An advertisement advising students how to prepare for a cheerleader audition at a US university has been withdrawn after critics decried it as racist, disgusting and misogynistic.
In the latest free speech row to erupt on a US campus, University of Washington (UW) officials took down the ad after receiving complaints it encouraged and reinforced female sexual and racial stereotypes.
The infographic posted on the university’s Facebook page advises recruits selected for the audition for its Huskies cheerleading team to be physically fit and to wear a sports bra, shorts and cheerleader shoes.
Candidates are also persuaded not to wear jewellery or too much eye make-up, and are discouraged from wearing anything other than simple black colours.
But a backlash led to the post being taken down at 9am on Tuesday morning and the University’s student government issued a statement declared the audition advice did not reflect “the values of the University”.
The ad appeared to model a similar one produced by Washington State University’s cheerleading team last month, which also gave advice on what applicants should wear for an audition, including a suggestion that tattoos and piercings would not be acceptable, but which did not attract much controversy.
Seattle resident Clay Thomson called the UW advert “offensive, exclusionary and ignorant”.
Reposting it on Facebook he wrote: “I’m sharing it again to ensure that theUniversity of Washington addresses the overt racism in the ad, but also addresses it with whomever created this and approved it and thinks this way.”
Washing resident Natalya Lainhart called the ad “disgusting,” while UW student Jazmine Perez said: “As a student of colour who looks nothing like the student in the poster, this feels very exclusive”.
In statement, officials said the infographic was designed “in response to a high volume of student questions about cheer and dance team auditions”.
But others failed to see what the fuss was about. Washington resident Keith Alewine tweeted: “Nothing wrong with the US Cheerleading ad. I married a hot blonde with a great tan, whom I met in college!”