Not OK: This Pizza Hut ad calling for “good looking girls” is straight out of the ’50s
When it comes to pizza, everyone’s different. Most of us hate anchovies as a topping, but we all know that one person who loves them. Some people like to mix sweet and savory with a Hawaiian, others think that putting pineapple on pizza is the grossest thing ever. But one thing I think we can all agree doesn’t belong anywhere near pizza is employment discrimination. Not only is it often illegal, it also leaves a horrible taste in your mouth.
Last month, a Pizza Hut branch in the UK put out an online job ad asking for “full time and part time car drivers” who “have [their] own car.” So far, so good. Hiring drivers who already have cars seems like a pretty inoffensive move. But then the trouble starts: “We are also looking for. . . decent good looking girls for reception. That role is just part time.” So let’s get this straight, Pizza Hut. If you’re a delivery driver you can be any gender and be indecent, but if you’re a receptionist you need to be “decent,” attractive, and female? Why isn’t my pizza delivery guy required to look like Idris Elba?
This job ad would be more at home in the 1950s when it was commonplace for advertisements for positions like these to specifically require female applicants and hold them to sexist standards of appearance and behavior. To pick up and deliver laundry for customers of Hilton Hotels in the 1950s, for example, you had to be a “neat and courteous” woman with “good feet” and a “trim figure.” And these kinds of requirements haven’t gone the way of the dodo just yet. Four years ago, a Maryland auto repair shop put out an office assistant job ad for an “attractive” woman who “is confident with her sexuality and does not mind working around a bunch of guys.” The ad also requested a photo along with the resume so that the owner could “have a face to go with a name.” And to work at the Montreal Grand Prix this summer, female employees had to wear high heels for hours while “looking, elegant, chic, and classic.”
The good news is that the Pizza Hut advertisement is no more. After being left online for three weeks, people posted it to Twitter and other social media, prompting the branch to finally take it down last week.
A Pizza Hut spokesperson condemned the ad, blamed an individual employee for its wording, and reaffirmed that they “do not tolerate any discrimination of any kind and are committed to creating equal opportunities in a safe working environment.” As for the fate of the employee who posted the ad, Pizza Hut says that “the issue is now being managed internally.” Seems like a pretty decent way to handle things.
But one part of their statement is pretty troubling. Pizza Hut also admitted that they had not approved the job advertisement in advance. If you double-check your pizzas before you send them out for delivery, you should probably double-check your official communications to make sure they don’t contain any sexism. Or any anchovies. Just to be safe.