’t the postcard per se.
    It was the context in which “girls” was included among things that one might go to consume, use or enjoy in Prague, as if (a) “girls” is an appropriate designation for women or (b) women are appropriately objectified among tourist attractions.
    Some of us go back and forth between domain and other trade shows and ICANN, in which there is a tremendous difference in cultures and basic maturity.
    Now, I’ve taken a raft of interesting commentary today because, yes, I am the person who spoke with the Ombudsman. I don’t claim to be any sort of model of sensitivity, but this thing, in context, struck a sour note with me. Your mileage may vary.
    Having been to several ICANN meetings in the company of two accomplished professional women who, yes, network with other accomplished professional women, you’d be surprised to know, and some of the men at ICANN meetings should be put on notice of this fact, that the behavior of various men in the ICANN community does not go unremarked upon in that network.
    And let me see if I can say this without putting too fine a point on it:
    Guys, you might do something which, after a few drinks and alone in some exotic place with one of the women of the ICANN community, may seem to you to be a “misunderstanding” or simple social faux pas. You may find that, well, obviously it wasn’t all that bad because the next day she had the discretion not to make a big deal out of it, or otherwise call you out an embarrass you.
    Please do not make the mistake of believing that what you did was okay, understandable, or that you were just having an unlucky evening. The reason you are not called out at the microphone for exactly what you are is that she has to continue to be a cooperative member of the community of which you are unfortunately a part. It’s part of what she has to put up with here.
    So, whomever you may be, and there is more than one of you – you know who you are, and you damned well know exactly what I’m talking about. I have been advised, in at least one instance, not to deliver to you the public shame which you deserve.
    Don’t you ever push your luck again, or next time you are not making it back from ICANN in one piece.
    That is all.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Even though I’m 99% certain these comments aren’t directed at me, you’ve managed to make me feel vicariously guilty anyway.

    • I didn’t see the context so will defer to those that did.
      Depressing to hear though that harassment is still going on at ICANN meetings.
      Twice in the past, I have had a quiet word with someone for inappropriate behaviour but it was a long time ago and I had assumed that this had died due to the large increase in the number of women in recent years. Sad to hear it hasn’t.

    • ChrisTS says:

      Wow. Bless you.

  8. And a huge shout-out to John Berryhill for describing EXACTLY the situation & context so many women experience all. the. bloody. time.
    Which we just have to mark down to stuff we put up with in order to do business. Much appreciated, John.

  9. Am I the only one that sees the irony in someone threatening that “you are not making it back from ICANN in one piece” for some perceived “crime” — where is the “due process” in that? 🙂

  10. John,
    I applaud your comments to some degree but I disagree with the overall premise. Pointing fingers at the Czech booth to make a point for something else does it do women justice and I am sure the Czech women working at the booth might have found your comments insulting. It is the right of the Czech to market whatever they want just the same way that it is the women of the DNS can hold gender-based breakfast meetings. I doubt the Czechs were referring to anything negative about women or wanted to portray them as objects. They were just plainly saying Czech women are beautiful but your mind immediately went to something negative instead.
    Furthermore it is my belief that if there is abuse you should report it and stop using others, like the Czech booth, to make a point, while letting those who have been abusive to continue their unacceptable deeds. So John if you really want to protect those women you should do so immediately. So you are saying it is OK not to report abuse and threatening is better?
    And Maria, why don’t you go forward with any information you have if you felt harassed? I find it unacceptable that things are being hidden underneath the rug when harassment is going on. Point is if someone can get away with something and know there are no ramifications they will continue to do it and the next person will be abused. This has nothing to do with the Czechs though and I think the Europeans were given a slap in the face for something silly for you to make a point. If the Czech women that worked at the booth felt victimized or felt that they were portrayed as objects that is a different issue but that was not the case. Bottom line, if you know abuse is happening then report it. That is my 2 cents on this topic.

  11. Constantinos, walk a day in my shoes and maybe you’ll earn the right to tell me how I should act when dealing with a sexual predator.

    • Maria, I merely asked a question to you. My question was why you don’t you go forward with any information when you find out someone is harassed.
      I understand the dynamics of business in a small community and environment such as ICANN and what comes along when you become a snitch. I did serve the Greek Cypriot army as a green beret and snitching was not tolerated amongst my group. It does have indirect repercussions but some say it did make our group that was being hazed stronger and increased our level of “bondness” with each other.
      In the end many are forced to survive with the least friction possible so I understand where you are coming from. That said, I can not possibly step in your shoes but my perspective is that sometimes people need to fight for what they believe in and be firm in their convictions, which means sometimes taking the hit and setting the example. I might be wrong in my approach but it is my 2 cents of my opinion however right or wrong I may be.

  12. Wow says:

    Does all this mean that Rick Schwartz won’t be having any more strippers at his conference parties?

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