EDIT: Comments on this post are now locked. Some jackhole came onto MY blog and insulted my wife. I cannot be fair, impartial or unbiased about that.

Full disclosure: I am a former Permanent Member of the Drupal Association. While I am no longer associated with the organization, I do have reasonably good knowledge of its inner workings and maintain contact with many people within the structure.

First, let's set the stage. Right now, the open source community is dealing with many high profile issues of sexism and gender discrimination, some of them more serious than others. In particular, O'Reilly Associates recently was forced by community pressure to enact a sexual harassment policy at future conferences after a community member was sexually harassed at an earlier conference and the organization gave no official response. It is notable that this was achieved through community pressure, much of it angry and bitter over both the treatment that happened but also over ORA itself doing nothing to prevent this in the future. O'Reilly was forced to acquiesce, and I personally believe that this has worked out about as well as it can for everybody, given the circumstances. It would've been better if ORA had reacted better up front, but as communities, we are able to enact change through group pressure.

Yesterday afternoon (late evening in the UK) an inappropriate tweet went out from the official DrupalCon twitter account that is controlled by the Drupal Association. The tweet itself was reasonably innocuous, but it was mostly inappropriate. It said:

"Want to reconnect with that attractive #drupal designer/developer you saw at last year's #DrupalCon? Check out [url redacted]"

(The above URL led to the DrupalCon UK 2011 attendees page).

First, just how inappropriate this was has been a matter of some debate. In particular, some people think it's cultural, and that this kind of joke is acceptable in the UK, where the upcoming DrupalCon is to be held. I have had conversations with several very respectable people who don't really understand what the problem is. I don't blame them. It can be difficult to perceive how this kind of thing will be received by others who exist in a different climate.

Let me be blunt: I don't think this tweet was sexist, per se, nor do I think it was seriously telling people to judge DrupalCon attendees based on their attractiveness. It was clearly an attempt at a pub joke. The problem is, given the environment I earlier described, some portion of the community is feeling very raw about issues of sexually predatory behavior. And this tweet can be easily read as inviting creepy, predatory behavior by suggesting people look over the DrupalCon attendee page based on attractiveness. I realize the exact wording isn't saying that, but twitter, especially, ends up subject to interpretation.

But I live on the internet. I've worked in an industry where personal internet safety has been an issue, so it's something I end up thinking a lot about even though it's no longer part of my job. I've seen things escalate from simple arguments to personal attacks to threats of rape. Sure, this isn't that. That said, DrupalCon is a professional conference put on by a professional organization made up largely of volunteers. It is important that professional behavior be maintained, and to distance themselves from the current charged environment. As an open source community, we are about contribution, creativeness, inventiveness. Had this tweet used the word "interesting" rather than "attractive" it would've been a fun marketing bit.

Alas, to many, it came off as creepy and inviting stalkery behavior. It is not something that professionals should have said. But let's be fair, professionals make errors, too. But, and there's my giant but, there are ways of addressing these errors and there are ways of exacerbating these errors.

After a bit less than an hour, the tweet was deleted, replaced with a much more innocuous tweet, and Jacob Redding offered an explanation from his personal account, not the account that made the tweet. Unfortunately, the explanation was tepid.

"Today was a fun day at #drupalcon HQ as we gear up for DrupalCon London. A mistweet and we're back to normal"

It was referred to as a mistweet, and no apology was made, nor was there any real explanation given. After the community responded with criticism, another followup:

"A bad tweet went out on @drupalcon, it was caught early on and taken down. It was not sent out as sexist but rather a mistake of language."

At this point, community consternation began to grow. For many, it's difficult to see what the problem is here. The problem is, in my not-so-humble opinion, that Jacob Redding is the Executive Director of the Drupal Association. This is a paid position, funded primarily by sponsorship of DrupalCons and to a lesser extention, donations from the community. In a very real sense, he is paid by the Drupal Community and in a sense, he is our employee. Or at the very least, he should be our representative.

But instead of offering an apology and leaving it at that, he offers excuses. Several of us pointed out, in varying levels of criticism, that the community deserved an apology. This is the response:

"@nugoat @walkah @emmajanedotnet @merlinofchaos, it's 7:30pm and past midnight in London. We're reacting as fast as we can."

Then:

"The @drupalcon team meant no ill will with the bad tweet today and we're adjusting internally. I apologize if people were offended."

There are two problems. First: he had time to tweet. The time needed to write an apology is no more than the time needed to engage us and tell us how little time is available. Second: an official apology should not be so tepid. Why should this apology be qualified? There is no apology for what actually happened but instead only an apology if you were offended. In fact, I wrote what I thought would be a perfect apology, and that is the reason I'm mentioned in this earlier tweet:

"Hey @jredding, I think what you meant was: "That tweet was in poor taste and I apologize on behalf of DrupalCon and the Drupal Association.""

I can't speak for other members of the community, but for me, things should end right there. We have an apology, albeit a tepid one. But the weakness of the apology has left an unfortunate taste in some people's mouths.

This morning, Jacob posted on the official Drupal Assocation blog. There are some high points and some low points.

The high points: A proper apology is made, though some have indicated it could be better. For me, I'm happy with this apology. It's correct: the tweet was out of bounds for the kind of conference our community should be running, and it works. But...oh and here's the but. It does kind of miss the point.

It then proceeds to attack the community for responding. But why? We've proven that's how the internet works. Perceived bad behavior is piled on. Sometimes this is good, sometimes this is bad, but it is effective and it is all people have. The criticism of the criticism can actually be problematic, because it is a silencing tactic. But also, and this is the galling part, it demonstrates that Jacob doesn't really get what was wrong, and thinks that the community itself, or at least the part that responded, is more wrong. (Disclosure: He does attempt to separate constructive response from destructive response. I agree with this separation; destructive response is, well destructive. That said...)

For my part, I don't know that this would've gone anywhere like this far if the first, or possibly second tweet out of @jredding or @drupalcon or @drupalassociation had cut & pasted the apology I provided. What more can people on the internet really ask for? An admission of guilt and an apology, and an attempt to do better in the future, right? This is the failure, here. Jacob needs to lead, and he leads through actions. I know he didn't make the initial tweet, but that doesn't matter. He's the one in charge, he was the one taking control of the situation, and he blew the opportunity to defuse it, right then and there, by taking responsibility.

I think this is important. Because as a member of the community, money that I helped funnel into the DA by promoting Drupal with my open source software goes to Jacob, and I have no real control over him or his actions. And I want that community to be strong and I want its leaders able to take charge and take responsibility. This affair should not have ended with Jacob Redding sending recriminations to the community. This affair should've ended with an admission, an apology, a promise to do better and nothing more.

Comments

This echoes my exact sentiments. The tech community, as a whole, has a huge problem with making these sorts of off-handed jokes that only help to perpetuate an atmosphere of over-sexualization that causes lots of problems for people of all genders and sexualities.

Couldn't have said it better myself, thanks for putting this out there - I think the expectations are high (and rightly so) with one of the very few people in a paid position with the community, and we expect a more "ombudsman" type response when things like this come up. Hopefully we will soon stop even having to deal with these kinds of faux pas, and that as we go people will learn it's better to apologize sincerely and immediately.

Jacob should have ended his apology halfway through and not provided any excuses. Otherwise, I'm sure he's brought many skills to the Drupal Association. It's too bad that writing sincere official apologies hasn't turned out to be one of them.

We all stand to learn from this. Let's hope it doesn't mar a good Drupalcon.

Thank you, Earl (and others), for making sure that this issue was addressed. I didn't have the energy to fight the fight this time, so I didn't say anything... but the tweet did make me uncomfortable. My immediate reaction was "Thank God I didn't put my picture up". In tech communities, I find that I am often made quite aware that the overwhelming majority are paying too much attention to my appearance. It actually made me shy away from pursuing computer science in college because I felt very uncomfortable in those situations.

Fortunately, Drupal changed that for me. I finally felt reasonably comfortable that I wouldn't have to deal with feeling like an "other" all the time. And it wasn't just because of awesome women like Angie and Ariane (and so many others) who make sure that the Drupal community is a comfortable space for people of all genders and sexualities, but also because of the strong male allies like Eaton and chx and, as in this case, yourself. Thank you for continuing to be a strong voice on these issues.

This is a great post about the nature of online criticism and appropriate conduct in open source. I wrote a hypothetical apology (how I'd write it if this happened at my nonprofit community organization) on Jacob's post right before I saw this, which I'll quote as it pretty directly follows the conclusion.

"We apologize for the tweet we sent out last night. [DETAILS of Tweet]. Whatever our intentions, this message was inappropriate and alienating. Sexual harassment and stereotyping are wrong, and are particularly harmful in collaborative environments like open source. We have asked the person who wrote the tweet to step away from their volunteer duties for the next month. We promise better editorial oversight of Drupal Association communications, and renew our commitment to Drupal's Code of Conduct."

I personally would leave out the punishment. People make mistakes. As a community, it is our interest to point out these mistakes with the intent of preventing future mistakes. It's when people continue to make the same mistake that the punishment is merited.

To my mind, this is one of the most important points that have been made in this entire discussion.

I agree completely, and I think the response (really, a question of justice) depends on community standards and prior history. Mistakes shouldn't be subjected to unfair or disproportional punishments, but asking someone to take a week or two to cool it after pissing off a lot of people might be appropriate in some cases, and it definitely would be good for DA and other community players to have some internal standards in this regard. At FreeGeek Chicago where I often deal with conduct issues we give warnings for inappropriate conduct (like teenagers making gay jokes) and escalate after repeated warnings or serious violations to asking people to take time away from the organization, ranging from the rest of the day (e.g. repeated homophobic jokes), several weeks/months (sexual harassment, direct racist/sexist disparagement of another volunteer, violent conflict) to indefinite/permanent (physically assaulting another volunteer).

I second the motion that this point is important, and should be stressed.

Thank you for the clear headed response that sums up the situation so perfectly.

After Dries' problems this time last year, we should all be wiser. But saying that, it's hard not to feel equally depressed about this reaction. Earl, you've just written a novel length explication of a tweet that you admit you are in two minds over, which ends in a fairly clear insinuation that the guy who posted it might be unsuited to his job. I wouldn't argue with criticisms of the tweet. But given Jacob's apologized it all starts to look a bit anal. What was wrong with a quiet word in person? Surely that's better than shredding him in public? Can you imagine how it looks? For the second summer in a row there's a stormy sideshow at Drupalcon. Newcomers will be wondering what happened to the famously friendly and welcoming community. Some of them will be uncomfortable because they saw sexism in the tweet. Others will be uneasy over the catspaw treatment of its sender. What I'm saying is that holding a public inquisition the PR mess is doubled. Jacob's a thoroughly decent guy, one of the nicest you'll meet. He made an error of judgement here, presumably under the whirlwind pressure of prepping things for next week. He retracted it quickly and apologized. That should be the end of the matter.

Yes, I understand how this looks. While I cannot control what is perceived, my hope is that from the outside this will appear that there was an issue within the community and that loud community voices have tried to fairly and accurately represent the situation so that we can learn from the mistake.

I have no ability to take Jacob aside and have a private word. Nor would it have helped. Other people would still be upset if I got an apology from Jacob in private. People who weren't directly involved would not see the "other" side of the story that Jacob posted on the official Drupal Association channel.

This post is an attempt to summarize the situation and make it understandable, and point out what I think happened and should have happened, no more, no less. Yes, I think Jacob made an error and yes, I think it's a failure of leadership. I also tried to stress why I think it's important. I realize you disagree, but unfortunately I do think that it's important and I do think that Jacob needs to be held to task. He is not a community volunteer, he is a paid employee of the Drupal Association and he controls MILLIONS of community dollars. His position comes with excess scrutiny, and the only tools we, the community, have are our blogs, our twitters and our community communication.

In this rare case, I'm trying not to be an ass about it, but I am trying to use my voice for good. I think it's important that people know and understand this position. Comments and tweets make it clear that not everyone understands that, at least the people I'm in contact with, are more angry about Jacob's response than the tweet itself.

Saying something publicly shows that we aren't complicit in the sentiment. It's important to speak up and out about these issues if we are ever going to stop these problems in the tech community. As community organizers, we have to be held to a higher standard - the safety and ability to feel comfortable of the community members and attendees is our first responsibility.

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

My main problem was that this was not the first time this has happened for DrupalCon London. When WordPress.com was severely hacked in early-to-mid April an official @drupalcon tweet went out on April 14 to the effect of "Did your Wordpress.com site get hacked? Come to DrupalCon London to learn about real security." It was insensitive, unnecessary, and eventually deleted.

I wasn't personally offended by the tweet, but I agree that the response showed a lack of leadership. What really disturbed me was this:

DrupalCon is led by a group of paid employees that are supported by a strong team of volunteers from the Drupal Community. These volunteers dedicate hours of their personal time to produce an amazing event that is unparalleled. There is simply no other conference like DrupalCon. Part of what makes our conference great is the level of autonomy these volunteers have with the event, which ranges from session selection to online communication.

I understand that the purpose of that passage was to explain how things really happened, and presumably to prevent anyone from blaming volunteers, but it reads to me like the opposite of that. Nobody knew it was a volunteer that posted it until Jacob posted it, and IMO nobody should have, since the account is an official DrupalCon account and is the responsibility of the paid DC staff. In my life and business I try to live by the principle that leaders own mistakes and share successes (obviously you can't always live by it, but it's a good one to strive for). In this case it seems that in order to protect the paid DC staff that a volunteer was blamed for the episode, and as a former volunteer coordinator this strikes me as a terrible precedent.

I think this shows that when someone is acting on behalf of a group/organization and moreover being paid, this person must strive for the group's ideals, hopes and aspirations. One must be hyper sensitive and considerate when they do something that strays from that ideal. It's true for CEOs, employees, presidents, politicians and leaders. Though the person's actions when looked at the individual may be subjectively innocuous, we all want the association/group to be represented in an ideal light. As Earl said, the difference of -one- word made all the difference between a good and bad tweet. The association pays people on its behalf so the onus is on the person to represent its ideals. Yes, there must be apologies from the group and the individual and move on. Punishment or reprimand? Let the group deal with that. I think the damage to his reputation is enough personally but I digress. I'm not sure, but there must be something in the association's documents that says the members must be on their best behavior when they sign up.

I follow 36 people on twitter and today I got 189 tweets in about one hour, how the hell does anyone keep up with this twitter. really .. is no one working?

This post perfectly sums up how I felt after reading the apology.

I am part of a Drupal community that tries hard to be welcoming to all of its members, not one that would allow a potentially harmful statement to stand un-challenged. The freedom to crack jokes in official channels is not important enough to risk that.

Thanks for using your visibility in the Drupal community to turn the attention back to why this issue is important.

I see there's only one point behind this, "Safety".

Thing is, Drupal people are nice guys, educated, professional which means many have very good moral. Drupal community is also feel like family, because a lot of commitment is done togather. And what Earl done here is reflected that, he is a gentleman getting worry about safety of others, which is a good thing. We sure don't want someone to do bad thing to anyone in our community.

Just imagined your beloved look hot, and someone targetted her on DrupalCon because of this (When you have family, kinds. This kind of concern will come naturally for anything you do.).

Lesson learned. Anyone should think about safety of our family (community) first, and this kind of things would hardly happened. Any marketing can be safe and clean.

I think this is purely a cultural difference between Europe and the US. In Europe sex is more accepted (for instance in movies), in America violence is more accepted. Most of the most offended people are Americans I think. As a European I don't see any problem, am not offended and also my wife who studied gender and I checked this issue with to be sure does just as me not understand the fuss that is created here.

I totally don't see any problem with the tweet and absolutely don't read any of the creepy, stalky, sexist preditor, rape, ... between the lines that are completely not there. I cannot get it even how people can read so much bad stuff in between the lines of an innocent tweet. Just read what it says, the rest is cultural or personal interpretation.

I don't like that people say "the community is offended", when for me it seems like it is only the American part of the community. I don't like that they in quite negative even agressive way try to impose their culturally different ideas and oversensitiveness on anything that just a little bit could be interpreted as having something to do with sex. Even my FTP app is rated 18+ on the iphone, but that doesn't mean it is something only 18+, thats interpretation and is culturally determined where the line is. That line is obvious different in Europe than it is in the US and its a sign of tolerance to accept each others differences.

IMHO the tweet is not offensive so there should not be explicit apologies that it was offensive as the definition of what is offensive is a cultural thing, that is different in which continent you live. It might be interpreted as offensive by Americans, but that does not mean it *is* offensive. Jacob Redding reacted very appropriately.

Honestly Earl, I think you are overreacting a bit. The tweet was very harmless. To interprete "predatory behavior" into that is not fair. The community consists of human beeings and not asexual robots. So a tiny bit of emotional/teasing language should be allowed, normal and just human. I think this is not unprofessional. At leat in Europe is normal. (Not to mention countries like France and Italy, that another league :). Cheers and pease calm down, I hope I don't upset you again.

As I read this it wasn't an reaction to the tweet in itself as much as an reaction to how it was followed up and how the community response was addressed.

Even if it's only North Americans who are uncomfortable with this, does that make it any less important? I don't think any community members should be made to feel creeped out before they are about to travel (some on their own) to somewhere far from home. You can brush it off, but it really will make some people feel uncomfortable. And that is only half the point, most of this post is about how the whole incident was managed, which is very important with how the community is growing!

As a European, I find these sorts of discussions mind numbing, especially when led by North Americans.

The line of reasoning always seems to be that anyone who gets offended, for whatever reason, is completely right to cause a total shitstorm, while the person who caused the offense is completely to blame, even if it was the result of a misinterpretation. And if they don't immediately grovel and apologize for what happened in other people's heads, then they're being irresponsible, insensitive apes. And in fact, let's call a spade a spade: it's always posed as the primitive caveman offending the delicate, sensitive woman, who is then are forced to sit down and explain this sensitive issue to this poor man-child.

In reality, people have differing perspectives, and the intent of the sender is as important as the mindset of the receiver. Neither party has a monopoly on emotions.

A female friend of mine related how she moved to Italy, and initially had a huge issue with the fact that the entire country is essentially a giant 'construction site' where men whistle at women constantly. She felt threatened and intimidated. It took her a while to realize though that, unlike in North America, none of these men had any intention of actually going after her. They were simply handing out a compliment to someone they felt deserved it. The perceived threat was non-existent, and merely a result of projecting one culture directly onto another.

To me, this seems what's happening in the Drupal community. North American values and biases are being projected onto a global community. And the North American propensity to take offense at any given turn is taken as a universal rule. Stop taking yourselves so seriously, you'll be much better off.

I am a North American who has been living in Sweden for 9 months. Something you need to realize is that men in Europe treat women much much much differently than in North America. The attitude of men in North America is predominately predatory. This is not just women being over-sensitive, it is a well-founded fear on their part, and they have every reason to be fearful and worried about it. I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH, and I realize how hard it is to understand. This is not the problem of North American women being sensitive it is a problem of North American men actually being raging brutes (generalizations to be sure but the differences really are vast.) And while you may feel that it is the North American women forcing their culture onto a global world, I would argue that it is a global world not taking their concerns seriously and waving them off as being silly. Remember this is the third year in a row this has happened, and that to me reflects an organization that are saying they simply dont care about these concerns. And as I said here

https://association.drupal.org/node/1554#comment-1379

we can ultimately decide 'do we want to offend and hurt these people or is it more important that we are logically right?' If we as a community feel it is more important to be right even at the cost of alienating a vast and productive and really amazing subset of our population, well, you guys have fun and I'll find another project that reflects my values.

I'd hate to sound condescending, but you do illustrate my point perfectly.

First, let's be clear: what has happened for the third year in a row is that some people have taken offense and created a big fuss around perceived sexism. But, what triggered it in each case was unique. This time, it's about a completely gender-less, sex-less tweet that simply encourages you to go look at the gallery of attendees who have chosen to put their picture online.

Second, you're demonstrating exactly what I was saying: you acknowledge that this is mainly an issue for North Americans, and you're propagating the North American attitude that mollie-coddling people's feelings is more important than being level-headed people. You're applying specific cultural values that are caused by specific, local climate, and projecting them across an ocean as if they have global validity... and all in the name of sensitivity?

Elsewhere in this thread, someone says that people shouldn't feel "creeped out when going somewhere far from home". I thought the whole point of traveling was to go outside your own norms and comfort zones, and encounter something new and different. People seem to forget that that inherently implies going to a place that makes you (somewhat) uncomfortable.

Couldn't agree more.

I support the anti-sexism movement inside and outside the Drupal community where I can. But this case is completely absurd.

Want to reconnect with that attractive #drupal designer/developer you saw at last year's #DrupalCon? Check out [url redacted]

Wondering whether anyone noticed that there is absolutely no gender in this? Only women are attractive, or what? And what does attractive mean to begin with?

Shouldn't we be much more worried about the vocabulary of the oh-so-offended people instead? Attractive is a simple common synonym of fascinating, interesting, appealing, etc.

at·trac·tive

  1. providing pleasure or delight, especially in appearance or manner; pleasing; charming; alluring: an attractive personality.
  2. arousing interest or engaging one's thought, consideration, etc.: an attractive idea; an attractive price.
  3. having the quality of attracting.

The entire criticism is offending on its own. Apologizing for the wording used is ridiculous.

Personally I was not offended by the tweet and I liked the tweet:

"The @drupalcon team meant no ill will with the bad tweet today and we're adjusting internally. I apologize if people were offended."

All is wel that ends well, everybody is addressed... offended people and non-offended people.

Kudos to Hans Rossel, I believe a cultural difference is very much present.

The tweet was just not offensive, nor was it encouraging stalking, sexual predation or anything else that anyone in this shitstorm has levelled at it. It was a little bit nudge nudge wink wink, but as a english lad I hear vastly worse than that from all the boys and girls in the office all day every day.

The apology was correct, he apologised for offense caused because he didn't mean to cause it, but he has no reason to apologise for the tweet as it was not offensive, you just chose to intepret it that way. Giving him a dressing down in public and critiqueing his every move is uncalled for.

I agree with those voicing their befuddlement about the amount of noise this little tweet made. Maybe you could be "creeped out" but it was clearly with no bad intent. Actually I know a lot of people who found the tweet quite funny. Are we all "creepy" or in other ways problematic?
Simply voicing that you find that tweet problematic or whatever isn't enough: A public apology has to be made and quickly there are those who don't find this enough. Witchhuntesque.
Really people: Calm down and make a fuss when really something bad happens. This inquisition for basically a non-issue is absolutely out-of-proportion. One tweet, a joke you didn't get and/or really disliked and now THIS?

Being from the states I really don't think this is a cultural thing. There have been several incidences in the past year that have been completely blown out of proportion (most often from both sides) and each time they're getting more and more trivial. The tweet says:

"Want to reconnect with that attractive #drupal designer/developer you saw at last year's #DrupalCon? Check out [url redacted]"

It does not say... "Hey everybody! It's stalking time! Head over to [url] to find some women to make uncomfortable."

"I don't think any community members should be made to feel creeped out before they are about to travel (some on their own) to somewhere far from home."

I agree, they shouldn't be made to feel creeped out, but no one is doing that but THEMSELVES! You all talk about people feeling uncomfortable in the community and being ostracized due to sexism/sexual harassment, etc. It's ironic that the people that talk about this so much are the ones actually ostracizing other community members. It's turned into a "my way or the highway" type of attitude in this community. I know a dozen women in the community who have disagreed with every of the "OMG SEXISM!!!" BS incidents in the past year. But they're all too afraid to speak up because of this attitude. Hell, look at the commenters in this thread, nearly everyone who disagrees even slightly is posting as anonymous. I would have never posted as anonymous a year ago, but quite frankly I'm afraid of being attacked for my opinions now and I'm sure everyone else posting as anon is in the same boat (But good on you Hans! You're braver than I am).

And now let's throw Jacob to the wolves! This has all turned into a big witch hunt. You're all LOOKING for issues to find with what people are saying. I'm sorry, but I just don't see it here. You're welcome to your opinion of course, but I don't think that needs to involve burning people at the stake.

Shame on the tweeter for having a sense of humour. We all take ourselves too seriously for that now.

Again, please try and read what the tweet actually says, not what you want it to say. Intent is important. This drama is completely unnecessary.

What I don't understand is how that tweet is really considered sexist? Can women not find men attractive? I am not saying the tweet doesn't have problems (it does kind of encourage creeper behavior) but when I read that tweet I didn't think that it was sexist at all.

This debate is insane! It seems North Americans have some serious issues with sexuality in general?! Not to mention that the drupalcon tweet was'n sexist AT ALL. Crazy stuff! I haven't noticed so far, that there is a cultural gap THAT deep between America and Europe...

Sexist is not the same as sexually charged/having sexual connotations. What I remark to merlinofchaos with a sexual remark, nobody thinks twice. As they shouldn't. However, I would never make such a remark to him in front of a client, nor would I make any sort of remark regarding anyone's looks or physical appearance as part of a reason to get in touch with them professionally nor would I make them on the part of Logrus, Inc - any more than I'd say "Hire Logrus, inc because we have cute kids!" . I don't expect another professional organization to do that either.

Also, seriously, Greg Dunlap is 500000000% correct - most of you probably have never had to deal with a situation that starts with what someone thinks is a perfectly normal and innocent remark. I have. It sucks. Stop acting like because it hasn't happened to you it isn't valid.