Don't worry, the writer behind today's offensive-to-women-in-technology-Internet-thing, "The 40 Hottest Women in Tech" slideshow over at Complex, thinks the slideshow is crap, too. "I am just bummed out my content was totally changed," Luke Winkie, a freelancer for Complex told The Atlantic Wire. Winkie said he submitted a somewhat different version of the "hottest"—as in sexy—women in tech professions gallery. Instead of the 40 ladies chosen based primarily for their sex-pot looks, he wrote a story of "really interesting women" who were "far beyond" the list of 40 lookers on the site today, he said reiterating an alibi he made over in this statement on Twitlonger. His version was a compilation of "cool" and "mostly normal looking" women, he claimed in a tweet. "In my world we wouldn't ever have to create lists of women to make money on the internet," he added. "Unfortunately we dont have live in that world yet." Complex has not confirmed Winkie's side of the story or responded to our request for comment.
Update 5:00 p.m.: He has now apologized, sort of, tweeting: "does not change the fact that that name is going to be a bummer regardless, and for that I am sorry. I fucked up. I shouldn't have tried." That maybe contradicts what he told The Wire, suggesting he did have something to do with the "hottest women" concept.
When asked who got cut from his original list, Winkie couldn't remember anyone besides a Kenyan woman who had some sort of government watchdog website and video game designer Roberta Williams. "Basically the ones that weren't necessarily the hot ones were cut." All the information is on a Google Spreadsheet that has since been changed with the current women he said. I've asked him to share it with me, which he hasn't done yet. But, he claims that his editor cut out a "bunch" of people and changed a lot of the copy without telling him.
The timing of the slideshow couldn't have come at a more perfect time, given all the discussion about the terrible treatment women in the tech world so often receive, as a result of the recent controversial firing of developer relations "evangelist" Adria Richards. They're either demonized, like Richards, who a lot of angry anonymous Internet people pounced on for tweeting that a "dongle" joke at a conference was "not cool," which got a man fired. Or, in this case, sexualized. (For more on the terrible nature of this slideshow, Branch has a fun discussion that mostly consists of women tech writers offering their bodies for hire. That's all we're good for, right? ) Interestingly, Complex attempts to rise above that with the following dissonant intro:
Technology has been a boy's club for most of its existence. Just another unfortunate repercussion of the patriarchy. But that's been slowly changing, and over the last decade we've seen a number of wonderful, intelligent, and cunning women make inspiring strides in the field of technology
Winkie says that's his original copy, which would make sense since Complex sold the post with the art at the top of this post and the following tweet:
From Winkie's perspective Complex hit the wrong note on this one. "Complex tries to be innocuous more than anything else, but sometimes they cross the line," he said. But looking back they have a long history of "hottest women" slideshows.