Australians walking past their local news agency this morning would have been perplexed to see actress Margot Robbie on the front cover of The West Australian. The Barbie star was pictured naked in a bubble bath, apparently about to explain to readers why Labor’s new policy was actually bad for workers. One question immediately springs to mind: uhhh, WTF?
The Western Australian conservative newspaper that creatively calls itself The West Australian published their daily print today, plastered with the Barbie actress across the front page with the headline “They’re a dud.”
The “they” in question being Albanese’s Labor government, who The West Australian claim “love to use confusing terms” in order to make new industrial relations laws appear better.
The front page of Friday’s The West Australian. pic.twitter.com/AgGP1TAZ7y— The West Australian (@westaustralian) December 7, 2023
So why TF is queen Margot being brought in to all this hot mess?
Why did The West Australian use Margot Robbie on its front page?
Alright, bear with me on this folks.
In 2015, the comedy/documentary film The Big Short featured a bit where Margot Robbie described the story of “subprime mortgages” whilst in a bathtub.
It’s basically a scene where, yes, the entire joke is: “OMG hot naked lady explains economics to make something typically boring seem sexy.” About as hilarious and original as The Hangover Part III.
So in a move of film-bro dumb-assery, the folks at West Australian decided to use a screenshot from that very movie scene to copy the exact same (already tedious) joke, and use it as their front page.
Even the lines from the film are cut-and-pasted:
“Wall Street loves to use confusing terms to make you think only they can do what they do,” says the film’s narrator.
“Labor loves to use confusing terms to make you think their new IR laws are good for workers,” reads the paper’s subtitle.
The laws in question are new ones that basically means contract workers will get the same pay for a job as a full-time worker, and makes wage theft a crime.
Unsurprisingly, this policy was criticised as bad for “big businesses” by the staunchly conservative newspaper — coincidentally owned by a big business.
However, the great irony of this front page fuck-up is that Margot Robbie is an avid supporter of worker’s rights.
Here’s Margot on the picket line during the SAG-AFTRA strike, which she says is “a worthy fight.”
@sagaftra This #SagAftraMember is on strike. #SagAftraStrike #SagAftraStrong #StrikeTok #MargotRobbie ♬ original sound – SAG-AFTRA
To make it even more embarrassing for all involved in the front page, the ‘joke’ has to be spelled out to the viewer.
Below the paper’s header is an asterisk that says “with apologies to The Big Short,” in a desperate attempt to get the reference across the line for readers.
At which point, why even try? Was there just no better idea for trying to sell that day’s top story than a reference to one scene in an eight-year-old movie?
A much more likely explanation is that it’s following the age-old conservative marketing trick of “any publicity is good publicity.”
However in the modern day, we just know that’s not true, because if “any publicity” truly was good publicity then there wouldn’t be much need for defamation lawyers, now would there?
Good try The West Australian, better luck
next time never.