CIA recruitment ad starring ‘cisgender millennial’ backfires spectacularly
The CIA struggled to hit the right note with a hilariously clumsy “woke” recruitment ad that’s been slammed across all sides of the political spectrum.
The awkward video was released on YouTube as part of the “Humans of CIA” series, a campaign aimed at recruiting a more diverse pool of candidates.
It stars a cisgender millennial Latina officer who struggles with anxiety and imposter syndrome, yet embraces herself “unapologetically” as she refuses to internalise “misguided patriarchal ideas of what a woman can or should be”.
“I am a woman of colour. I am a mom. I am a cisgender millennial who has been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder. I am intersectional, but my existence is not a box-checking exercise,” she says.
“I did not sneak into CIA. I earned my way in, and I earned my way up the ranks.”
“I am unapologetically me. I want you to be unapologetically you, whoever you are. Whether you work at #CIA, or anywhere else in the world.
Command your space. Mija, you are worth it.”
— CIA (@CIA) April 28, 2021
The video was blasted by the usual conservative suspects, including Ted Cruz and Donald Trump Jr, who predicted the literal downfall of society because someone said the word cisgender.
“China and Russia are laughing their asses off watching CIA go full woke,” tweeted Trump Jr. “‘Cisgender.’ ‘Intersectional.’ If you think about it, wokeness is the kind of twisted PSYOP a spy agency would invent to destroy a country from the inside out.”
Cruz followed in the same vein, saying: “If you’re a Chinese communist, or an Iranian Mullah, or Kim Jong Un… would this scare you? We’ve come a long way from Jason Bourne.”
Ironically Robert Ludlum’s original Bourne trilogy highlighted the inherently problematic nature of the CIA, which Cruz would know if he read a book ever.
Responding to the criticism, Larry Pfeiffer, a former CIA chief of staff, tweeted: “I would suggest that if you don’t like it, you are probably not whom the ad is targeting for employment. Strength from diversity.”
Unfortunately, the campaign’s jarring attempt at inclusive messaging didn’t exactly go down well with its target audience either.
Heavy-handed box-ticking aside, many liberal viewers were baffled by the apparent pinkwashing of an agency with a long history of power abuses, including the targeting of democratically elected left-wing governments, not to mention national civil rights movements.
“Look at the language used, and the t-shirt she’s wearing: a literal raised fist. You can’t make this s**t up,” one Twitter user said. “They are co-opting what was supposed to be an emancipatory language to enact mass murder and torture.”
This obvious contradiction saw the video mercilessly mocked as the video went viral online.
Whether you’re toppling democratic governments in South America or introducing crack into the inner cities, just do you, boo.
— for me, personally (@FPersonally) April 30, 2021
“I know my worth and I will NOT apologize for commanding spaces OR death squads in El Salvador😤”
— Dan Arrows 🎲 (@Dan_Arrows) May 4, 2021
The CIA armed & trained death squads in Guatemala who massacred hundreds of thousands of civilians with a focus on the indigenous.
The #WednesdayWisdom here is that US imperialism is maintained through mass murder & intensive propaganda campaigns.
— redacted tonight | #FreeJulianAssange (@RedactedTonight) April 28, 2021
They’ll dunk your head in a toilet bowl, but only in a gender neutral restroom.
— @HlewagastizHoltijaz (@HlewagastizHol1) May 2, 2021
👏🏻 THE 👏🏻 FUTURE 👏🏻 OF 👏🏻 LATIN 👏🏻 AMERICAN 👏🏻 COUPS 👏🏻 IS 👏🏻 FEMALE
— Ian Mortensen (@Ian_Mortensen) May 4, 2021
Others suggested that it was entirely in keeping for an organisation like the CIA.
“The CIA cynically uses the language of democracy, resistance, education, anti-extractivism and dozens of other lefty concepts too,” commented one viewer. “It doesn’t mean they’re all tainted and need to be abandoned.
“Indeed, co-opting otherwise useful political currents to push empire is kind of their thing!”