UK recruiter removes ad featuring Secretary poster after Twitter storm

Woman Silhouette

Risqué image from S&M drama about a sexually submissive office worker was used to advertise a vacancy

A London recruitment agency has deleted a recent job advert featuring an image of the erotic film Secretary from its social-media accounts after it was met with a storm of protest on Twitter.

Bow-based ICS Recruitment had featured the shot of a woman bending over in a mini-skirt while promoting a secretarial role. The accompanying text read: “Secretary required in Mayfair. Stockings optional! £35k. Ready to assume the position?”

ICS reportedly first defended the ad, tweeting about its celluloid origins and even star Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a musical or comedy. But the company eventually deleted the post across all social networks. On Twitter, ICS replaced the ad with a new post timed to coincide with International Women’s Day and apparently designed to offset public anger. This one included a meme image featuring the text: “He asked, ‘What’s your favourite position?’ I said: ‘CEO’.”

Nevetheless the damage had already been done. “This can’t be real?? So unbelievably sexist,” wrote one Twitter user of the original post, with another tweeting: “I was appalled when I saw this yesterday. So unnecessary. So dated,” and a third user adding: “Maybe she’s looking in the bottom drawer for the sexual-harassment forms?”

Secretary starred Gyllenhaal opposite James Spader as a timid secretary who finds kinky solace in the arms of her sexually dominant employer. Steven Shainberg’s 2002 erotic romance is seen as a heavy influence on current box-office smash Fifty Shades of Grey. The film made a star of the young Gyllenhaal, though she later complained that the poster image used to promote the film had dumbed down the film for a male audience.

Powered by article was written by Ben Child, for on Tuesday 10th March 2015 13.12 Europe/ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010