It came to my attention this morning that some things were said on TWiT this past week regarding the Forbes “The Web Celeb 25” list. Now, there’s been a lot of discussion on the blogosphere about the list, mostly in the vein of “Where’s Kevin Rose?” or “Who the heck is so-and-so political blogger?” This Week in tech discussed things in this vein too, but that part of the discussion isn’t what caused the controversy.
No, it was their comments about blogger Violet Blue. Violet is becoming (has become?) a San Francisco institution, and her columns on SFGate.com and her posts on her own blog, tiny nibbles, are both interesting and educational articles on sexuality. She’s a mainstay of the SF tech scene, and while we’ve never been introduced I admire her very much. Leo LaPorte is also someone I admire, and it was a lot of fun having him co-host the podcast the two times he did.
However, I am unsettled that Leo referred to Violet as “that porn girl” and insinuated that she didn’t deserve to be on that list. John Dvorak has since apologized for the things he said on the show , but I haven’t seen an apology from Leo. He’s a hugely influential tech personality, and it just seems so frustratingly old fashioned that this can happen .
I’m constantly asked what it’s like to be a female working in the tech industry, and let me tell you… it’s not always easy. True, it’s not easy for women working in many fields, but technology has always had that “boy’s club” feel to it. Do you know how many times I’ve been told that I should just stop bothering with technology, and maybe try porn for a living? Or that I’m obviously just a talking head that’s reading a script?
Maybe I’m taking this too personally. It just bothers me to think that for people who are so forward-thinking in one sense can be so backwards in another. Very disappointing.
Link to Violet’s post on SFGate.com
UPDATE: Oh my god… check out this comment:
Yeah, I noticed the old-school mentality of Leo in that episode (as well as in a few other actions in other podcasts and interactions).
No defending intended, but for what it’s worth, there is a porn star called Violet Blue: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violet_Blue_(porn_star)
This doesn’t say much for Leo’s research on the subject, especially since Forbes had links to the prover Violet Blue.
Could Leo have been Googling Violet and turned up the porn star by accident?! Could this all be a case of mistaken identity? What do you think?
We were right, he DID confuse the two. From SFGate.com:
My apologies – I did, in fact, confuse Violet Blue, podcaster, with Violet Blue, the porn star. Having taken Patrick’s advice and done a little research I now see my mistake. I am sorry if I have offended Ms. Blue, please accept my apologies.
It takes a big person to admit a mistake, so good for Leo. While this was a unfortunate misunderstanding, I’m glad that it gave people the chance to open a dialog on the subject. The comments on my blog post were very interesting to read, and I think it gave people something to think about.