Getting a ‘competitive’ internship in a nuclear power plant through a bikini contest? Seems incredulous but it happened for real, and now that nuclear power plant has drawn strong backlash for using a bikini contest to choose its interns.
Czech power plant CEZ posted 10 images of high school girls who have just graduated, wearing swimsuits and posing in the Temlin nuclear power plants’ cooling tower. The post asks followers to vote for the girl they like best. The young lady who will get the highest number of votes will win the crown “Bouncer of Energy” and will be awarded with the chance to spend two weeks of internship with the company.
The post garnered 1,300 likes but controversy quickly welcomed it. Many disagreed with the ‘competition’ and aired their disapproval and even disgust on social media, criticizing the company for picking interns based on their physical appearance.
One Twitter user wrote: “So that’s how you qualify to work for an AKW. Incredible!” Another also posted a commentary: “Undress and you get an internship- this cannot be serious, it’s degrading, disgusting and primitive.”
The company tried to defend the contest and claimed it was merely a continuation of previous “cultural enrichment programs.” It also supposedly offered 900 internships and excursions for students every year. A spokesperson for CEZ said: “Most of them are organized for the high schools and universities that are members of our partnership program. Some of the internships or excursions are, however, customarily offered for the winners of competitions either organized by CEZ or by the third parties.”
The company also claimed that through such competitions, CEZ is “promoting specific issues”, mainly corporate social responsibility. The featured “beauty contest” named Maturantka Roku or translated as the ‘Graduate of the Year’’, and the winner of the contest would receive an internship “according to her preferences” and placed in corresponding offices within the company.
Voting for the contest, however, only lasted a day, and the company decided to stop it following backlash accusing the “bikini contest” of sexism. CEZ was also compelled to apologized to the public. It announced that all 10 finalists were offered internships, regardless of the halted contest. The company reiterated that the contest was meant “to promote technical education” and that they are very sorry if the original vision only raised doubts.