When Emily Clow applied for a marketing coordinator position at a business start-up, Kickass Masterminds in Austin, Texas, the last thing she expected was to be objectified and humiliated online. The 24-year-old told NBC News that she initially felt hopeful about the position, given that a company representative had reached out shortly after she applied to say that they wanted to move forward with her application. They’d also recommended that Clow follow the company on Instagram, which she did.
Then, one day while watching Kickass Masterminds’ Instagram Stories, Clow saw a photo of herself in a red two-piece bathing suit with a warning message to potential applicants.
Horrified, Clow shared a screenshot of the company’s Instagram Story on her Twitter.
i was objectified earlier today by a company because of a picture of me in a bikini. they claimed it made me an “unprofessional.” they screenshot the photo, posted it on their insta story and called me out.— Emily Clow (@emilyeclow) October 1, 2019
i am still baffled that the company handled it in such a manner.
In a now-viral post, Clow explained that the company had screenshot the photo from her private Instagram account and shared the image on its Instagram Stories without her permission. She told NBC that she asked the marketing firm to remove the photo multiple times—but it didn’t. Instead, the company blocked her on Instagram.
Thankfully, though, since it was an Instagram Story, the post only had a 24-hour lifespan and eventually went away on its own. Still, it left an understandably negative impact on Clow.
“I am still baffled that the company handled it in such a manner,” she added on Twitter.
Clow also tweeted a screenshot of the company’s LinkedIn page, where the firm ironically describes its ideal client as someone who “yearns for freedom” and is “ballsy enough to chase after it.”
this is fucking hilarious, considering pic.twitter.com/dmjABdm4s3— Emily Clow (@emilyeclow) October 1, 2019
Since Clow’s post went viral, Kickass Masterminds’ website and social media pages have all been made private or taken down. Meanwhile, Clow has received an outpouring of support on Twitter.
Girl you had so many people behind you a marketing firm shut down ALL their online presence.... I hope you get a 10X better job that realizes looks, confidence, and capability aren’t mutually exclusive.— bey-z (@d_yell) October 2, 2019
Though Kickass Masterminds’ social media pages don’t appear to be public at this time, several people managed to look through the company’s social accounts before Clow’s post went viral, and at least one person found an Instagram photo of a staff member flipping off the camera:
Even better: A woman from a different marketing firm invited Clow to send over her resume, explaining that her company doesn’t discriminate against personal Instagram photos.
Emily, I own a marketing agency in Austin. We happen to be open to Professional Marketers™️ who are ALSO bikini models 🙋🏻♀️— Krista Doyle (@Krista_Doyle) October 2, 2019
If you’re still looking for an internship, let’s see how I can help: email@example.com
Here’s the thing: While employers often use Facebook and Instagram to get a better idea of prospective hires, it’s downright inappropriate and discriminatory to use photos from someone’s personal Instagram account to make a point or set an example.
It’s 2019, and posting bikini photos (or any photo wearing whatever the heck you want) should not disqualify you from being hired. Major props to Clow for standing up for herself and encouraging employers to think twice about their social media use.