Big banks haven’t always been arbiters of ethical behaviour. Quite the contrary, especially in recent years. However, it seems that HSBC have now decided to take a stand on something – breasts. In the eyes of HSBC, profiting from cluster bombs and depleted uranium is apparently fine, but bare norks are a sin. Here’s what a friend, an artists’ model, wrote on her Facebook wall this morning:
“The bank [HSBC] wont let me have any kind of account with them because I get naked for a living… how very odd. I find it very sad that people have to lie about their careers to be able to do it legitimately. All I want to be able to do is pay tax on what I earn. Very odd system. It was quite amusing seeing the bank man’s reaction as he asked to look at my website. He spent rather a long time looking through the albums whilst trying to figure out what I do for a living… [the problem is] definitely the nakedness. If it was mainstream it wouldn’t be a problem, he explained to me… I was really shocked and surprised, as it is legal what I do. I don’t actually understand the problem. I don’t want him to bend the rules for me anyway. I am just surprised those rules exist, which they clearly do. After that I asked if I could have a normal account for my vanilla job. They wouldn’t let me do that either because I may use my normal account to put my modelling money into. It was a shock, it made me realise perhaps I live in a bubble world of perverts? Is this really the narrow mindedness of the real world…?”
Her work isn’t porn. Far from it. On her portfolio website, the booking section explicitly (yes, I know) states that: “art nude, fetish and bondage work does not include open leg shots under any condition” What, then was HSBC’s objection? Is this a blanket policy across HSBC, or just a branch manager who insists on taking a detailed look at a woman’s bare boob photos before deciding whether or not to allow them an account? Is corporate morality so skewed that breasts are now more offensive than bombs?
I haven’t followed this up or contacted HSBC for a comment, and the model concerned would prefer to remain anonymous for now. However, if you’re a journalist or similar, and would like to investigate further, contact me and I can put you in touch with her.