Australia’s Ambassador to the US Kevin Rudd was baffled when his own team used his face in a Barbie meme, embarrassing leaked texts reveal.
The embassy’s social media staff attempted to follow the global Barbie movement last month by sharing a picture of the former prime minister’s face mocked up on a movie poster.
“When you get a bad memo and think Margot Robbie is having a Barbie this weekend,” the caption read.
The post sparked widespread bewilderment, with many wondering what the joke was supposed to mean beyond the obvious Barbie/BBQ pun.
Most confused of all was Dr Rudd with private messages, published under freedom of information laws, showing he knew nothing about this misguided attempt at humor.
‘Hi. What is the Barbie post about?’, Dr. Rudd messaged the Embassy’s Minister-Counsellor for Strategic Communications, Damien Miller, about an hour after the image was posted late one night in Washington, D.C. reported the West Australian.
The original meme (pictured) sparked a reaction of recoil and widespread bewilderment.
Dr Rudd sent a message to the Embassy’s Minister-Counsellor for Strategic Communications, Damien Miller, about an hour after the image was released (pictured)
“This week in the United States, some celebrities, senators, Governor of Michigan (etc.) tended to join in the hype surrounding the Barbie movie. In our case, it was to celebrate Australian actress Margo Robbie ( sic) — who is a co-producer on the film,” Miller explained.
Other leaked texts between staff show that the embassy’s social media manager appears to have sent the message to an adviser to Dr Rudd via WhatsApp shortly after it went live.
‘HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, just saw. Better not get fired, that’s great,” the adviser replied two hours later.
‘Haha, phew, I’m glad you like it. It felt like a great idea,” the embassy staff member replied.
Dr. Rudd’s second-in-command, Deputy Chief of Mission Paul Myler, praised the staffer for the meme.
“The Kevin Barbie meme is very good. Well done,” Mr. Myler wrote.
“It was either that or KR as Oppenheimer,” Mr. Miller replied the next morning.
The reference was to Christopher Nolan’s epic about the father of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, which hit theaters the same weekend as Barbie.
Now it turns out former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (pictured) was as baffled as everyone else.
Dr. Rudd’s staff seemed to laugh at the meme, even though they were nervous about how it would land with their boss, who is infamous for his fiery temper.
Dr Rudd’s second-in-command, Deputy Chief of Mission Paul Myler, praised the staff member for the meme (pictured)
While the message was well received by embassy staff, netizens were baffled.
“Something is smoked at the Australian Embassy and I don’t think it’s meat on a hot plate,” wrote one reviewer.
Others questioned why the tagline said “He’s just Kevin” when Barbie’s lover in the movie is named Ken and they could have abbreviated Dr. Rudd’s name to “Kev”.
Many also found the post “newsworthy” and were angered that Australian taxpayers are funding half-gun gags.
“When you cost taxpayers a fortune and make fun of memes,” one wrote.
Dr Rudd was appointed Australian Ambassador to the US in December last year (pictured with California Governor Gavin Newsom)
As Prime Minister, Dr Rudd had a reputation for being short-tempered and demanding of his staff.
At the unveiling of his prime minister portrait earlier this month, he joked about his reputation.
“To my team members – 4,602 in number – you can tell them that they are the ones with PTSD,” he said.
“Some of them still have wounds. There’s a therapy tent later.
Dr Rudd was appointed Australian Ambassador to the United States in December last year.