Members of Dundee’s arts community claim they are “insulted” and “raging” after a controversial UK Government advert appeared to suggest people in creative industries should find a new job.
The ad, which caused uproar on social media this week, shows a ballet dancer, known as Fatima, taking off her ballet shoes.
The image is accompanied by text which says: “Fatima’s next job may be cyber, she just doesn’t know it yet. Rethink. Reskill. Reboot”.
It has already sparked a large amount of controversy, with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden labelling it as “crass”.
Dundee’s artists and creatives have also been left outraged by the advert, which has since been pulled due to the backlash, with one singer describing it as “ludicrous”.
Gordon Hennessy, a guitar player and singer who performs under the name Lonely Lost Boy, said: “It takes a long time to get to where you want to be in these kinds of careers, and that’s why I’m confused by this ad, and angry about it.
“To make this they had to use a photographer, a makeup artist and a bunch of other creatives, and then they’re saying that creative people might have to get new jobs, it’s completely incorrect.
“I’ve been absolutely raging since I saw it, to be honest.
“Venues, musicians, even football clubs are all falling apart, so I think you can understand my frustration.
“The creative sector have had really poor treatment, they’ve not been given anything. Other countries like Germany have been supporting their arts, so it feels like it’s only the British government who don’t care.”
The singer, who has 15 years of experience performing and playing guitar, has urged other performers not to let the lack of support get them down.
He said: “It just fires me up more, I’ve been telling other musicians to just fire on and keeping trying to get to where they want to be.”
Others, such as dance studio owner Laura Nisbet, are also upset about the message of the advert.
She said: “When I first saw it, I thought it was some kind of sick joke, I actually laughed.
“It’s just disgusting, do people not understand that the arts are one of the main sectors in their lives, and that without the arts they wouldn’t have any of the TV shows and songs they like?
“It’s very insulting, really it’s just infuriating, To become a ballet dancer, or any kind of dancer, people have to train from a very young age, it’s not like the picture which seems to say you can just pop your shoes on and off to be a dancer.
“A few months ago I was saying that we were the forgotten industry.
“We’ve actually gone from forgotten to insulted. I know that anyone in this line of work will be feeling like this.”
The Tele took to the streets to find out whether the public shared artists’ disgust with the message being put forward.
Csenge Nagy, a 29-year-old restaurant worker, said: “I think it’s fair for people to be upset about this, completely fair.
“Right now these jobs are in a very unsure position and I think that it’s important to support these industries, but I don’t think that the government agrees.
“I’m also not sure of the timing of this ad, I feel like it wasn’t right.”
But Ed Feeney, a 56-year-old mental health support practitioner, said he thought the ad may have been misinterpreted.
He added: “I don’t think that the government are going to force all these creative people into new jobs, but it’s understandable why this ad would be upsetting for some people as it may feel like they’re being pushed away from something they love and are passionate about.
“I think that the ad has maybe come at the wrong time and been misinterpreted.”
And Gerry Armour, a 26-year-old butchers apprentice, said that it could be interpreted as encouraging artists to think differently about the future.
He added: “I feel like the ad is more leaning towards the idea that new jobs may be more online, especially on the creative side, since it’s a lot cheaper and easier to do.
“I think that the future for that is a lot more promising for artists and performers.
“It really comes down to your perspective, because it could be taken two ways.”
The UK Government was approached for comment.
Previously, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “This is part of a campaign encouraging people from all walks of life to think about a career in cyber security.
“But this particular piece of content was not appropriate and has been removed from the campaign.”