As a staffing or HR pro, whenever you create - and post - an ad for a job opening, or openings, you hope it attracts attention, right? That's the idea, after all. But a London recruiting agency didn't exactly get the kind of attention it wanted when it decided to ask prospective applicants for a secretarial job if they were ready to "assume the position."
The story begins when the company, ICS Recruitment, decided to use the publicity poster for the 2002 American "erotic romance film" Secretary as its ad for the secretary job across its LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
"Secretary required in Mayfair," reads the ad copy, accompanied by the image of a woman in a short skirt seen bending over from behind. "Stockings optional! £35k. Ready to assume the position?"
The film stars James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and "explores the relationship between a sexually dominant man and his submissive secretary."
Not too surprisingly to anyone, but perhaps the recruiting agency, lots of people failed to make the connection between the movie and the job opening, took offense to the ad, and voiced their criticism and displeasure via social media.
"This can’t be real?? So unbelievably sexist,” wrote one Twitter user according to The Guardian.
Another tweeted: “I was appalled when I saw this...So unnecessary. So dated.”
And a third added: “Maybe she’s looking in the bottom drawer for the sexual-harassment forms?”
Others labeled the ad "sexist, derogatory, inappropriate, lazy, and backwards."
Despite originally defending the ad, tweeting about the film's origins, its "critical acclaim," and even its Golden Globe nomination, the recruiting agency later deleted it entirely across all of its social media channels.
Call it 50 Shades of Crimson, for embarrassment.