For the past two months Anne-Sophie, a young graphic and multimedia artist in Paris, has been looking for a job in her field. She spends part of her day scouring the want ads on various websites, including Graphic-Jobs.com. But early this week, she was shocked to see a listing that included, among reasonable requirements like “organizational ability” and “meticulousness,” the words: “Si possible pas juif(ve)” — “Not Jewish, if possible.”
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Anne-Sophie told the Paris-based website Les Inrockuptibles, which deals with music, culture and current events, that she read the entry two or three times to make sure she was really seeing what she thought she was seeing. Then she took a screenshot of the ad and uploaded it to her Facebook timeline.
While the company’s name does not appear online, the listing states that the company seeking to fill the position is an “agency with a human side, [looking for] graphic design and website construction, located in Paris’s 19th arrondissement.”
Upon investigation, Les Inrockuptibles’ staff discovered that the company in question was named NSL Studio. In an initial telephone conversation company personnel said they had placed the ad, including the proviso that the applicant not be Jewish, if possible, but they explained that, “We wrote that with respect to our work hours. We are a studio that does not limit ourselves in terms of the number of hours we work, often under great time pressure. So we wanted someone who would not be subject to cultural or religious constraints.”
Subsequent conversations with employees at the company revealed that differences of opinion had been voiced in a consultation held before the ad was run, but ultimately it was decided that it would run as it appeared – but “with no intention to discriminate,” heaven forbid.
However, shortly after the call from Les Inrockuptibles, and after the contents of its ad came to the attention of the people who run Graphic-Jobs.com, the NSL Studio listing vanished from the website. The studio then tweeted a sweeping denial, claiming that its personnel had not actually been behind the listing.
So who was behind it? Hackers who wanted to damage the studio’s reputation, the company claimed. But staff at Graphic-Jobs.com say there was no way hackers could have had access, since the website keeps complete track of everyone who posts job ads there – including their IP addresses, of course.
For his part, NSL Studio’s artistic director, Rapha?l Routier, contacted Les Inrockuptibles and explained to the staff that “the content of the ad was never discussed at all” and that there was no issue of work hours. “It was also sent to two other sites without the ‘Jewish’ part, which proves that if that had been our intention, it would have appeared in the other ads as well,” he added. “We are open to a probe of the incident.”
To complicate matters further, the studio’s management later issued a general statement to the press that read, in part: “The person responsible for the ad’s publication will be summoned to a disciplinary hearing. A full investigation into the incident is under way and appropriate measures will be taken if it should be found that the source of the ad is among us.”
The French anti-racism organization SOS Racisme has already filed a complaint related to the want at the Office of the Prosecutor for publishing anti-Semitic content.