Can reality TV help tech's diversity problem?

casting call

Update: On Wednesday evening, Kathryn Finney received an email that the project had been shelved as a result of her feedback.

Tech has a diversity issue. Can a reality show help remedy that?

"Absolutely, positively, unequivocally not."

That's according to black entrepreneur Kathryn Finney, founder of New York-based accelerator Digital Undivided. Finney was approached by a casting agency via email this week to appear in a reality show about black female entrepreneurs in tech.

"We are looking to connect with stylish, hard-working women in the tech industry who want to showcase their fabulous lives both in and out of work, and show what being a boss is really all about," read the email, which Finney detailed in a post on Medium.

She was outraged.

"The definition of a boss in the startup world is someone who has actually exited through an IPO or acquisition," Finney told CNNMoney. "In the premise of what they're framing it as, there are no black women who are that. The number of black women who have any sort of power in tech is very, very small. Those women are not going to participate in a reality TV show."

The email details that they're looking to cast "over-the-top" personalities, with an "unconventional approach to business" who celebrate successes at expensive restaurants, go on luxe vacations, and indulge in high-end real therapy.

According to Finney, the show would be "horrible for black women in tech." She said no true black female entrepreneurs would opt to be on this show.

"A reality show centers on conflict," she added. "It'll be impossible to raise any money, no investor wants to invest in someone who has conflict."

The email to Finney said the casting agency is working with a major production company to develop the series. (Finney declined to disclose who reached out to her, saying the woman herself is black and isn't responsible for the series.)

Finney said she's in communication with the casting agency (who said they'd relay her concerns to the production company) and sounded out on Twitter to rally support.

It doesn't take much to see that the reality show detailed seems more like Real Housewives than Shark Tank.

There's already a show on Bravo called Blood, Sweat & Heels that features a diverse cast of "self-made go-getters" in New York City. That production company, Leftfield Productions, said they are not behind the new show.

"It shows an utter lack of understanding of the tech world and of what we're up against as black women in this world," said Finney. "This isn't entertainment. This is business."

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