Geeklist had a promotional video featuring a man in a T-shirt, shorts, and sandals as well as a woman wearing only a T-shirt and underwear. The video had been online for quite a while at the time of the incident.
Twitter correspondence with Geeklist founders
On 22th March 2012, Shanley Kane came across the video, and on Twitter, asked Christian ("csanz") and Reuben Sanz ("rekatz"), co-founders of Geeklist why the ad featured a "woman in her underwear dancing around to dubstep", and after csanz replied, acknowledging that an updated version with less skin showing was needed to replace the "super old ad", Kane requested the ad be taken down because "it's fucking gross". Csanz questioned Kane's aggressive tone, to which Kane replied with "because it's aggressively offensive yo". From this tweet on, arguments by czanz and rekatz contain following arguments:
- "Your tone is offensive"
- "We didn't produce the video, our friend did" (ignoring that Geeklist chose to continue to allow the video staying online, representing their brand)
- "You could have adressed (sic) this in a far more professional way, like [via email]"
- "I don't even know you and you are attacking me, calling us sexist & atacking (sic) our brand."
- "by the way, your employer is our client and I interviewed you to work for us before you went there. Email = pro"
- "& we had a great talk at the W when you were with a friend and I bought you both rounds of tequilas in friendship. wtf"
- "you are clearly out looking for attention, I can see that you are less focus on us pulling down the video"
After the failed Twitter exchange, handle codahale filed a complaint about the video's sexism as a humorous bug report form. Codahale's report included not only the statement that the pantslessness of the female character in the video would alienate and anger the person seeing the video, but also illustrated the threat that Geeklist's own brand might be damaged due to association "with a 'Maxim' ethos in which women are seen as being objects whose presence is exclusively related to male visual enjoyment", and that "due to the fact that people talk to each other, this bug may produce cascading brand failures".
Initial responses to codahale's report ranged from delighted, to approving and supportive, to responses with a similarly humorous yet critical tone, to dismissive and outright silenc-ey.
- Assorted dismissive, etc. replies
- "Odd, repeated the steps on several others' machines and was met with Could not reproduce. Could be PEBKAC... :)" PEBCAK: "problem exist between keyboard and chair"
- "(...) from what I can tell codahale has no appreciation for the female body, which quite frankly, I find offensive."
- "I find this kind of inflammatory and annoyingly trollish. Inappropriate content should not be showcased or made into a spectacle. These are sensitive issues that personally affect our friends and colleagues, they should be handled with seriousness and discretion. Do we want our industry to be this or even look like this? No. The mature way to handle this is to send a private message and have a private heart-felt conversation with the offender. Explain to them what they've done wrong and offer them guidance. +1 for deleting this thread."
- "Sorry. Could not reproduce. Tried it with multiple people. Issue seems to be race and sex independent and solely dependent on people's disposition for trolling. Found more important issues that we should be focused on while trying to reproduce this issue."
- multiple variations of "put the guy in a thong too, problem solved"
In 22th March 2012, Christian and Reuben Sanz posted a public apology on the Geeklist blog at http://blog.geekli.st/post/19734620901/geeklist-and-a-public-apology. The Sanz's admitted they "could have handled [the Twitter correspondence] better".