A casting call for a “very pretty” and “childlike” girl to star in a Christmas advertising campaign has sparked outrage online for banning overweight children and redheads from applying.

The call was for an advertisement for Milka chocolate and was spotted by performer Helen Raw.

“She must be beautiful and angelic,” it reads. “Eye colour and hair colour are not important but no red hair [...] she must NOT have reached puberty.”

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In an amendment to the original post, which was also shared by Raw, the casting director stated: “No overweight children as this is advertising chocolate.”

Raw’s tweet swiftly went viral, prompting thousands of people to express their shock.

“If u didn’t know it was written by an acting agency. You would think a pedophile wrote it [sic],” wrote one person.

Another added: “That’s so very creepy and clearly the Pixie Dream Girl fantasy of someone who grew up in 1980s who probably doesn’t think #MeToo is a ‘thing’.”

The casting call was published on talent agency website Spotlight, which initially responded to Raw’s complaint by amending the post, but only the line ”she must not have reached puberty” was removed.

On Saturday, the company released a statement on Twitter describing the original casting call as “totally unacceptable”.

The statement clarified that the call, or character breakdown as it’s called in the industry, “did not meet [Spotlight’s] high standards” and “slipped through the net”.

Spotlight went on to apologise for not having taken the casting call off its website sooner.

“Breakdowns like this are, quite simply, totally unacceptable and we should never have allowed it to be published. However, it was published, and when we were told about it we should have taken it down immediately rather than try to amend it to be more acceptable.”

A spokesperson for Mondelēz International, the company that owns Milka, also issued a statement clarifying that the brief on Spotlight was not representative of that which they shared with the casting agency.

The spokesperson continued: “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.”

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