When it came time for a Czech nuclear power station to choose its summer interns, they decided to host a bikini contest.
Czech power conglomerate CEZ couldn’t quite narrow down the pool of candidates, so they asked 10 female applicants to don swimwear and pose inside a cooling tower — don’t worry, they were sure to make the women, all recent high-school graduates, wear hardhats and closed-toe shoes. Safety first, after all.
From there, the company posted the photos on its Facebook page and asked its followers to vote for their favorite candidate, with the most popular winning a 14-day internship at the plant. No word on what daily work attire would have been.
A press release for the bikini contest and photo shoot likened it to past cultural enrichment programs by the plant like when it hosted the Bohemian Philharmonic at its plant in South Bohemia. The release said the women “greatly enjoyed” the experience, according to a German news report on the bikini contest.
Sexual harassment in male-dominated industries has grabbed headlines in the U.S. recently with the firing of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, but this power conglomerate’s plan didn’t exactly earn it much backlash — at least at first. A local Czech television news station even ran a flattering feature on the scheme.
Czech social media caught up, however causing CEZ to have some second thoughts and the plant operator has apologized for using a Facebook bikini contest to choose their next intern.
“We did not want anyone to feel upset. The purpose of the competition was to introduce a non-traditional environment and support technical education. However, if the original vision raised doubts or concerns, we are very sorry about it,” a CEZ spokesman told CNET.
The operators of the 2,000-megawatt plant offered all finalists an internship.
“The purpose of the competition was to promote technical education. But if the original vision raised doubts or concerns, we are very sorry,” the operators posted on Facebook.