LeWeb Attracts La Controverse
You won’t get to see the video; it was taken down faster than a…well, let’s not answer possibly offensive with possibly also offensive. (But you have to admit, the list of French things that could be taken down quickly is virtually limitless, and most likely very funny to everybody but the French.)
But that’s the kind of the point, too. We’re past all that petty, backwards thinking that causes us to find joy in stereotypes and oppressive (repressive) attitudes that demean and degrade us. Aren’t we?
Well, no. Not completely, and that may be why Loic Le Meur, blogger, entrepreneur and founder of Le Web, a conference for bloggers and entrepreneurs in Paris, has apologized for promoting a video called "Girls of LeWeb3."
Reportedly, the video, produced by ChaufferDeBuzz, "lingers on – the physical merits of the female participants in the conference…Shots of women who don’t know they’re being filmed walking away, talking on the phone, eating, scowling at the camera, plus giggling and reading out cue cards with the name of the startup which made it, with voyeuristic zoom shots of bums and so on" with Sean Kingston’s "Beautiful Girls" playing in the background. (Description courtesy of Meg Pickard.)
Le Meur chalks up the faux pas to being "too French." We take that to mean that he feels looking at pretty women is perfectly normal. And who’s to argue with that?
Guardian blogger Jemima Kiss, that’s who. Kiss called the video "embarrassing and creepy" as she called Le Meur onto the carpet for tweeting to everybody about it and posting it on the LeWeb homepage. Kiss writes:
"I’d love to know what the women in this film think of their attendance at a serious, well-respected conference being turned into cheap buzz marketing video that would sit well in the ad breaks on late-night Channel Five. All they’d need is the ‘text me to chat’ numbers at the bottom of the screen."
One of the women apparently in the video, perhaps a French one, bless her heart, didn’t seem to mind. Livia LaColare, who posted the now-defunct YouTube video on her blog, responded in the comments:
"I’d be offended only in case someone was actually mocking women’s intelligence in it. I think that the worst thing we can do as women is to make a big deal out of it. Come on, it’s just a nerdy video about girls attending a conference."
While Livia is obviously fine with it, public relations blogger Stuart Bruce thinks it was "a dumb move" that "makes the industry look like Neanderthal fools."
"His mistake is compounded by the fact that he quite correctly identifies that one of the main failings of Le Web 3 is that there were far too few women speaking and attending. Is this sleazy video by a ‘buzz market’ firm really going to help him improve it next year?"
Well, regardless of its effects on recruiting women, Le Meur was quick to act, deleting the video from Le Web in general and apologizing to Jemima Kiss out of what appears to be the Christmas spirit. Le Meur writes:
"I understand, sorry did not see it that way I must be too french sometimes. I am easy these days. I want to apologize for anything you might not like or have liked, just name it and I will apologize. I only want to send love for Christmas (and sometimes receive some too but that’s not compulsory)."
I guess Christmas spirit is what you call that.