Startup Mingle Party and 'Summer Seduction' Lingerie Show in San Francisco Prompts Cries of Sexism - NBC Bay Area
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Startup Mingle Party and 'Summer Seduction' Lingerie Show in San Francisco Prompts Cries of Sexism

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    An invitation to "Startup Mingle Party and 'Summer Seduction' Lingerie Fashion Show" in San Francisco.

    It almost seems like a parody from the hit HBO show, "Silicon Valley." Only it’s not.

    Some lucky guests on Saturday will attend "Startup Mingle Party and 'Summer Seduction' Lingerie Fashion Show" at the W hotel in San Francisco.

    For the uninitiated, the event is being billed as an opportunity for people to network and pitch startup ideas while models sashay around in lingerie. A fembot with bared breasts adorns its poster

    The party will be co-hosted by Creative Startup Labs, a company that offers entrepreneurs everything from legal and consulting services to product incubation, and Angelica Janice, the owner of Cake Angel, a food and beverage company. DJs will spin some tunes while Shasta Moore's lingerie designs are exhibited.

    The purported idea that a seductive undercurrent will somehow help people looking to get their start in the tech industry has earned the event's organizers flak on social media. With accusations of sexual harassment and prejudice looming large over the tech industry, some are viewing the party as yet another instance of misogyny or tone deafness in Silicon Valley.

    Asked if he thought the party's theme come make people uncomfortable , Brad Carrick, the founder of CSL, replied, "Why is that?"

    He then added, "Look, I know what you mean. It’s the creative arts. There are artists showing off their own designs."

    Fashion shows are common at such gatherings, Carrick told NBC Bay Area. This one just happens to feature lingerie.

    "I wasn’t aware of what the design was this time around," he added.

    In an email to Mashable, Carrick said: "The fashion show, as I understand, is to highlight local startup designers trying to grow their own businesses, be they in menswear, fashion-tech, wearables, women's wear, etc. The models and designs are organized by the local designer and certainly not hired promo/entertainment models by any tech company."

    The event is expected to last from 9 p.m. Saturday to 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $10 to $500. 

    Update: As of early Saturday, the event has been renamed as a "Startup Mingle Party & Fashion Show." It also boasts a more PG poster, featuring a chalkboad with advice "To My Future Self," including staying humble and helping others, scribbled on it. What prompted the change remains unknown.

    NBC Bay Area's Scott McGrew contributed to this report.

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