The Reserve Bank of Australia just decided, somewhat unexpectedly, to keep interest rates on hold. Channel 7 news needed to spin it into a story, though, so they did the usual thing of getting a talking head from the mythical (in Australia, at least) Macquarie Bank to say something. Unfortunately, there was a guy in the background who chose that moment to look at topless pictures of Miranda Kerr. Here’s the clip. The guy starts looking at them at the 1:00 mark.
I don’t think he’ll be fired.
It looks like he was opening images from an email and that gives him a little cover. If the sender was a Macquarie employee then they will have some serious problems, it being considered worse to send “offensive” material than to receive it.
The dude will probably get an official reprimand and he might not get the same pay rise as others in his team next time ’round (at the least, he was just demonstrably slacking off from work), but I think that’ll be about it for him.
I think that Macquarie will look at their email and web-browsing policy again and consider increasing the paranoid parameter of their filters. There are plenty of algorithms for detecting skin tones in images and I’m 99% sure that they’ve been incorporated into email filters. It’s just a question of turning them on.
I think they’ll also reconsider their policy on having their talking heads stand in front of an office like that. I know they do it to look more important — I’ve taken 3 minutes out from my dazzlingly busy schedule to explain that your mortgage payments won’t change today, but will probably go up in a month or two. Gosh, don’t I look impressive? — but exactly this sort of stuff is the risk with which it comes. I’ve seen other stupid things going on behind US presenters, so I don’t think they’ll stop the practice, but they might consider staging the background a little more than just sticking a big cardboard Macquarie sign in there.
In the end, it just shows what everybody working in an open-plan office already knows: the exact position and alignment of your desk is of crucial value.