The BIM community has reacted to sexist jokes told during the official entertainment at “The Hammers” Construction Computing Awards, held last week.
Comedian Josh Daniels’ jokes led to a chorus of disapproval on the night, with at least two attendees, Casey Rutland, associate director at Arup Associates, and Rebecca De Cicco, a BIM consultant at Digital Node, walking out of the event.
De Cicco tweeted: “Unacceptable comedy humour at the #hammers tonight and in support of @WomeninBIM I took a stand and walked out. #diversity.”
Rutland tweeted: “#Hammers2015 @CCMagAndAwards I suggest you never book that comedian again. I stood up and left. #sexism & #diversity is not a joke.”
BIM+ contributor David Shepherd was also among those Tweeting on the night about the sexist humour at the awards, colloquially known as The Hammers.
He tweeted “#hammers2015 is not a working mens club. Think women are owed an apology for sexist ‘humour’. What next? Roy ‘Chubbie’ Brown.”
Social media consultant Su Butcher led a subsequent Twitter storm, writing on her blog Just Practising that Daniels had “decided that a construction audience was a good one for some sexist jokes”.
According to Butcher’s post Daniels singled out an all-female table and told them “oh you must be the feminists then”. When challenged by a male audience member who happened to be Irish, he launched into a tirade of Irish jokes.
She wrote: “You might be thinking, but Su, it’s just a few harmless jokes, a bit of comedy entertainment – what’s the harm? Have you had a sense of humour bypass?
"Yep I can understand that perspective, but the thing is, this isn’t a bit of harmless fun. Sexism in construction is damaging our industry. It is damaging the reputation of our companies, and making it difficult for them to recruit.”
Butcher concluded: “So let’s talk to men and women in the industry, and stop doing things which are not and don’t feel inclusive. Let’s start talking about all our great work, and in everything we do, make sure that women are always welcome, everywhere.”
The organisers of the Construction Computing Awards later tweeted an apology, saying: “Believe me the team here feels absolutely awful about this – sincere apologies again.”
In her blog post, Butcher also collated a number of shocked reactions from the BIM community (see below), including a response from David Philp, head of BIM at the UK BIM Task Group.
He said: “How can we really change industry if we cannot get by the issue of inequality. I feel sad as I thought we had moved beyond this. Our industry needs real leadership not just committees, we need to stand and up collectively say no, we won’t accept this, it’s not a joke – construction is for all. Let’s get this sorted.”
In a tweet, industry body BIM4SME added: “Sad to hear sexism in construction rears its ugly head at #Hammers2015 – there is no place for this in our industry @WomeninBIM @BIFM_WIFM.”
And architect Robert Klaschka tweeted: “Lack of solidarity from #meninBIM after the sexist comedy at #hammers2015 very disappointing. Stand up and be counted #ukbimcrew”
At the awards the prize for best BIM Project of 2015 was won by Bond Bryan Architects for Bradford College and Beyond: OPEN BIM Research and Development, with maber named runner up for its PSBP Schools in Hertfordshire, Luton and Reading.
Graphisoft’s Archicad 19 was named BIM Product of 2015 with Autodesk’s Revit named as a runner up.
Let’s talk to men and women in the industry, and stop doing things which are not and don’t feel inclusive. Let’s start talking about all our great work, and in everything we do, make sure that women are always welcome, everywhere.– Su Butcher