Tech firms draw flak over hiring ‘record number’ of eye-candy models for holiday parties

That lovely young woman at your tech company’s holiday party may profess to be tight with your firm’s most-talented software engineer, but she may actually have been hired by your company for your viewing pleasure and a little chitchat.

As Silicon Valley seethes with sexual harassment scandals, tech companies are seeding their holiday parties with paid models, according to a new report.

Several agencies providing models for events said a “record number” of tech firms are quietly paying up to $200 an hour for each model hired to “chat up” party-goers, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

“I find it really highly disturbing,” said Adriana Gascoigne, CEO of Girls in Tech. “It’s disappointing and deflating to see this news and see how it’s still spreading and how some companies and some people think it’s still OK to treat women this way.

“Models come and interact with these awkward male engineers who may not be able to socialize with members of the opposite sex or bring a date. It’s like buying women to exploit their bodies and their physical attributes. Women have to work 10 times as hard to prove ourselves in the world, and this doesn’t help our cause.”

This coming weekend, the Cre8 Agency will send 25 women and five men, “all good looking,” to hang out with a virtually all-male staff from a San Francisco gaming company, the agency’s president told Bloomberg. Officials from the client company went through photos of models, picked the ones they wanted, made them sign non-disclosure agreements, and gave them names of employees they could say they were friends with, so the wouldn’t appear to be hired help, Bloomberg reported.

Cre8’s president, Farnaz Kermaani, said she visits startup clients before accepting their business, to scope out the environment and help ensure her models are safe.

“If somebody is creepy toward me, and I’m …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

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