Spotlight UK published the discriminatory casting call on its website with a very specific set of criteria for any would-be child actress including ‘no children over 4ft 4ins’, ‘no overweight children’ and, with caps-lock emphasis for the avoidance of doubt, ‘she must NOT have reached puberty’.
Instead Milka made plain that only children it considered to be ‘beautiful and angelic’ would be considered for the role.
The resulting backlash was swift and furious with comedian Kathy Burke among those to criticise the ad, saying: “Imagine being the kids that don't get the job - you're just not beautiful enough I'm afraid, my darling, now off you pop and be riddled with insecurities for the rest of your life.”
In an effort to douse the firestorm Spotlight prepared a statement apologising for its tardy response, saying: “On Thursday one of the casting directors who use Spotlight's platform published a casting call - or a 'breakdown' as they're known in the trade - on our platform which absolutely did not meet our high standards but nevertheless slipped through the net.
"When our attention was drawn to this we were slow to take action and even then the steps we initially took fell far short of what is expected of us by Spotlight members, casting directors and our own team.
"Breakdowns like this are, quite simply, totally unacceptable and we should never have allowed it to be published.”
For its part Milka parent Mondelez also expressed regret over the issue, stating: "We take our advertising responsibility very seriously and this is not representative of the brief we shared with the casting agency and does not meet our high standards.
"We would never approve the use of such a notice, and are urgently reviewing the situation with Spotlight UK to understand how and why it has happened.”
Milka’s casting catastrophe follows a notorious Morrison’s ban on ‘anybody from Liverpool’ or Benefits Street from a 2016 campaign.