If you want to get more women involved in your community, throwing the equivalent of a sketchy online beauty contest and labeling it “chivalry” probably isn’t the way to do it.
Fledgling smartphone maker OnePlus learned that lesson this morning. Just hours after launching a contest that encouraged women to draw the company’s logo on themselves and snap a selfie so that others could vote on the “50 most well-liked ladies”, the company has shut it all down.
The contest’s original description:
As we close in on the 200K mark for the number of registered forum users, OnePlus wants to give a shout out to the few but beautiful female fans in our community with our Ladies First contest.
In true gentlemen fashion and because chivalry is not dead, we are giving the lovely ladies of OnePlus a chance to skip the invite line and introduce themselves to us.
Ladies (and only ladies, sorry guys, ladies first), the rules are simple:
Draw the OnePlus logo on a piece of paper or on your hand/face/wherever (so we know it’s really you)
Take a photo of yourself with the OnePlus logo clearly visible
Post the photo in this thread
The 50 most well-liked ladies will receive an invite and a Never Settle t-shirt. Additionally, we will be giving out another 100 invites at random to any lady who participates in the contest. The contest begins today and ends on Friday. We will announce the winners on Monday.
Ladies, no nudity please.
Shortly after the contest went live, complaints started flooding in across Twitter and the company’s own forum. Members of the media — including our own Jordan Crook — called them out.
The company’s official comment on the matter:
Women make up half the world, and we want to help them be more involved in tech. We understand that our contest was in bad taste, and have therefore pulled it. All participants will be contacted for prizes.
We apologize and we will course correct for the future. At the same time, we would love to hear your feedback on how we can better get women involved in tech.
This isn’t the first time OnePlus has thrown a contest that clearly hadn’t been thought all the way through. Back in April, they threw a “Smash the Past” campaign that encouraged users to record themselves destroying their high-end smartphones in hopes of winning a OnePlus handset.
Because smashing a perfectly usable phone filled with glass, rare earth, and a rechargeable battery (read: nasty chemicals that like to explode) is a totally sane thing to do instead of, you know, selling it. Or donating it. Or doing literally anything else with it.