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Kickass Masterminds, an Austin-based marketing company, turned heads after posting an intern applicant’s bikini photo in an attempt to shame her. It is now feeling the wrath of the internet.
The popular Twitter account @SheRatesDogs shared the company’s Instagram post.
“This girl applied for an internship at a company, and they put up this screenshot of her in a bikini on their company Instagram, publicly telling everybody they wouldn’t hire her because of this photo,” @SheRatesDogs tweeted, along with the company’s original post.
This girl applied for an internship at a company, and they put up this screenshot of her in a bikini on their company Instagram, publicly telling everybody they wouldn’t hire her because of this photo. pic.twitter.com/aRQF7CqfSF— SheRatesDogs (@SheRatesDogs) October 1, 2019
Kickass Masterminds’ post began with a “PSA” to prospective interns.
“Do not share your social media with a potential employer if this is the kind of content on it. I am looking for a potential marketer–not a bikini model,” the company wrote. “Go on with your bad self and do whatever in private. But this is not doing you any favors in finding a professional job.”
The tweet quickly went viral, with many calling out the company for harassment and defending the applicant’s choice to post a swimsuit photo on her own social media account.
“I would hope @kickassmasterm is in the process of firing the person who incited harassment and bullying against an internship applicant,” Twitter user @abbygov wrote.
i would hope @kickassmasterm is in the process of firing the person who incited harassment and bullying against an internship applicant— Abby Govindan (@abbygov) October 1, 2019
she’s just wearing a BIKINI, it’s not like she’s naked, and even if she was so what? it’s her instagram she can post what she wants— Guy Fieri (@betterchemicals) October 1, 2019
Some commenters were especially perturbed upon noticing that Kickass Masterminds appears to consist of an all-female staff.
“I just checked, the whole company is basically all women, which somehow makes it even worse?” Twitter user @iamsuckeriam pointed out.
I just checked, the whole company is basically all women, which somehow makes it even worse???— VOTE LABOUR THURSDAY DEC 12TH (@iamsuckeriam) October 1, 2019
Emily Clow, the 24-year-old applicant, told the Daily Dot that she was first attracted to Kickass Masterminds because “it was founded by women,” and she thought it “seemed to support women in business.” She was surprised to see its post after following the company shortly after applying for one of its marketing coordinator jobs.
“I know many women my age have gone through the job application process as I have,” she told the Daily Dot via email. “No one would have expected a potential employer to use their application as an example without their permission, let alone use a bikini picture from social media to deem someone as unprofessional.”
Others on social media pointed out that the company has posted photos of its employees in bathing suits in the past.
“The irony here is that they have a bathing suit photo posted on their ‘professional’ Instagram,” Twitter user @belizmarq wrote.
the irony here is that they have a bathing suit photo posted on their “professional” Instagram pic.twitter.com/h9yQwIe2og— brooke (@belizmarq) October 1, 2019
It's clear the real gripe here was, "We're not looking for someone hotter than us."— Annie Longley (@anniekatherine) October 1, 2019
Kickass Masterminds has since gone dark on social media, shutting down its website, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. The company also set its Instagram account to private.
Twitter users were elated by the company’s decision to disable its account, with many taking credit for running the marketers off of social media.
Gosh i got so freaking angry when i saw it!!! But 1. You look amazing 2. The bikini is supercute 3. We made them go private 💁🏽♀️ but i guess that i s super professional and makes your brand grow...???! pic.twitter.com/5wDHsW9fLK— Caroline 🇪🇺 (@Shelovestravel) October 1, 2019
They also deleted their facebook and made their Instagram private lmfaooo— Michaela Okland (@MichaelaOkla) October 1, 2019
Clow, however, believes the backlash Kickass Masterminds is facing was avoidable. She reached out to Kickass Masterminds to raise concerns after seeing the post, but a company employee responded by simply saying, “Best of luck.”
“It seemed they didn’t believe there would be repercussions for their action,” she said.
The Daily Dot made several attempts to contact Kickass Masterminds but received no response by publication.
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Tiffanie Drayton is a geek culture and lifestyle reporter whose work covers everything from gender and race to anime and Xbox. Her work has appeared in Complex, Salon, Marie Claire, Playboy, and elsewhere.