- 12 Oct 20
Fangclub, Sam Fender and Fatboy Slim are among the artists who have criticised the ad online.
A UK government advert, depicting a ballet dancer alongside the tags "Fatima's next job could be in cyber (she just doesn't know it yet)" and "Rethink. Reskill. Reboot", has been mocked widely online among creatives and commentators.
In response, Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has made an effort to distance himself from the "crass" campaign.
To those tweeting re #Fatima
This is not something from @DCMS & I agree it was crass
This was a partner campaign encouraging people from all walks of life to think about a career in cyber security
I want to save jobs in the arts which is why we are investing £1.57bn
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) October 12, 2020
Boris Johnson's official spokesperson has also admitted that the ad was "not appropriate".
"This is part of a campaign encouraging people from all walks of life to consider a career in cyber-security," the spokesperson said. "This particular piece of content was not appropriate and has been removed from the campaign."
Regardless, the controversial ad, which follows Chancellor Rishi Sunak's calls for people to "adapt" to new forms of employment last week, has picked up major traction online.
Sam Fender shared the ad, noting that he "thought this was satire".
Wow. I thought this was satire. pic.twitter.com/cICSSjChex
— Sam Fender (@samfendermusic) October 12, 2020
Dr Jennifer Cassidy, a lecturer at the University of Oxford, who has also represented Ireland at the UN, described the ad as "sickening."
I spent 16 years training tirelessly to become a violinist. Practiced every day for hours from aged 4. Dedicated my life to it. Began my degree in it. But had to stop due to injury. I miss it every day.
So DANCE FATIMA.
— Dr. Jennifer Cassidy (@OxfordDiplomat) October 12, 2020
Dublin band Fangclub also playfully mocked the campaign with an "anti-arts" ad of their own.
Questionable anti-arts ads: they’re not even trying anymore.... pic.twitter.com/KOOWnSWijl
— FANGCLUB (@fangclub) October 12, 2020
Fatboy Slim, meanwhile, described the ad as "unbelievable", and said that "the government is throwing the arts under a bus".
— Fatboy Slim (@FatboySlim) October 12, 2020
Primal Scream's Simone Marie has pointed out that the ad was in fact originally launched before Covid-19 – but notes that it "still resonates" and is "still 2000% bullshit."
Take a look at more responses on Twitter below:
Congrats to Fatima on her retraining in Cyber. pic.twitter.com/LY1ZMG6yQD
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) October 12, 2020
The future Tories want. pic.twitter.com/twwSWfG5Cj
— Andy Kelly (@ultrabrilliant) October 12, 2020
Not that you need me to point this out but if you have a burning desire to be creative and to work in the arts, do NOT rethink, reskill or reboot. Just keep fucking going.
— Michael Spicer (@MrMichaelSpicer) October 12, 2020