Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has drawn intense criticism for posting a job advertisement seeking candidates with pornstar qualities to motivate its computer programmers. In its job posting, Alibaba said physical characteristics similar to popular Japanese pornstar Sora Aoi could help the applicant succeed, reports Bloomberg.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Apologizes For Seeking Candidates With Pornstar Qualities

Alibaba’s job ad is ‘an insult to women’

The Hangzhou-based company withdrew the job ad after drawing criticism. The ad said the applicants should know how to praise the “code monkeys,” and wake them up. Hundreds of Chinese social media users have called the ad “offensive,” “an insult to women,” and “an insult to programmers.” But Alibaba said in a statement that the job ad was a “humorous” attempt to hire talent.

The Chinese online retail giant has often been praised for the higher number of female employees in senior roles compared to peers. Among 30 partners that nominate the majority of Alibaba’s board, nine are females. In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, Alibaba apologized to “anyone offended by this ad.” The company said it was committed to offering equal opportunities to everyone without discrimination.

Alibaba still looking to hire programmer cheerleaders

Though Alibaba has pulled that job ad, it is still advertising for a computer programmer cheerleader, but without any reference to the Japanese pornstar. This job description offers indirect reference to the feminine features of a South Korean actress. These job ads come just a couple of days after Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said the company has frozen hiring for the rest of the year to focus on efficiency.

Alibaba currently has more than 34,000 employees. Ma said the e-commerce behemoth would hire a new employee only when an existing one leaves. The hiring freeze also applies to entities controlled by Alibaba. It means the entire group’s headcount would remain the same at the end of the year.

Alibaba shares rose 0.93% to $82.05 in pre-market trading Friday. The stock has declined 23% year-to-date.