Stanford MBAs Deny Video Degrades Women

A scene from the Stanford video now removed from YouTube

Stanford MBA students behind the school’s upcoming follies show say they disagree that a promotional video for the show degrades women. Nonetheless, the students agreed to remove the video from YouTube where it had remained public until recently.

Nearly two weeks after a controversy emerged over the video, a group calling itself the GSB Show Leadership Team (see photo below from the show’s website) has issued a statement defending the video.  “We unequivocally stand in support of women’s rights and disagree with the accusations that “Unfinished Business” promotes a culture of sexual assault or misogyny. We are deeply saddened that critics have conflated these terms with the consensual and positive sexuality portrayed by women and men alike in the video.”

Critics, including a Stanford University Law professor, had claimed the broadcast is degrading to women and portrays what could be considered a hostile environment. The slick and highly-produced video, set to Petros & Sol’s Unfinished Business, has been removed from the GSB Show website but until recently remained on YouTube. It was meant to promote the annual follies show on April 28th at the Fox Theater in Redwood City.


As soon as the five-minute video surfaced online, however, it immediately sparked outrage.  Among other things, the highly suggestive video showed women having a water fight with male students in scant clothing as well as a simulated orgy scene (see above).  Stanford law professor Michele Dauber tweeted the video, noting ““The problem is that this is what a hostile environment looks like. So it’s not funny — it’s degrading to women and diminishes all women in biz.”

The editor of TriplePundit, a website that covers sustainable business and the Triple Bottom Line, published a commentary under the headline “Stanford Business Students Release Ill-Conceived, Mysogynistic Music Video.” “This video promotes gender stereotypes and sexual harassment — issues one would hope Stanford students and faculty would be actively working against in the classroom,” wrote Editor Jen Boynton, who has an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School. She called the video “gross, unfunny and unbefitting” graduates who will some day be in leadership positions.

The GSB leadership team for the show doesn’t share that critical perspective of the video. “While we stand by the video, its creators, and performers, we also recognize that we cannot control its narrative or its impact at large,” according to the statement by the GSB Show Leadership Team. “Out of affection and respect for Stanford University, we’ve made the independent decision to take down the public video in order to not interfere with the serious steps that the university is taking to ensure that there is no tolerance for sexual assault on our campus.”

The GSB Show Leadership Team


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