Naomi “Sexy Cyborg” Wu versus Make, last round! The Chinese maker didn’t only win the deepest apologies from the boss of the American group Make Media (that publishes Make Magazine and produces the Maker Faires) she will also feature on the cover of the next Make Magazine and will be invited to the Maker Faire USA 2018!
Reminder of the previous episodes: two weeks ago, Dale Dougherty, founder and boss of Make Media, published a strange tweet, in which he accused the Chinese maker Naomi Wu of not being what she said she was, before referring to a blog post accusing her of being only a cover for the projects realized by another maker –male and white. The tweet was quickly deleted but it damaged Naomi Wu’s reputation and was largely commented on by the maker community. The very next day, the boss of Make published an “open letter to Naomi Wu (and to the makers worldwide)”. Too little, too late…
Facing the international media thrashing, in which Makery took part on November 14 by giving Sexy Cyborg a chance to speak, and the persistent discontent in the community, Dale Dougherty reiterated his apologies online on November 19, this time coupled with an action plan to guarantee a better diversity within the Make Media empire. The whole lot translated into Mandarin.
“Two weeks ago, I did something really stupid,” he begins, before admitting that his accusation was the reflection of his “unconscious biases” and that “the negative impact of my tweets were amplified by the fact that I, a white, Western, male CEO of a key company in the Maker community, publicly questioned a young, female, self-employed Chinese maker.” “It was completely inappropriate of me to question Naomi’s identity,” he adds. He then assures: “Naomi is what she says she is.”
So, words but also actions. Responding to Naomi’s charges on diversity in the maker movement (a fight she has been engaged in for a long time), the boss of maker Media promised:
– Naomi Wu will feature on the cover of the next Make Magazine;
– Make will invite her and help her obtain a VISA to a USA Maker Faire in 2018 (she regretted not being invited to the Maker Faire in Shenzhen, her town, last year, and only being offered a secondary slot this year) ;
– Make will be publishing a diversity audit of the group, and will be setting goals to drive progress on these issues;
– Make will be assembling advisory boards to work with Maker Faire organizers to ensure these events are representative of the entire community and will invite Naomi “to be part of any advisory board for events in China.”
An adequate response, says Naomi Wu this time in a tweet:
I consider the issue with me resolved. This apology is more comprehensive and I have been promised tools with which I can repair my reputation here in China. https://t.co/smPygIJKeh
— Naomi Wu (@RealSexyCyborg) November 19, 2017
“It took quite a bit of negotiation but the outcome is good I think, comments Naomi for Makery. There are still going to be people who only remember the negative comments and not the apology, but being on the cover is certainly a strong counter-argument.”
“We have learned a lot in the past week here at Make,” claims Dale Dougherty. To pursue discussions, Make is in fact appealing to “our community.” “What conversations are you having around issues of inclusion in the maker movement?” As it happens, at Makery too, we would like to hear you on these subjects. Do not hesitate to comment or write to us here.