Want to work with News Corp Australia? Get on all fours in sexy lingerie

By Sarakshi Rai for FirstPost here.

News Corp Australia is looking for an intern and so they put out an ad: a woman on a bed, on all fours, in sexy black lingerie.

The original post, with the ad was obviously deleted but not before the quick-fingered journalist Suzanne Carbonne got a screenshot:

Interns are usually not found on all fours nor in sexy lingerie in what could be termed “Friday dressing” at the office. So News Corp’s use of the image to advertise for interns comes as a shock and makes us wonder, exactly what kind of intern are they looking for? Have they been reading Fifty Shades of Grey? Is Secretary their favourite film? Was the person who came up with the ad channelling their inner Don Draper?

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The company put up the image on their official Instagram feed earlier today and the reactions came in swiftly. Since then, the image has been taken off and The Guardian reported, that News Corp Australia issued this statement: “We made an error in judgment today with an image used in a recent Instagram post calling for interns that has since been taken down. We take our intern program seriously and apologise for any offence caused.”

News Corp is looking for interns for one of its lifestyle publications, which happens to be among the most popular glossy supplements in the Australian newspaper market. A trusted source of inspiration and exclusive style for a modern and digital savvy audience.

Sunday Style claims in its about page that its readers are fashion forward and style permeates every facet of their world – from their wardrobes and cars, to where they eat. Therefore its apologies are welcome, but that doesn’t explain why anyone in News Corp thought this advertisement was in any way appropriate in the first place.

Having worked as a fashion intern in the past, this writer can assure you that the job description definitely does not include any sexual activities or the kind of wardrobe featured in the original photopost does imply. Fashion interns work, like any other journalist, and often, this involves rather unglamorous but painstaking work like research, reportage, organising photo shoots, and liasing between designers and photographers.

There’s also the detail that this is not the equivalent of a slip of tongue. An advertisement goes through many hoops before being released to the public. From coming up with the idea, to getting approval for it and shooting the image, there are a lot of people who were involved and shockingly, no one found the ad offensive or objectionable. It’s possible that the organisation is desperate to appear “out of the box” or perhaps they thought this image would somehow be considered ironic. Whatever their intent, it’s surprising that no one thought the regressive, sexist stereotype in the ad could be a problem for the organisation’s image.

As a significantly important media organisation, it’s appalling that this “error in judgement” took on the proportions that it did. For one, News Corp’s original advertisement showcases the problem of journalism being something of an Old Boys’ Club, in which women journalists face a continuing struggle to be taken seriously. Regressive at best, this advertisement looks more like News Corp is recruiting for an escort service rather than an intern for a fashion publication.

The editor of the supplement Kerrie McCallum’s failure to catch this early, questions what kind of power politics are at play at News Corp where a woman doesn’t feel confident of voicing her objections to a PR disaster like this. Worse yet, if the editor of a publication, presumably with years of experience and who probably goes through her issue with a fine toothed comb- how is it possible to miss the symbolism behind the post and a gaffe as big as this?

For News Corp to think it can breeze past the ensuing controversy with a simple apology verges on naïveté. After all, if a media organisation can’t understand simple symbolism, then who will?

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