The tech industry came under fire at the 9th Annual Crunchies Awards on Monday night – an event which aims to celebrate the best and brightest companies, founders and investors from the startup world. The event’s host, Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-star, actress, writer and comedian Chelsea Peretti, opened the evening with barbs aimed at the industry’s lack of diversity, and the failings of various on-demand businesses, like Uber and Postmates.
Peretti didn’t take it easy on the crowd – kicking things off with off-color remarks, and referring to the audience as filled with the “one percent” and “rich white men.”
“I hate all white men,” said Peretti. “Sorry everybody here.”
The irony was that this year’s Crunchies Awards made an effort to focus on diversity, with the addition of the first-ever award for diversity, the Include Diversity Award. The award went to the person who has made the biggest contributions to advancing diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. (Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls Code won the inaugural award later in the night.)
But as Peretti noted, the industry sometimes misses obvious opportunities to advance the causes it otherwise seems to tout.
“They asked me to speak on the issue of diversity in tech world,” said Peretti. “Let me float out a kooky idea: hire a non-white host.”
Also targeted in her opening bit was the on-demand economy, which included barbs at Uber for its crazy drivers (“recruited from mental hospitals,” she said) and its odd redesign.
Peretti joked that the Crunchies should only have one category: “viable business.” This category should be “Apple, Google, Facebook…and maybe Uber if they get this logo design thing under control.”
Postmates was skewered as well – for being late and bringing her cold food.
“Fastest-rising startup,” said Peretti of Postmates, referring to the category the startup was nominated in. “Depends on what you think fast is.”
Uber later won the award for the best overall startup, after which Peretti apologized for some of her earlier remarks, adding more sincerely that companies like Uber and Postmates had changed her life. “I’m worried the apps will just be gone from my phone,” she confessed.