The team secured a win at the Digital Entrepreneur Awards yet refused to accept the prize after witnessing a performance by burlesque dancers
The Bradford University student team received a nomination for the DEA, which are among the most prestigious national awards in the field of technology and managed to win in their category.
However, the team stated that they would return their prize after criticizing the ceremony’s “misjudged” tone. Iain Stirling, a popular comedian and reality TV show narrator also ended his stand-up comedy routine early and chose to donate his ceremonial fees to a charity.
Bradford University’s director of external affairs, Mark Garratt, stated that the ceremony’s presenter made a series of sexist jokes on stage while accompanied by burlesque dancers, commenting that the team could not accept the award in good conscience.
Attendees criticize sexist general tone of the event
Garratt went on to add that the entire theme of the ceremony was not at all in line with the values and attitude that the university aimed to promote.
Stirling’s publicist claimed that the comedian was also uncomfortable during the ceremony and that was why he decided to end his performance early, a claim echoed by Emma Bridge, a woman who attended the ceremony alongside the BU team.
Managing director of Mando, Ian Finch, spent £1,500 to secure a table for Mando’s team specializing in client services.
Finch also had words of criticism for the event, stating that the majority of the winners were “middle-aged” males, and that the women who were either receiving or giving awards had to deal with “tired . . . sexist” jokes.
Finch went on to question why the event’s organizers would make the decision to hire burlesque performers for a primarily male demographic at the DEA.