Workplace discrimination is still a prevalent problem in our society—especially for women. Most often, the attack is subtle: It exists in the form of mildly sexist co-workers or of smaller paychecks (hey, gender pay gap, we see you). Less common is blatant discrimination, as 24-year-old freelancer Emma Hulse reportedly experienced at her former TV job.
According to Refinery 29, Hulse was just minutes into her shift as a camera operator at London-based network UNIT TV when a manager abruptly sent her home for being—get this—too attractive.
Hulse spoke to The Evening Standard about the incident, explaining: “[M]y agent text[ed] me that I’m no longer required. I got [to work] and spoke to the line manager and he asked me, ‘Are you a model? Are you not doing catwalks, why are you not at the front of house?’…I was wearing a lipstick but from my perspective I was not inappropriate. I was wearing a shirt and trousers. I really didn’t think I looked inappropriate.”
After firing her, the sexist manager allegedly asked for Hulse’s number and suggested they go out for a drink. Because that’s what every woman wants: To date a misogynist who doesn’t believe attractive women can also be intelligent, hard workers. Ugh.
Hulse was, understandably, bewildered: As she told the Evening Standard, “I was quite disappointed to be sent home. I didn’t really know what to do…I work for many different companies and no one has [ever] sent me home because of the way I look.”
Adam Luckwell, who owns the company from which Hulse was unceremoniously dismissed, confirmed the young woman’s story, and said he had since fired the manager who harassed her.
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He explained, “We found there were a number of things we were not happy with. We decided not to continue with the employment and terminated the contract within three months. We felt he was a bad fit for us and some of the things he was doing [were] not in line with the company’s policy.”
And to that, a big, resounding, duh. Men of the world, please remember this story—and, for the love of all things good and nice in this world, stop commenting on our looks unless we ask. It’s not a compliment. It’s harassment. And it’s gross.
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