Biotech party organizers don’t seem to have learned the lesson from two years ago, when an infamous life science party in San Francisco with hired models in short dresses sparked outrage. This time, a biotech industry party held last week in Boston during the BIO annual meeting reportedly featured topless female dancers sporting logos of some of the event’s sponsors on their bodies, as first reported by BioCentury.
The party, PABNAB (The Party at Bio Not Associated with Bio), now in its 14th year and not part of BIO, was meant to be “edgy and artsy”, according to one of the organizers, Martina Molsbergen, CEO of C14 Consulting Group, in a comment to BioCentury. The party’s organizers have not shied away from racy marketing and entertainment in the past. But BIO chairman John Maraganore told BioCentury that this kind of event was unacceptable. According to Stat, he said that any BIO member that sponsors the same event next year will no longer be welcome in the trade group.
Some of the two dozen or so sponsors of the party told BioCentury, Stat and Bloomberg that they did not know about the dancers ahead of time or that their logos would be used that way. (One of the event’s sponsors, EBD Group, is owned by the same parent company as Xconomy.)
In the wake of the 2016 party, the organizers, LifeSci Advisors, apologized and helped fund a program that prepares women for boardroom positions. Time will tell whether the fallout from this latest party will lead to any further change to promote diversity and inclusion in the life sciences.