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MIT Media Lab's SXSW Wristbands Criticized As 'Sexist' (PHOTO)

03/12/2013 11:23 am ET

MIT Media Lab had a party on Saturday in Austin, Texas, at the South by Southwest festival to "showcase exciting media innovation projects" along with the Knight Foundation and Mozilla. But much of the buzz around the event wasn't related to the digital frontier -- it was focused on the event's wristbands, which were criticized as "sexist."

South by Southwest -- or SXSW for the uninitiated -- is an annual festival in March showcasing the latest in media, music, technology and education ideas. With so many groups and companies vying for attention, and considering Austin is quite proud of being weird, many people go out of their way to get noticed -- like TaskRabbit's van straight out of "Dumb & Dumber." But some people think the MIT Media Lab took it a bit too far with their raunchy wristbands:

Adeline Koh, who teaches at Duke University and Richard Stockton College, posted a picture of of the wristbands on Tumblr, asking "WTF MIT MEDIA LAB?!?!?" She added "#Brogrammer" and "#Sexism."

On Monday, MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito published blog post to address the backlash over the wristband, blaming it on the venue, Parish Underground.

"They were offensive and in no way reflect the sentiments of the MIT Media Lab," Ito wrote. "These wristbands were provided by the venue, and while we didn’t realize what was printed on them until after they'd been handed out, we should have prevented the situation from occurring in the first place."

Ito added that MIT firmly supports women in computer science fields and that they "don't like –- and certainly don't want to support or disseminate –- offensive messaging."

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