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Resort CEO told women at B.C. conference to 'go clean some rooms and do some dishes'

daftandbarmy

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Well, that's usually a winning approach with large groups of professional women in BC. Not.



A B.C. resort executive who made a blatantly sexist comment during a supposed tribute to women at an industry conference has apologized and resigned from multiple boards, but some who were in the audience say there's still a much bigger problem to tackle.

Vivek Sharma, CEO of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in the Columbia Valley, made the remarks at the opening of the B.C. Tourism and Hospitality Conference in Richmond on March 9.

According to people who attended the conference, Sharma asked the women in the room to stand in honour of International Women's Day, but then after a round of applause told them to "go clean some rooms and do some dishes."

Trina Notman, vice-president of marketing and communications for Accent Hotels and Hotel Zed, was in the audience, and remembers hearing a collective groan at that remark.

"It was shocking. It was embarrassing — he was literally laughing at us. It felt terrible," she told CBC News.

It took nearly a week for Sharma to apologize publicly for what happened.

He said sorry in a statement released by the B.C. Hotel Association on Tuesday, saying he "deeply" regretted his "insensitive and inappropriate comments."

"Not only did my words cause distress for several women in the audience but I also offended many other delegates," he said.

Sharma announced he was resigning from his positions on the boards of the Tourism Industry Association of B.C. (TIABC) and the B.C. Hotel Association (BCHA).

The B.C. Chamber of Commerce says it has also accepted Sharma's resignation from its board of directors, and according to his LinkedIn profile, he is no longer on the advisory council for Thompson Rivers University's School of Business and Economics.

 

TCM621

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"It was shocking. It was embarrassing — he was literally laughing at us. It felt terrible," she told CBC News.

It was clearly a bad joke. Can we stop pretending he meant it seriously? He wasn't laughing at the women there, he was making a joke at how far things have come. It's the kind of joke you make around a couple of friends who know you not in the opening remarks of a conference. Doesn't mean he is a sexist asshole or anything.
 

mariomike

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Sounds like his "joke" did not go over well with the audience,

Sharma announced he was resigning from his positions on the boards of the Tourism Industry Association of B.C. (TIABC) and the B.C. Hotel Association (BCHA).

according to his LinkedIn profile, he is no longer on the advisory council for Thompson Rivers University's School of Business and Economics.
 

SupersonicMax

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It was clearly a bad joke. Can we stop pretending he meant it seriously? He wasn't laughing at the women there, he was making a joke at how far things have come. It's the kind of joke you make around a couple of friends who know you not in the opening remarks of a conference. Doesn't mean he is a sexist asshole or anything.
These jokes don’t have their place in any environment, nevermind coming from an executive in a professional environment.
 

dimsum

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It was clearly a bad joke. Can we stop pretending he meant it seriously? He wasn't laughing at the women there, he was making a joke at how far things have come. It's the kind of joke you make around a couple of friends who know you not in the opening remarks of a conference. Doesn't mean he is a sexist asshole or anything.
Sorry - "go clean some rooms and do some dishes" isn't exactly a joke at how far things have come.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Never, ever would I consider making such a joke at a public meeting. You got to be utterly stupid or utterly arrogant to think it's a good idea, likley he is the latter and likley poorly treats the people around him because of his previous status. That shit went out of style decades ago, good riddance.
 

Good2Golf

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It was clearly a bad joke. Can we stop pretending he meant it seriously? He wasn't laughing at the women there, he was making a joke at how far things have come. It's the kind of joke you make around a couple of friends who know you not in the opening remarks of a conference. Doesn't mean he is a sexist asshole or anything.
No, it wasn’t a ‘joke’…it was a totally tone-deaf insult.
 

TCM621

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Are you all so completely oblivious as to the concept of humour that I have to break down why someone might think this was funny? Ok here goes. He is speaking at an event celebrating women in the workplace. That is the opposite of being in the kitchen. By saying 'get back in the kitchen", he is commenting on old stereotypes with the understanding they are no longer accurate because he is hosting an event highlighting that.

I mean no one thinks he actually believes these women should be back in the kitchen do they? I completely agree it was a stupid thing to say in today's climate, at an event full of people he doesn't know. But this idea that him making a bad joke is evidence he is some misogynist who hates women in s ridiculous.
 

brihard

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Are you all so completely oblivious as to the concept of humour that I have to break down why someone might think this was funny? Ok here goes. He is speaking at an event celebrating women in the workplace. That is the opposite of being in the kitchen. By saying 'get back in the kitchen", he is commenting on old stereotypes with the understanding they are no longer accurate because he is hosting an event highlighting that.

I mean no one thinks he actually believes these women should be back in the kitchen do they? I completely agree it was a stupid thing to say in today's climate, at an event full of people he doesn't know. But this idea that him making a bad joke is evidence he is some misogynist who hates women in s ridiculous.
No, we get it. He was dumb enough to think he could say this and that it would somehow, conceivably, be taken as an edgy but acceptable joke. Him being brutally tone deaf enough to think an insult could come across as a joke simply because he intends it to is his problem, and he’s paying the price for terrible judgment.

The fact that he could have even thought this would be funny or acceptable is indicative of it being likely that his own attitude still has a ways to go to catch up with modern times.
 

Good2Golf

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Are you all so completely oblivious as to the concept of humour that I have to break down why someone might think this was funny? Ok here goes. He is speaking at an event celebrating women in the workplace. That is the opposite of being in the kitchen. By saying 'get back in the kitchen", he is commenting on old stereotypes with the understanding they are no longer accurate because he is hosting an event highlighting that.

So you feel justified to judge all of us for misunderstanding both him and humour?

I mean no one thinks he actually believes these women should be back in the kitchen do they? I completely agree it was a stupid thing to say in today's climate, at an event full of people he doesn't know.

Seems at this point like you’re setting him up for acknowledgement of a complete lack of awareness, empathy, understanding, appropriateness, insight, compassion…..then….

But this idea that him making a bad joke is evidence he is some misogynist who hates women in s ridiculous.

…you let him off with a forgiving ‘just a bad joke’ not anything anti-woman.

Perhaps it really isn’t “all of (us),” but actually you who (still) doesn’t get it.

IT WAS’T A JOKE. IT WAS AN INSULT, INTENTIONS NOTWITHSTANDING.


But feel free to tell us again why we’re wrong…
 

GK .Dundas

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Yeah, hockey mom stories and inquests and the reasons for them just do not mix.
As near as I can tell there was a collective wince from HER side of the house. I'm told it was like watching a train.wreak in slow motion.
 
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