A Word On The Crunchies

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If you have not already heard, we hosted the Crunchies awards show at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall last Thursday. Some elements of the show have been criticized for being inappropriate.

If you were present, or watching the livestream, you might have been startled, if not offended, by some of the remarks that the host, standup comedian T.J. Miller made on stage. It’s also possible you found a lot of the show hilarious, which many people did.

There is no definitive line between funny and offensive. Comedy has a long history of being used as a tool for satire and commentary. Many at TechCrunch, however, feel badly about some elements of T.J.’s performance. The use of derogatory slang to refer to women or minority groups is unacceptable at any event TechCrunch runs, period. And we know many others feel the same way, even if it’s hard to find the words to say so. We’re sorry.

TechCrunch has tried very hard in the past two years to focus attention on the behaviors and attitudes in the Silicon Valley community that make it difficult for women, minorities and others to feel welcome here. At a TechCrunch hackathon in September 2013, there was an incident that led then editors Eric Eldon and Alexia Tsotsis to produce an anti-harrassment policy, which we have done our best to enforce at events. Last year, TechCrunch founded the Include program to make contributions to social enterprises that help to make tech a more inclusive place.

Some things said on our stage on Thursday would not mesh with that anti-harassment policy. Many will argue, and already have, that it’s just comedy and that no one should take it seriously. But it’s valid to ask how we can reconcile our stance on anti-harassment with statements made on stage at our event. We won’t be asking T.J. back next year, and we’ll be thinking hard about the steps we can take to improve the experience for everyone across the program.

The Crunchies were created as a collaborative awards show that would honor the remarkable accomplishments of the tech community. From the beginning, there has been an element of humor. We’re confident we can do that without making people feel unsafe.

We recognize that it’s a privilege and a great responsibility to host the Crunchies, and TechCrunch will do our best to live up to that more fully next time.